Just before arriving at the Garden of Gethsemane, and following the conclusion of His great last sermon prior to His crucifixion, Jesus prays to His Father in heaven.
This is an astounding moment in time, and a wonderful illustration of God’s desire for humankind.
One of the things we can say about this prayer is it is divine prayer, and we can well-conclude divine prayer is answered prayer. Since we are encouraged to pray God’s will to know our prayers will be answered, here we have a divine example of exactly what this looks like.
Another thing we can say for certain is Jesus – Who is the Son of God – prayed to His Father. Since Jesus prayed to His Father, we are to do the same. (How can we do any less?) In John 16:23, Jesus had instructed us to “ask” the Father in Jesus’ name. And He was emphatic, saying, “whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.”
The question then would have been, what does it mean to ‘ask the Father in Jesus’ name?’ Thankfully, Jesus answered that question for us in His great recorded prayer found here. To ask in Jesus’ name means to ask according to His nature, and to ask according to His nature means to ask as Jesus asks. Had we not heard Jesus asking, we may forever wonder the kind of things Jesus asks.
Previously, in Matthew 6, Jesus’ disciples had asked Jesus for instruction about prayer after watching Him return from a time of secret prayer with His Father. In fact, they had observed Him constantly going away to places of prayer, times of devotion between The Father and The Son. This piqued their interest, since all the prayer they had seen in the religious system of the Jews had been loud and public. Jesus was demonstrating a model of quiet secrecy. His disciples wondered how to begin this type of prayer life that certainly seemed more devoted and sincere than what they had seen in their religious upbringing. Jesus obliged by teaching them the pattern of what we refer to as ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’ (How ironic that today THIS exact prayer is the prayer that is prayed loudly and publicly, and in many cases merely religiously.)
But the true ‘Lord’s prayer’ is found here, in John 17. It is majestic, and it is wonderful, revealing the direct communication taking place between The Father and The Son even as Jesus is footsteps from the brutality of the cross.