13.1.2 Jesus teaches prayer

The relationship between man and God changed fundamentally through Jesus Christ. On the basis of this new relationship with God, the Lord taught a kind of prayer that was previously unknown: on the one hand it is the prayer of a child who speaks to God as a loving Father in heaven (Matthew 6: 9), and on the other hand it is a prayer "in spirit and truth" (John 4: 24).

Jesus' disciples were believing Jews and thus familiar with prayer. Nevertheless, they wanted to learn how to pray like Jesus. One of His disciples asked Him: "Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11: 1). In response Jesus gave the Lord's Prayer (see 12.1.7).

The Sermon on the Mount contains instructions on prayer (Matthew 6: 5-8): one is not to make an outward show of one's prayers or use a lot of words, "for your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." Our prayers should rather come from the heart.

Jesus emphasised important aspects of prayer by way of three parables: in the parable of the friend at night, he emphasised that persistent prayer will have an effect (Luke 11: 5-10). The parable of the persistent widow admonishes persistent and patient prayer (Luke 18: 1-8). With the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector He demonstrated the significance of humbleness in prayer (Luke 18: 10-14).

Luke 21: 36 records an instruction of the Lord pertaining to prayer in view of His return: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." Thus prayer is also associated with the necessary watchfulness in view of the coming of Jesus Christ.

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