The Lord’s Prayer, Part 2

Let’s continue our discussion of the Lord’s Prayer. In a previous blog, we looked at the context of Matthew’s account of this prayer. Now we’ll turn our attention to the context of Luke’s account. The Lord’s Prayer in Luke’s Gospel is flanked on the front end by an incident and on the tail end by two parables. The incident on the front end has to do with two women who had invited Jesus and his disciples to be their guests.

With all these men in the house, Martha was busy and distracted “with much serving.” Mary, however, was captivated by Jesus and the things he was teaching. She sat at Jesus’ feet and listened intently to him. Mary’s sister, Martha became so angry at her sister for not helping her that she scolded Jesus for allowing Mary to sit there, while she (Martha) did all the work. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40) Jesus responded to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

This episode with Mary and Martha reveals what our attitude in prayer should be. Often, we come to God in prayer and we too find ourselves busy and distracted with much serving. Our prayer becomes all about us and what we are doing for the Lord. We may even wonder, as Martha did, why others are not doing their part—carrying their weight—for the Kingdom. We may even entertain dark thoughts about why God allows their apathy or inactivity.

Instead, we need to come before God in prayer, as Mary did, and sit at his feet and listen. When we come humbly before God in prayer with the intent to listen—to hear from him and seek what he seeks—we demonstrate a tender and pliable heart before him. We are setting our hearts aright to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

©2011 Rob Fischer