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Teaching Jesus to Pray

May Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Who taught Jesus how to pray? Mary.

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Who taught you to pray?

Do you remember who taught you to pray?
My parents and Jill’s parents are here today. I can say they did the most significant thing any parent can do: they taught each of us as children to pray.

Who taught Jesus to pray?

We know Jesus prayed.
We know Jesus prayed. We have many examples. Did he get spiritual practices and teachings downloaded?
We know (Scot McKnight) Hebrew mothers taught their children to pray.
According to Bible scholar Scot McKnight, Hebrew mothers taught their children to pray.
When I titled my sermon last week and sent the title only to Nyasha Peters, she was intrigued. Pregnant with her second child, she wondered what kind of Mother’s Day sermon this would be and why the title was, “Teaching Jesus how to pray.”
I asked her the same question I just asked you.
Who taught Jesus to pray?
Imagine Jesus writes a Mother’s Day card. What would it say? The reason I want us to imagine is this: Mary raised Jesus. Hebrew mothers taught their children to pray. Mary would have taught young Jesus how to pray. This is a way to imagine what role Mary may have played in Jesus’s life, a way to inspire you in your ongoing role in your children’s lives, no matter how old they are. I could tell you all sorts of inspiring Mother stories from modern day, but my role is to teach the strange world of Scripture and let it transform us . . .
The answer is this: Mary would have taught young Jesus how to pray.
When I sent Nyasha Peters my title only, “Teaching Jesus to Pray,” she said she was intrigued, what did it mean?
Pregnant with her second child, when she heard me say this, it blew her mind. And for most of us, we’ve never thought of who taught Jesus to pray. Do we assume he got everything downloaded?
Nyasha burst into tears and said of her two year old: “I don’t teach him to pray!”
I hugged her and said my 23-year-old, 20-year-old, and 18-year old are still learning together with Jill and me . . . it’s never too late, and it’s certainly not too late for a two year old to learn to listen/talk in prayer.

Goal: Inspire you to pray and teach children.

Imagining what role Mary may have played in Jesus’s life is a way to inspire you in your ongoing role in your children’s lives, no matter how old they are.
Weren’t taught to pray? It’s never too late to learn, to grow, to take a next step yourself, but here in the church we learn new ways of faith. Maybe you were and didn’t know it . . . to turn eyes, ears, mouth, body to God . . .
How many of you were taught the prayer at bedtime, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep . . .”?
Hebrew mothers taught as a bedtime prayer: “Into your hands (Lord) I commit my spirit.”
Weren’t taught to pray? It’s never too late to learn, to grow, to take a next step yourself, but here in the church we learn new ways of faith.

As Mary Prayed soJesus Prayed

In addition to the fact Hebrew mothers taught their sons and daughters to pray, and Mary was a Hebrew mother teaching Jesus to pray, we also get clues in the prayers Mary prayed . . . compared to the prayers we know Jesus prayed.
The words Jesus prayed on the cross from are the same Mary would have taught him at bedtime: “Into your hands (Lord) I commit my spirit.”
Magnificat (Latin for Magnify) is a song we’ve sung in worship. It’s Mary’s Song from and is mirrored in the life and teachings of Jesus, says Scot McKnight.
In addition to the fact Hebrew mothers taught their sons and daughters to pray, and Mary was a Hebrew mother teaching Jesus to pray, we also get clues in the prayers Mary prayed . . . compared to the prayers we know Jesus prayed.
2. Magnificat (Latin for Magnify) is a song we’ve sung in worship. It’s Mary’s Song from that is mirrored in the life and teachings of Jesus, says Scot McKnight.
Luke 1:46–56 TNIV
46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” 56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
v. 47: Mary says “My soul magnifies the Lord,” and Jesus prays and teaches us to pray in , “Hallowed be your name.”
[Read ]
Mary Jesus
v. 48: Mary is poor and in Jesus proclaims good news to the poor.
Luke 4 TNIV
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘People do not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “prophets are not accepted in their hometowns. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area. Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
Luke 4 TNIV
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘People do not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ ” “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “prophets are not accepted in their hometowns. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he taught the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his words had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area. Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them. At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah. At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.
My soul magnifies the Lord In Jesus prays: “Hallowed be your name!”
v. 50: Mary cries out for Israel’s redemption and Jesus cries for Israel saying in , “O Jerusalem, how often I’ve longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”
vs. 51-52: Mary’s prayer sees the powerful stripped of their power, and Jesus says in , “The greatest will be the servant of all.”
vs. 53-54: Mary is overwhelmed with God’s compassion, and Jesus embodies compassion.
Mary is poor In , Jesus proclaims good news to the poor.
Powerful stripped of power says, “Greatest will be servant”
Transition: Mary inspires us this Mother’s Day to teach our children to pray, but how? What are some next steps. We love and cherish our mothers here, but we also challenge you on this mother’s day.
Mary overwhelmed with God’s compassion Jesus embodies compassion
Vexed for Israel’s redemption : “O Jerusalem, how often I’ve longed . . .”
Transition: Mary inspires us this Mother’s Day to teach our children to pray, but how? What are some next steps. We love and cherish our mothers here, but we also challenge you on this mother’s day.
So, what would Jesus have written in his mother’s day card? I happen to have the card with me.
Thank you for teaching me to pray, even the prayer from I prayed on the cross. Thank you for teaching me to love the poor, outcast. In that song you’d sing you said, “He has filled the hungry with good things. He has sent the rich away empty.” You taught me to praise God. “My soul magnifies the Lord. My Spirit rejoices in God my savior . . .” [aside: I remember my mother rejoicing in simply things, giving God praise for watermelon, animals, laughter.] You re-inforced what God’s Spirit within me was already doing. You said, “His mercy is for generations for those who fear the Lord. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down princes from their thrones. And has exalted the lowly.” You recounted stories of faith to me. “He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy. As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his seed forever.” I still can’t believe you looked three days for me before you looked at the temple, but whatever. I love you, Mama. And when my time comes, I will not leave you or forsake you. My beloved friend will take care of you.

Next Steps

I want to bless Mothers today with the priestly blessing of [speak blessing]

Next Steps

1. Have a relationship with God in prayer yourself.
Mothers, you shape the next generation. Teach them the most important thing of their life, to pray!
Jesus turns spirituality, prayer, the kingdom on its head. He actually says YOU have to become like a child to enter deeper relationship with Him. You cannot teach a child anything that you do not have, and to have this you must become like the child you are teaching.
Listen to what Jesus says . . .
2. Have a prayer life yourself.
Matthew 19:1–8 TNIV
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
Matthew 18:1–9 TNIV
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child, whom he placed among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes a humble place—becoming like this child—is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
These are the fun Bible texts we choose at The Journey for mother’s day!
Jill is teaching the children in children’s Bible study right now . . . but you know what she says about all this be like a child stuff? She says, “Greg, this is easy for you. You already act like a child!” HA!!
In Ron Bruner and Dana K. Pemberton, Along the Way, which we are giving to parents today, Steve Bonner says we do not teach our children something we have and then simply pass on. We pray WITH them. We share spirituality, we become children, we learn from them!
In Ron Bruner and Dana K. Pemberton, Along the Way, which we are giving to parents today, Steve Bonner says we do not teach our children something we have and then simply pass on. We pray WITH them. We share spirituality, we become children, we learn from them!
2 Timothy 1:5 TNIV
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
When I sent Nyasha Peters my title only, “Teaching Jesus to Pray,” she said she was intrigued, what did it mean?
I asked, “Who do you think taught Jesus to pray?” She shrugged. Hebrew mothers taught their children to pray. Mary taught Jesus to pray.
Pregnant with her second child, when she heard me say this, it blew her mind. And for most of us, we’ve never thought of who taught Jesus to pray. Do we assume he got everything downloaded?
Nyasha burst into tears and said of her two year old: “I don’t teach him to pray!”
I hugged her and said my 23-year-old, 20-year-old, and 18-year old are still learning together with Jill and me . . . it’s never too late, and it’s certainly not too late for a two year old to learn to listen/talk in prayer.
2. Teach and model prayer for your children.
Mothers, you shape the next generation. Teach them the most important thing of their life, to pray!
When I sent Nyasha Peters my title only, “Teaching Jesus to Pray,” she said she was intrigued, what did it mean?
Pregnant with her second child, when she heard me say this, it blew her mind. And for most of us, we’ve never thought of who taught Jesus to pray. Do we assume he got everything downloaded?
Nyasha burst into tears and said of her two year old: “I don’t teach him to pray!”
I hugged her and said my 23-year-old, 20-year-old, and 18-year old are still learning together with Jill and me . . . it’s never too late, and it’s certainly not too late for a two year old to learn to listen/talk in prayer.
How? If praying is your next step don’t worry about how right now, just call out to God first and he’ll show you the next step after that.
David and Heather Kopp: Prayer is the sound God’s family makes when we are in relationship with Him, and we can pray in all sorts of ways, confused, annoyed, mad, happy, worried, overjoyed, foggy, anywhere, shocked, haltingly, woodenly or freely, eyes opened or closed, hands lifted or by your side, bowing or rigid and prideful but opening pride’s door a crack, ecstatically with the Spirit or logically, silently or wordlessly, over and over for the same thing or with scripture or Seeking God for the City and something new everyday.
Karl Barth said, “To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”
We may model but teaching is a two way street, parent becomes child, teacher becomes student . . . we pray WITH our children.
A mother of a two-year-old understands this and prays over the cradle, “Lord, protect my baby.”
A father of a twenty year old knows this, and prays, “No one can snatch them out of my hand! ()”
It’s never too late to pray for your children, your grandchildren, to beg God leaning over a cradle or holding your iphone when you see the text, “I’ll be home later, don’t worry about me.” “Lord, help them make good choices, turn their face toward you!
3. Speak words of blessing over your children . . . and they will arise and call you blessed, will bless others.
Who taught me to pray? My mother and father.
2 Timothy 1:5 TNIV
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
1975: Mom and Dad gave me a Bible. I was eight. The blessing my mother wrote spoke life into me.
1975: Mom and Dad gave me a Bible. I was eight. The blessing my mother wrote spoke life into me.
[Read slide]
Worship Team, come on up.
Worship Team come on up.
So, my brothers and sisters, imagine a world where we pray, teach our children to pray, and bless them with words like my mother and father have spoken over me . . .
So, my brothers and sisters, imagine a world where we pray, teach our children to pray, and bless them with words like my mother and father have spoken over me . . .
So, my brothers and sisters, imagine a world where we pray, teach our children to pray, and bless them with words like my mother and father have spoken over me . . .
So, my brothers and sisters, imagine a world where we pray, teach our children to pray, and bless them with words like my mother and father have spoken over me . . .
Worship Team, come on up.
I also know this. I’ve blessed my children.
I know this: my children have blessed me.
I learn from my children.
The kingdom is like a mustard seed planted. This Bible, this blessing, these prayers we pray, becoming a child ourselves, praying WITH our children, blessing them as they bless us . . .
So, my brothers and sisters, imagine a world where we pray, teach our children to pray, and bless them with words like my mother and father have spoken over me . . .
So, my brothers and sisters, imagine a world where we pray, teach our children to pray, and bless them with words like my mother and father have spoken over me . . .
Our elders, shepherds are waiting to counsel you, pray with you for any reason, come and pray . . .
Our elders, shepherds are waiting to counsel you, pray with you for any reason, come and pray . . .
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