Trust and prayer
The first place we’re going to look at when it comes to what Jesus taught about prayer is during his longest and most famous teaching session, known as the Sermon on the Mount. However, before we get to his teachings about a person’s prayer-life, it’s worthwhile to pause for a moment and listen to what Jesus has to say about his teaching in general.
At the end of his sermon, Jesus concluded with this illustration:
Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!”
The two groups of people the Jesus is addressing here are those that “hear and do” in contrast with those who “hear and don’t”. Both groups hear Jesus’ words. And what did they just hear? The Sermon on the Mount, which was instruction primarily focused on Kingdom living. So now that they have received direction, Jesus closes by warning them about the importance of putting his words into practice.
Notice the other similarities between the builders:
- Both needed to build a house for protection from the coming storms
- Both built their house before the storm came, presumably while the weather was good
- Both experienced storms, as they couldn’t prevent the weather
But the difference between the builders…in fact, the ONLY difference between the builders…was also the defining difference when the storms arrived.
Jesus is claiming that the difference between those that “hear and do” and those that “hear and don’t” is just as significant as the foundation chosen by the builders.
Do we trust Jesus enough to act on his words? It does us no good to simply listen to Christ’s teachings about prayer (or any other topic) if we’re not willing to take him at his word…and then take action accordingly. In fact, Jesus says to that to hear him and then disregard his words will result in the eventual collapse of what we build in this life.
If we’re going to learn to pray like Jesus, we’re going to have to trust that he knows what he’s talking about…and then take action accordingly.