March 23 I Wednesday
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’” —Luke 11:1
From the time that the disciples spent with Jesus, they certainly noticed something unique and special that Jesus shared with His Father. One of them asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In other words, the disciple was asking, “Teach us to experience this. Teach us to know this same intimacy with the Father as You have.” It is not that they wanted to know how to pray, but that they wanted to feel the same heartfelt connection with God that Jesus had.
In a very real sense, our prayer lives are a journey into the heart of God, and for some people, it is their hardest struggle while others find it to be their deepest joy. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks considerably about prayer. He says, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). In His teaching on prayer, Jesus consistently says, “When you pray,” which assumes that praying is to be a regular, normal part of our Christian lives.
The Christian life is defined in various ways by various people. If, for example, it is simply defined as a belief system, the primary issue would then be to acquire a good grasp of systematic theology. Others may define it as a spiritual experience. While there are experiences involved, of course, the objective then becomes recreating or enhancing our experiences, which quickly become history. Some say it is being emotionally connected with God, but the danger here is in seeking that emotional high, where our motives for worship then become about us and not God. A belief system, experiences and connecting emotionally with God each have their valid place, but in Scripture the Christian life is defined as a relationship.
Jesus prayed, “Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life is not about going to heaven, but about a relationship with God the Father and God the Son. Prayer is the talking part of that relationship, and relationships will either thrive or deteriorate based on the frequency and quality of communication. God’s concern for us is about the internal working of our hearts, that secret place where He can meet with us.
“Teach us to pray,” the disciple said. There are no methods or techniques to follow, but simply sharing the depths of our hearts with God. In intimate union with Him we learn to recognize His voice; from that secret place alone with God we will hear Him.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank You that through prayer, I am privileged and blessed to have an intimate relationship with You. Help me to recognize Your voice when I pray to You.