“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”-Luke 5:16
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He was finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” -Luke 11:1
They have seen with their own eyes: this man, this Jesus – He is like no other. His glory is revealed in water-to-wine, lame legs walking, blind eyes opened, hearts delivered, the hungry fed. What is not enough becomes more than sufficient when He speaks to it. When it comes to the art of transformation, He is Master.
He never claims this freedom-making, life-changing gift He brings to be from only His hands. From the beginning, He is clear: I have come here from God. I have not come on My own; God sent Me…Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the father is in Me? The words I say to You I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me; who is doing His work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me…” from John 8:42 &14:10-11
And these men who are witnessing the extraordinary feel a stirring within their spirits – a yearning to be like this Friend, this Teacher. They don’t quite understand it, not yet – but He has come to be their way Home to the very presence of God. He has come to make way for a re-union of God and man. This way He lives and teaches is something they’ve never before witnessed -He speaks with authority. He acts in obedience, His good news changing people everywhere He goes, with everything He does. He is in communion with God.
They notice, too, that He is in constant conversation with God.
Before His ministry began, He spent 40 long wilderness-days in fasting and prayer. During the days so busy with needs, He slips away for time alone with the Father.
Teach us to pray, they plead.
And, I think, underneath – this request is a longing for their own connection to God…they know Jesus has something that they don’t have – an intimacy, a relationship with God – and they can see with their own eyes the difference that connection makes.
I can’t help but look forward to another conversation that Jesus has with His followers, when He says – I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you…If you keep My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love. (John 14:20, 15:10)
Those first steps to shaping their lives to His – teach us to pray — were just the beginning of God’s invitation to the throne of grace, to the day His Spirit would dwell within those men longing for the something more they saw in Jesus.
The full invitation stands open for me, for you. Abide in Me, He says. Come boldly to the throne of grace.
Just like the disciples, we feel this stirring of joy, of yearning to walk and live like our Master of Transformation…
Make us like You, Jesus. Show us how to love. Show us how to speak in the authority of God’s Spirit and act only in obedience to Him. Align our will to Your purpose. Let our lives be for the glory of our Father, let our worship be in Spirit and in Truth. Teach us to pray, Lord. Teach us to go into lonely places and times, teach us to yield everything within us. Help us to understand that it is a gift, precious and eternal, to move and breathe in building a relationship with the Father and with You. You said – The one who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them. These moments, this life – everything flows from Your love for us, Your mercy in bringing us back home to Your heart. We can abide in You, our joy complete, in the wilderness of hard seasons and in the green pastures of peace until we stand before You.
Your words are simple and true. They lead us to what matters- Your Holiness, Your Love, Your mercy and provision seeing us safely Home.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4)