In Luke 10:21-22 Jesus says, “Inspired with joy by the Holy Spirit, I prayed . . . .” These two verses reveal several genuinely helpful insights on the prayer life of our Lord. The first is that prayer is a natural response to an awareness of the joy of the Spirit. When suddenly we become aware of the indwelling Spirit and the joy of that relationship we can’t help but pray. And by prayer I mean open, honest, heart felt conversation with almighty God. We can love him in silence but there is something about each new episode of awareness that can’t be suppressed. To realize anew his constant presence calls for a “shout for joy.”
Jesus’ prayer began with praise: “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth.” The God to whom we pray is supreme over all and to acknowledge his greatness is neither a chore nor a necessity but the natural response of an adoring heart. In this particular prayer Jesus praised the Father for two related things: that he hid the truth “from the wise and discerning” and made it known “to the childlike.” God’s truth is not received by those who already know everything (so it seems to them), but readily received by those who humbly admit that they have a lot to learn. The goal of every believer who would learn what God wants them to know is to maintain a child-like openness to God. All too often our prayers contain a litany of things about which God should be advised. How about allowing him time to speak! Child-likeness is the prerequisite for insight into truth.
The second verse, which is actually a new paragraph, says that personal knowledge of God is made possible for us through the Son. He is the one who knows the Father and it is only through him that the believer is privileged to share in that relationship. Once again we see the difference between the “wise and discerning” and the “child-like” – followers of Christ who, “unimpeded by preconceived ideas of how God should act, respond with simple faith to Jesus and his mighty works” (Mounce, Matthew in the NIBC, p. 107)
So how can we develop a prayer life like this? Seems to me it requires that we become increasingly aware of the Spirit who has come to indwell us, remain open to the waves of spiritual joy that emanate from him, get off our intellectual high horse, and become like children in our relationship to God. That should sure help.