Nowhere in the narratives about Jesus did anyone ask Him how to perform such astounding miracles. Nobody once asked Him how He developed His sermons or put together one of those intriguing parables. Of all the things that Jesus did during His bodily ministry on earth, the only item we have recorded that anyone else asked Him to teach them is this: “Lord, teach us to pray.” They saw Him praying and probably heard Him pray, but they wanted to learn how to do it.
So what does Jesus do? He gives them words. That shouldn’t surprise us because He is the very Word of God, but it is powerful. Do you know how human beings learn to speak? We learn by hearing others speak and by having others talk to us.
Eugene Peterson reminds us that “because we learned language so early in our lives we have no memory of the process” and would therefore imagine that it was we who took the initiative to learn how to speak. However, that is not the case. “Language is spoken into us; we learn language only as we are spoken to. We are plunged at birth into a sea of language. . . . Then slowly syllable by syllable we acquire the capacity to answer: mama, papa, bottle, blanket, yes, no. Not one of these words was a first word. . . . All speech is answering speech. We were all spoken to before we spoke.”
Keller, Timothy. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (p. 55). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
We may be saying words to God in prayer, but they are, in fact, the words He has given us to speak to Him. Isn’t that amazing!?!? God has revealed Himself as a Father who is close enough to listen and yet Holy and Heavenly. He is has a will and a plan that we would desire and want if we could see things the way He does. He is the provider of all things good, even our daily food. He is the one who forgives. He is the one who can see temptation before we do, and He wants to help us avoid it. He also reminds us that there is evil, and only He can provide the protection we need. We can go to Him with all these requests because He let us know that this is the kind of God He is.
We speak because He spoke first. So repeat His words back to Him today.