Scripture Union taught me the discipline of daily Bible reading..."John Stott,
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
So much has been written about the Lord's Prayer, and certainly the words are among the best known and most repeated words in Scripture! Yet they are so few--fewer in Luke's version than the equivalent in Matthew (Matt. 6:9-13) and fewer in some newer translations. So why did Jesus provide such a brief prayer for his followers? Was this because he thought prayer was pointless; we don't really need to pray, because God already knows our needs, as some of his modern followers propose? Or is there no value in praying (perhaps it helps psychologically), because God does not intervene in his universe?
Neither of these suggestions fits the model of Jesus. It was seeing Jesus at prayer that prompted this unnamed disciple to ask him to "teach us to pray." If Jesus thought prayer was essentially a waste of time, it is unlikely that his engagement in prayer could have prompted this request! Clearly, Jesus was deeply committed to praying, and indeed Luke's Gospel is the one that emphasizes the praying Jesus most. So it was because Jesus was so deeply committed to prayer that we have this prayer at all.
The greatest challenge of this passage for us is that it requires us to reflect on and evaluate our own prayer life. Do we pray often like Jesus did? If someone saw us would they want to know how to pray like we do? Do our prayers have the depth and intimacy that Jesus' prayers did? Do we avoid, as Jesus did, the pitfalls of thinking that it is the length of our praying or the literary skills in our prayers that impress God enough to answer them?