“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
That’s a more condensed version of Matthew’s account. But it’s obvious why the disciples came to Jesus. They wanted to learn how to pray. I would think we all would have to say this. All of our lives we are disciples. We’re always learning how to pray more like the Master. That’s a prayer request we can make for the rest of our lives. Who better to teach us than Jesus? He was the perfect preacher, and you can say he was the perfect prayer, and perfect prayer warrior. No one prayed like him and no one preached like him. You have that beautiful summary of Jesus’ prayer life in Hebrews 5:7. Here’s what it says, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears…” What does that tell us about his prayer life? I think it underscores that he didn’t just say the right words, right? He prayed with his heart. There was a passion, intense emotion, and earnestness. He prayed with tears, he prayed with loud cries and with tears. When Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray here he begins with the word “Father”. That’s the first piece of instruction. We shouldn’t forget that Jesus more than anyone else called God his Father—at least 60 times in the gospels. The only time he didn’t call God his Father was when he was on the cross. That’s when he said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? But, I was thinking that here this is one of the greatest incentives to pray—he’s your Father. We have a lot of delinquent fathers in our day, right? Good fathers are a vanishing breed. There are fathers who aren’t there, fathers who don’t listen, fathers who don’t love, and fathers who don’t provide.
Sometimes people can have distorted views of God because of their earthly fathers. But the heavenly Father is so wonderfully different from every earthly father from the worst obviously, to the best. He’s the perfect Father. He loves perfectly. He listens perfectly. Something else that gets emphasized by Jesus when it comes to the Father, especially in Matthew 6 and 7 and that’s this, the Father loves to give.
Did you know that every blessing you have in Christ can be attributed to the Father? Every spiritual blessing , calling—the Father is the one who calls, the one who gives faith, repentance, the Father justifies, the Father adopts, the Father sanctifies, and one day the Father will glorify us! When Jesus teaches his disciples how to pray he reminds them that the Father is a giving Father. He gives us daily bread. In Matthew 7 after teaching the Lord’s prayer he zeros in on the generosity of the Father. Listen to what he says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you…” Then he focuses upon the generosity of our heavenly Father. He does that by making a contrast between earthly fathers and the heavenly Father. What Father would give his son a stone if he asks for bread? What father would give his son a serpent if he asks for a fish? So, he’s making an argument here from the lesser to greater, isn’t he? If earthly fathers—and he even calls earthly fathers here evil—if evil earthly fathers can give good gifts to their children, how much more will your heavenly Father give you good gifts?
The Apostle Paul talked about the generosity of our heavenly Father. Romans 8—He’s given us his Son. Surely then he will give us all things. So we go to a Father who not only loves us more than anyone else, not only listens to us better than anyone else, but also gives us gift upon gift more than anyone else.