Listening and Praying
SEPTEMBER 9- Nº 252 Luke 10:38-42; 11:1-13
Jesus and his disciples decided to visit some friends who lived in a tiny village not far from Jerusalem. Martha opened the door to the home she shared with her sister Mary and brother Lazarus and invited them in. Then she went right to work preparing a big meal for her company. Jesus took the opportunity offered by this quiet setting to teach his disciples privately. When Martha checked on her guests to see how they were doing, she noticed that Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to every word. Martha was frustrated. Feeding thirteen guests was not an easy task. “Lord,” she complained, “don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come help me!” Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about so many things. But only one thing is worth so much concern. Mary has chosen that one thing, and it will not be taken away from her.” While he was in her home, Mary had chosen to focus on what she could learn from Jesus—not just what she could do forhim! Another day, Jesus’ disciples observed him talking with his Father. When he had finished, one of them asked him, “Lord, would you teach us to pray? John the Baptist taught his disciples, and we would like you to do the same for us.” So, Jesus shared a prayer that they could use as a pattern. It was similar to, but even shorter than, one he had taught the crowds earlier in his ministry (see Matthew 6:5-15). It was simple, intimate, and profound. This is what he said: When you pray say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” It was revolutionary for the Jews to think of God as their own personal Father who loved them and wanted to have an intimate relationship with them. This was very different from what the Pharisees taught. They thought of Him as a vengeful, judgmental God—not a loving Father. But Jesus also wanted his disciples to grasp the significance of God’s holiness. Everything about His identity was perfect. His holiness set Him above everything and everyone in the universe. They were to respect and honor Him for this. And they were to pray that soon the entire world would worship and honor Him. After they had properly honored God and asked for His kingdom purposes to be fulfilled, Jesus instructed his disciples to mention their own needs. They were to boldly request the things they needed to make it through each day. This included pardon for the times they sinned and the ability to forgive others who sinned against them. It also included protection from future temptation. The goal in making these requests was not to secure their own personal happiness, but to receive the things they needed to fulfill their Father’s plans.
What would happen if you put your “to do” list on hold and spent time listening to God every day like Mary did? And how would praying the way Jesus taught his disciples to pray change your prayer life?