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.”
(Luke 11:1, ESV)
The longer Lisa and I are parents, the more we notice that our children imitate us. They are always watching us. This is a good thing...and...a bad thing. I notice the generosity that they have learned from their mother. I notice the kindness that they have learned from their mother. I notice the care and love that they have learned from their mother. What have they learned from me? Hmmmm. I might have to plead the fifth! Maybe they get their "passion" from me! :D
I've heard it said that imitation is the fondest form of flattery, but we can't deny that their are good things to imitate and there are bad things to imitate. Our consumer driven society has instilled within us a desire to imitate the celebrities. We are encouraged to where the most popular clothes and carry the most popular phones. We are sinking in a sea of conformity and this cannot be a good thing.
I like to notice observations behind passages of Scripture. Our passage above it a great example where we can imagine what is going on behind the scenes. We can gain a lot of insight by asking the question, "What is Luke explicitly not tellings us?" It is no secret that in Luke's Gospel, Luke makes the case that Jesus is a man of prayer (3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28-9; 18:1; 22:41, 44). What we see in our passage is that His disciples were watching Him as He practiced this habit of prayer time with the Father. The passage tells us that after Jesus had prayed, one of His disciples came to Him and asked Him if He would teach them to pray. Implicitly, what we see here is that His disciples were watching Him. They saw something in Him that they admired. They noticed a pattern, and they wanted Jesus to teach them how to pray.
The verses that follow give us the Lord's prayer. It is a prayer that provides for us a template upon which we are to build our prayers. But what we may miss is that the disciples received this teaching because they were watching Jesus and asked Him to teach them. What would it have been like if they had never asked Jesus to teach them to pray? What other things had they missed out on because they never even thought to ask Jesus to teach them?
And what about us today? Are we missing something as beautiful as the Lord's prayer because we neglect to watch Jesus and ask Him to teach us? What can we learn about humility from Jesus? What can we learn about serving the marginalized from Jesus? What can Jesus teach us about loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute us? Who is watching Jesus? Will you seek Him and watch Him more closely today? I will join you in this venture.
Oswald Chambers said this, "If in the first waking moments of the day you learn to fling the door back and let God in, every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God."