Day 54 | Teach Us to Pray
May 21, 2015 - WEEK EIGHT
James Tissot, Le Pater Noster (The Lord’s Prayer), Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription
CONSIDER AS YOU READ
- Why did Jesus’ disciples ask Him to teach them to pray?
- Why don’t we in the Church regularly recite “the Lord’s Prayer” verbatim?
- After overcoming a temptation, are you ever tempted to commit an even greater sin?
The Lord’s disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). Jesus then gave a marvelous model of what prayer could be. Yet even this model did not suffice for the needs of Gethsemane. Nor was it as sublime as His prayers given in the special circumstances after His resurrection when Jesus prayed among the surviving Nephites (3 Nephi 17:15–18). The point is obviously not to detract from the tutoring nature of the wonderful Lord’s Prayer, but to underscore how prayers will reflect circumstance; no single prayer will suffice for all circumstances!
There are no Christlike prayers, however, that do not include, as did the Lord’s Prayer, deep expressions of gratitude and appreciation to our Father in heaven along with a submittal to Him.
So very much of pure prayer seems to be the process of first discovering, rather than requesting, the will of our Father in heaven and then aligning ourselves therewith. The “Thy will be done” example in the Lord’s Prayer reached its zenith in the Savior’s later prayer in Gethsemane and in His still later submittal on the cross: “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39)….
Clearly, when our prayers are uninspired, we petition for things we should not ask for, even though we do so innocently. This is, in effect, what we do when we pray and “ask amiss” (James 4:3.)
When we ask amiss, God, being perfect, must reject our petitions: “And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you” (3 Nephi 18:20).
The task is to draw close enough to the Lord that we progress to the point where we petition Him according to His will, not ours (Neal A. Maxwell, All Things Shall Give Thee Experience, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979, 93–94).
FOR YOUNGER DISCIPLES
QUESTIONS FOR YOUNGER DISCIPLES
- Aren’t you glad that Jesus talks to sinners—because sometimes, we are all sinners.
- Are parables easy for you to understand?