Words of Worth

“Shopping Week”

January 9, 2015

teach us to prayToday marks the last day of Christmas break for many colleges and universities in the area, which means that Monday begins “shopping week” (Isn’t every week shopping week?) for schools like Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Bryn Mawr. During “shopping week”, or “shopping period”, as it is officially known, students are able to shop for any class, leave any class in the middle to shop for another class, and shop six or seven classes before deciding on which classes to take this semester.  This allows students to get some questions answered before enrolling in a course.  What is the professor really like? Does he speak loudly enough? Is she an entertaining lecturer? It is quite a different process for students, who from most higher education institutions, don’t really know what a class is like until they’re officially enrolled in it.

I have never experienced “shopping week” at a University, but the concept makes me curious as to what shopping around I would do.  What kind of class would I shop for? What is it that I would most like for someone to teach me?

The disciples participated in a “shopping period” of sorts. They didn’t shop for a teacher because they already had Jesus, but they did have a preference as to what they could ask Jesus to teach them.  In Luke 11:1 we see the ONLY time in the Gospels that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them something.  The disciples, after watching Jesus pray, said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray….”

luke 11

I find this fascinating on a couple of levels.  First I find it fascinating that of all things the disciples could ask Jesus to teach them, they asked Him to teach them to pray. Best as I can figure, I would have asked Jesus to teach me how to walk on water, how to turn five loaves of bread into enough meals on wheels for 5,000 people, or how to catch a fish with a coin in its mouth.  Imagine taking those tricks on the road!  But no, the disciples never asked that because I imagine they witnessed Jesus’ prayer life and His connection with His Father and that connection must have been the reason for all the walking on water and turning water into wine miracles!

Secondly, I find their request fascinating because they didn’t ask, “HOW TO pray”, but rather, they asked, “teach us TO pray.”  It was a good starting point for them to just pray.  They needed to learn TO pray. Period.  That’s a good starting point for us as well—to just pray!

However, Jesus’ response to them was immediate and He did provide the “how to” and a pattern for prayer in Luke 11:2-4.  Over the next few weeks I would like to explore Jesus’ model of prayer, but for this “shopping period”, and before we enroll in this course of prayer, will you join me in saying, “Lord, teach us to pray.” After all, we have to begin somewhere!

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