We receive warnings all the time, don’t we? Those who care about us say, “Don’t touch that!” or “Do this.” These warnings are meant to deflect pain, embarrassment, and in some cases our demise. Of course, it’s prudent to pay attention to warnings. Advice is in the same family as warnings. Advice is meant to promote our prosperity and welfare. Both warnings and advice are relevant for keeping our life productive and safe. Perhaps Jesus thought of warnings and advice when the disciples came to him in Luke eleven.
First pea: Prayer
“Lord, teach us to pray.” As always, Jesus gave more than they asked for. It seems to me, what he wished for is that they would recognize what he offered them and then, use it effectively. At that point, they still asked for things from their natural perspective rather than their supernatural perspective. Nonetheless, Jesus gave them a measure of credit for trying to gain understanding. Understanding would come little by little as they matured. They desired the ability to pray as he prayed. Jesus complied. He offered them a mighty weapon that could be included in their spiritual warrior arsenal.
Prayer, Jesus’ way, isn’t an instrument of destruction or selfish control, rather it’s an agent of healing, peace, and good will toward all. Jesus’ praying isn’t for ego boasting, so someone can taunt with, “nah-nah-nah-nuh!” Jesus’ praying isn’t exercised to demonstrate strength and superiority. Jesus’ praying exhibits submission and dependence. With Jesus’ praying there isn’t any comparable force that is able to withstand its power. Everything yields to Jesus prayer. So, the how to advice on prayer is to use words that speak from a supernatural perspective, instead of a natural perspective.
Second pea: Persistence
Here’s another item for prayer, Jesus taught them about something they didn’t often utilize: persistence. Rather than once and done, persistence is the ability to endure through whatever circumstance. Persistence is an earth-mover pushing around chaos, changing the landscape. Persistence counter punches conflict, creating fresh opportunity. Persistence is an indispensable part of, “Teach us how to pray.” Persistence, of course, never gives up. Persistence, obviously, never gives in. Persistence keeps drilling to an unconventional depth and in a nonconforming angle until the spiritual waters flow. And then, when the spiritual water flows, it opens an entire new stream of probability. So the how to advice on persistence is to keep pressing, to persevere.
Third pea: the Paraclete
The frosting on the cake, the third item for prayer, Jesus offered them the gift of his Spirit: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit identifies our twisted reasoning. The Holy Spirit points us in the right direction. The Holy Spirit imparts wisdom. When the Holy Spirit is in action, the action is God’s perfect will. The Holy Spirit’s action has nothing to do with our imperfect will. How should we pray? “Thy will be done. This is how I feel, but thy will be done.”
One more word about the Holy Spirit, ponder the meaning of “paraclete.” The Holy Spirit is our Paraclete: advocate, comforter, intercessor, counselor, mediator, arbitrator, negotiator, delegate, ambassador, fixer, go-between, troubleshooter, peacemaker, friend. So the value of the Holy Spirit is the laser red dot on prayer’s target, the Holy Spirit takes the guess-work out of what prayer is aiming for.
So, when the disciples approached Jesus in Luke eleven and said, “Lord teach us to pray.” They received what they needed to pray with competence, to pray with attention to God’s honor and glory. These three items: Prayer, Persistence, and Paraclete are the three Peas to “Lord teach us to pray.” So the how to advice on the Paraclete is to eat healthy, eat your veggies.