This unnamed disciple intrigues me. He was without a doubt Jewish. His whole life, he had heard and seen people praying — in the home, in the synagogue, in school, in the temple, and even on street corners. So, why did he feel the need to learn to pray after seeing Jesus pray?
The text leaves the answer to this question to our imagination. So let’s imagine…
What did the disciple see as Jesus prayed? Was it joyful, exuberant adoration? Were delight, trust, and love written on Jesus’ face as He talked with His beloved Dad? Was His passion, compassion, sorrow, and concern freely expressed?
What did the disciple hear? Did Jesus whisper, shout, or sing His praises? Did He listen quietly and joyfully to His Father’s directives? Did He mention people by name as He asked His Father to guide and change them? Did He weep, or laugh, or sigh, or groan?
Whatever the disciple heard or saw motivated him to ask Jesus to teach him to pray. And Jesus does, by offering him a prayer that is a model of full-hearted devotion to God, of total commitment to His will, of constant trust in His provision, and of deep devotion to His glory. Today, we call it The Lord’s Prayer.
And maybe that is the answer to the question. Maybe it is that kind of wholehearted devotion to God that the disciple saw Jesus express to His Father on that day! Perhaps that is why the Lord’s Prayer has meant so much to so many the past two thousand years.
Jesus, we can only imagine the beauty and depth of the relationship that the unnamed disciple witnessed that day! To hear and see members of the Trinity communicating — what a privilege that must have been! But we have a greater privilege still. Because your Spirit lives in us, we can enjoy the same joy and intimacy with the Father that you do! We can be one, just as you are one! You live in us and can teach us through Your Spirit to pray as you do, so that we seek your glory and the fulfillment of your will in total dependence on your provision, with our hearts fully open to you! Lord, teach us to pray, as you taught your disciples to pray! Amen.
Go Deeper — In the coming days, take time to reflect on the rich teaching of the Lord’s Prayer and seek to pray according to the principles you discover, with all your heart, soul, and mind.
Photo Credit: Kate Remmer