Luke 11:1-2a: “It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” And He said to them…”
Prayer begins with watching God commune with God
The rich teaching on prayer found in Luke eleven is reactionary. Meaning, the disciples saw Jesus “praying in a certain place” (Luke 11:1), and therefore wanted in on that.
By beholding the Son of God in pursuit of the face of God the disciples were infused with a holy desire for the prayer-soaked presence of God. Sweet communion! Unspeakably wonderful gospel purchase!
Because of, and only because of, the blood of Christ, any Christian can approach God’s throne boldly (Cf. Hebrews 4:14-16). Why would we forfeit this precious privilege?
The disciples were provoked to want to know how to enjoy communion with God the Father because they saw Jesus model it. They knew by first-hand experience that the Son of God loved to slip away from this world and enter another–the God-entranced world of prayer.
LET US BITE OUR TONGUE & BEHOLD JESUS
Notice from Luke 11:1 that the inquisitive disciple first bit his tongue. The question, “Lord, teach us to pray,” didn’t come until “after [Jesus] had finished [praying].”
As we learn to approach God’s throne of grace, let us first learn to seal our lips.
The disciple must have realized that he was observing something majestic. We know he didn’t dare interrupt what he saw. This disciple was muted in awestruck wonder, and simultaneously provoked to holy jealousy. He wanted to get a hold of God like Christ did! Do we?
The best lesson on prayer begins with silent observation of God.
God’s communion with God is the bedrock of our communion with God. God saves sinners in Christ so that we can join Him in enjoying Him forever. In that sense, God’s desire for, and delight in, Himself, is the foundation of our Christ-wrought salvation.
Prayer is a taking advantage of the ultimate victory of Christ’s cross: Our favorable access to God! Prayer is the awesome privilege of engaging in communion with the only God, Who has always enjoyed happy communion with Himself.
Lesson one in prayer is to experientially know the Lord as the the One who delights in Himself. When you come upon Christ, notice that He is supping with the Father (Luke 11:1). Watch Him in that joyous fellowship (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:24). Behold the glory of God’s fellowship with God (John 17:1-5). Realize that you are treading on holy ground, and tread lightly. Observe Christ’s communion with His Father, tremble, and when you’ve been stirred to want in on that…not to change the subject…then speak.
We’re all drawn toward delightful people. That’s why the believer is drawn toward God. He is not a curmudgeon. God is “the happy God” (Cf. 1 Timothy 6:15, the word “blessed” is literally the word “happy”). The gospel is “the gospel of the happy God” (Cf. 1 Timothy 1:11, literal translation).
As we see Christ Jesus in happy communion with His Father, we will want to participate in that fellowship. “The nearness of God”–and nothing else–“will be our good” (Psalm 73:26).
The inquisitive disciple in Luke 11:1 didn’t barge up to Jesus with the presumption that his question was more important than Christ’s communion with the Father. He watched, and he waited. He didn’t interrupt the intercession. He sat back “until Jesus was finished.” When Jesus was done, and the disciple’s heart was lit aflame,then he asked to know how to seek God like Jesus.
HOW TO WATCH GOD FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
We, too, can watch God fellowship with God. We must. The lens by which we do so is the “sacred writings” (1 Timothy 3:15).
Let us, too, then, open our bibles to the litany of texts that reveal God’s happy fellowship with God (John 17, would be one of many good examples).
And let us sit in silence upon the precipice of that breathtaking range of beauty that is the Lord’s intimate communion with Himself.
And let us soak in all of God’s enjoyment of God until we are unwilling to leave His presence.
And let us meditate upon those verses of God’s communion with Himself until our parched souls are salivating with desire to ascend the hill of the Lord.
As we observe God’s communion with God, we will irresistibly desire to enjoy the same.
“…while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said…” (Luke 11:1).
Watch. Burn. Learn. Imitate.