And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord…
In this verse there are certain arguments for and encouragements to prayer, worthy of careful attention.
I. PRAYER IS INSTINCTIVE. Four classes of persons here mentioned. In some respects very different from each other. One thing, however, they had in common, namely, prayer. Christ prayed. His disciples prayed. John prayed. His followers were like him. The world here in miniature. Man a praying being.
II. PRAYER IS CHRISTLIKE. Prayer was His habit. "I give myself unto prayer," was the experience of both David and David's greater Son. To some this is perplexing. They cannot understand why our Lord should pray. There would, however, have been far more mystery had He never prayed at all. The holier we become, the more frequent and fervent is our communion with our Heavenly Father.
III. PRAYER IS CONTAGIOUS. The word is used for want of a better. What led His disciples to say, "Teach us to pray"? Had the Master been speaking of prayer? Not a word. It was on quite another occasion that He said, "Men ought always to pray." How was it, then, that the desire for increased power in devotion was awakened? It was through hearing and seeing our Lord pray. Prayer begets prayer. One live coal kindles another. There is an Eastern proverb, as true as it is poetic, "I am not the rose; but I have been with the rose, and therefore I am sweet."
IV. PRAYER IS EFFECTUAL. "Teach us to pray." That petition was granted. And real prayer is always answered. It cannot fail. As Bishop Hall says: "I am sure that I shall receive either what I ask, or what I should ask."
V. THE EXPRESSION, "AS JOHN ALSO TAUGHT HIS DISCIPLES," HAS MORE IN IT THAN AT FIRST SIGHT APPEARS. It is not the cry of false conservatism. We shall err if we suppose that he who uttered it simply wanted our Lord to follow in the track of another. Surely there was an argument, and a fine one, in the words. What did it mean? Something like this: "John was Thy servant, and he helped the devotion of his followers; wilt Thou, great Master, do less? John was only a herald and a forerunner, but he watched over his disciples; wilt not Thou, the promised and predicted One, do the same to us?" It was good reasoning. Better logic cannot be imagined. Let us take the benefit of it. Inspired by the faith which it teaches, be our prayers both frequent and fervent.
(T. R. Stevenson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.