One day, Jesus was praying at a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Sir, teach us how to pray, just as John the Baptizer taught his followers” (Luke 11:1). That’s an amazing request, since most of the disciples had been followers of John and already knew so much about prayer.In the first century synagogues, Jewish men could easily spend thirty minutes reciting a long list of memorized prayers, yet John taught them how to pray. What had they missed? I suspect they learned how to pray spontaneously, from the heart.
One has to wonder what they saw in Jesus’ prayer that caused them to want more teaching. No doubt, his prayer was spontaneous, but they’d already learned that from John. What else could it be?
The apostle Paul says we don’t know how to pray without the help of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). Since Jesus knew how to pray, then we can be sure the Holy Spirit guided his words.
Therefore, what we call the Model Prayer must be about the principles that will strengthen our relationship with God, not about reciting words.