Listening and Praying
September 9 - Nº 252 Luke 10:38-42; 11:1-13
Jesus went to the house of some friends who lived in a tiny village just outside of Jerusalem. Martha opened the door and invited him and his disciples to come in and stay for a while. Martha’s sister Mary and her brother Lazarus also lived there. Martha went right to work preparing a big meal for her company. Jesus took the opportunity to teach his disciples while they were in this quiet, private setting. 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 13 guests was no 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.” Wisely, Mary had chosen to focus on what she could learn from Jesus—not what she could do for him! Another day, Jesus’ disciples watched as he talked 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 an intimate relationship with them. This was very different from what the Pharisees taught. They thought of Him as a vengeful, judgmental God. 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 exhibit His kingdom principles to the rest of the world. Only after they had properly honored God and asked for His purposes to be fulfilled did Jesus give his disciples instructions to mention their own needs. They were to request boldly 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?