Jesus’ twelve disciples had noticed several times how the master separated himself to pray. They knew that John had taught his disciples how to pray and they desired this as well. (Luke 11: 1 -4 )
Note that Jesus did not take it upon Himself to teach them, He waited for them to desire it. It is possible that as part of their training, John taught his disciples to pray but in the case of Jesus, He waited for them to ask. The question is why?
First, I believe Jesus wanted them to desire it. Most times when you give people what they do not desire, they do not appreciate the value. The way a child would value a gift which you bought without him asking is different from when the child had desired for that gift and you buy it for him. It makes a lot of difference!
Secondly, there were important lessons the disciples and by extension, today’s church need to learn about praying.
Jesus started by telling the disciples, ‘When you pray, say, Our Father....’ I believe this is what separates Christianity from all other forms of religion. The Lord’s prayer starts with a relationship! It is only in Christianity that we dare call God our Father, and what a Father He is!
Many years ago while in Nigeria, I was on my way home from church on a hot Sunday afternoon, when I walked past a mosque. I heard the imam speaking loudly through the speakers, ‘God was not begotten and He did not beget any child! Woe unto those who claim to be children of God!’ I paused and smiled a bit before continuing on my walk. It is obvious that they do not have a relationship with God. They see God as a slave driver and humans as mere slaves.
I personally would have been satisfied being a servant of God. But in John 15:15, Jesus said, ‘I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.’
I believe Jesus was saying here, ‘Servants try to impress their masters, they don’t necessarily have a passion for what they are doing. They are assigned a task and they do it and expect compensation for their labour’. Their motivation for doing what they do is the payment they receive and nothing more. A Master does not share his plans with the servants, he only assigns tasks to them.
Friendship on the other hand is a deep form of relationship. Real friends confide in each other. Real friends share in each other’s burden. Jesus came with a mission and revealed His purpose to us – His friends, so that we can join hands with Him to make that mission a success!
In the Old Testament, God chose specific people who became His friends. The first person to be called His friend was Abraham (James 2:2) God spoke to Moses face to face as one spoke to a friend (Exodus 33:11) Enoch walked with God, and God took Him (Gen 5:24) David was called a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22)
In the New Testament however, God decided to throw open the door of friendship to ‘whosoever’. Anyone who chooses to be God’s friend, God would be their friend. This was achieved through Christ’s death on the cross. This is why we are different. This is the confidence that we have. This is the reason why we can call him, Abba Father!
The next time you go to God in prayer, remember that you are going to meet with your Father and your friend, not a slave driver or task master but a friend who desires to know all that troubles you and desires to meet those needs. Not only that, He wants to speak to you too.
That is why it is a relationship!
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the owner of Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He currently resides in London where he works as an IT professional. He serves in the ministerial team of his local church as well as in the music ministry. He is the Moderator/Editor of Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, email@example.com