When Jesus teaches us to pray, “Our Father, who is in heaven…,” he is encouraging us to bring our daily needs to his Father. The second half of this brief model prayer teaches us to say, “… give us, forgive us… and lead us…” (Haddon Robinson gives the most helpful summary explanation I have ever seen of Matthew 6:9-13 in “Jesus’ Blueprint for Prayer.”)
But here’s a thought I’d like you to test with me. Seems to me that there is something in this model prayer that parallels the way Jesus started a conversation with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4). He asks her for a drink of water (John 4:7).
In an indirect way, doesn’t God ask something of us (i.e. to desire his honor, to anticipate his kingdom, and to express confidence in his will), before encouraging us to bring our requests to him?
Yet, if this is the case, it can’t be about what the Father needs. What he asks of us seems to be his way of helping us to want more of what he wants to give us.
Against that backdrop, think again about Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. When she wondered why a Jewish man would ask a Samaritan for help, he says, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10).
I think I hear in the distance a faint, “If you knew why I’m asking you–in your prayers– to want me to be honored…”