Hi, I'm Tim Coombs, co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY and a member of the network of biblical storytellers. To learn more about its mission, go to nbsint.org.
Jesus taught his apostles how to pray and not only gave them a prayer which we call ""The Lord's Prayer,"" but how to go about prayer. In one place, Jesus tells his apostles, ""Don't pray like some of those Pharisees who like to pray out in public and use long drawn-out sentences in order to show off, but instead, let your prayers be more about your integrity before God. Go into a private room, and just pray simply before your God, don't make a show of it."" In other places, Jesus tells his disciples to be persistent in what they ask for. He tells a parable called ""The Friend at Midnight,"" who comes to a friend's house and bangs on the door, and bangs on the door, and bangs on the door until the friend gets up out of bed and comes down and lets his friend in. Jesus told his apostles to ask and to seek and to knock when you come to pray, to again be persistent and in one place. He said, ""Whatever you ask for, if you ask for it in faith, it will be given you,"" which is a very provocative statement. Now, the disciples come to Jesus, and they ask for a prayer like many of the other rabbis had given to their disciples, a sort of signature prayer that they can call their own. And so Jesus gives them a very simple prayer: ""Our Father in Heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in on heaven. Give us today our daily bread and do not lead us into the time of trial but deliver us from evil."" Now, some church traditions add a doxology at the end which is a statement of glory — ""But thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever"" — but that is not part of the original prayer, something added later on. So prayer was definitely important to Jesus and his disciples. Many stories of Jesus going off by himself to pray, to restore himself, and to become himself again, and that is what Jesus taught about prayer.