“Lord, teach us to pray.”
One of Jesus’ disciple spoke these very words. Do you also wonder whether the man asked shyly and bashfully? Or maybe instead he implored loudly with his earnest desire to learn. It’s hard to fathom that a man who had spent so much time in the presence of the Messiah had to ask such a question. So, if you, too, have questions about how you ought to pray, there’s no shame in asking. Jesus provides a model for how we should go about speaking to God in the midst of our daily lives.
1. Honor the Father as the source of all we need and desire.
“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” -Luke 11:2
In Luke 11, Jesus starts out by honoring God’s name. He is presented as one who is holy, set apart, and above us all. He alone provides our every need. When we pray, choosing to make God the One we turn to in our neediest condition, we can have confidence that He hears us (1 John 5:14).
2. Be shameless and bold, acknowledging your need.
“Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins.” -Luke 11:3-4
Jesus shows us that we can get straight to the point in telling the Father our troubles. We can point out our physical and spiritual neediness since we have a Father who wants to take care of us. He desires that we turn to Him bravely and boldly, fully dependent and with outstretched hands: “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
3. Trust in His goodness, power, and timing.
“And lead us not into temptation.” -Luke 11:4
We are likewise told to let Him be the One we call on for deliverance. This prayer is extended in Matthew 6, when Jesus says, “But deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13). Because of the the trust that Jesus Himself has in the Father, we know we, too, can rely on Him for all that we need for deliverance as well.
Simply talk to the Father who cares enough to listen. We are—through Jesus’ finished work on the cross—brought into relationship with a gracious God who desires to hear from us and longs to provide for our every need. Remember these three steps that Jesus modeled for us and spend some time intentionally conversing with the God who faithfully listens.