“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” (Reference: Luke 11:1-4)
My first impulse, beloved, was to write a carefully constructed meditation on the Lord’s Prayer and to tell you that this version is not the only one that can be found in the New Testament. But I am sure that you have read such meditations before, and I am almost sure I have written them before – although I did not 5 years ago.
After I considered and then decided against focusing on the Lord’s Prayer, I looked at the verses again. There were two things I noted. First, Jesus was at a specific place but not one that is specifically noted or named. That is, it was not a named place, but one that was seemingly well known enough that it did not really need a name. OR so general a place that naming it was not necessary. From this I must assume that it could conceivably be just about anywhere. I would assume if it was in the synagogue or temple, the writer of Luke would have said so. It might have been the place that Jesus often went to pray. The commentators I checked with did not name a place but had their own suggestions. Therefore beloved, pray wherever you think best to do so.
The second thing I noted was that the disciples asked to be taught how to pray AFTER Jesus was done. From this I assume that Jesus was probably NOT praying out loud or they would have heard what he said and learned from that. And that it was a considerable amount of time that Jesus was in prayer because they had to wait. Or maybe all the disciples were praying, but Jesus exhibited a certain type of praying behavior that was different from the norm. Or maybe that the disciple who asked knew that Jesus was the son of God and so desired to pray as the son of God would pray to God.
Which ever of these theories of mine is more accurate, there is ample proof that this event was significant, and not just because the Lord’s Prayer resulted from it. Jesus taught his disciple not just what to say, but where to say it – anywhere. How long to say it – however long it takes. And in what way to say it – in a way the honors the relationship of pray-er and Recipient of prayer. And, it goes without saying – but I will say it anyway – historic Anabaptists and modern Anabaptists/Mennonites believe completely in the power and necessity of prayer!
May you beloved pray often to you God, emulating the relationship between Jesus and God such that the communion is deep and everlasting. Selah!