The prayer that begins, “Our Father, who art in heaven” is normally referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, but since his disciples had just asked him to teach them how to pray it should probably be called the Disciples’ Prayer. In any case, a bit later on in his Galilean ministry we are privileged to listen to Jesus as he prays. It is recorded in Matthew 11:25: "Inspired with joy by the Holy Spirit, I prayed: "I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that although you have hidden these truths from the wise and discerning, you have made them known to the childlike.” So much can be learned if we allow him to be our mentor as we learn how to pray as he did.
The first thing that strikes me about his prayer is that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. It was the joy of the Spirit that moved him to pray. So often we think of prayer as a serious obligation to stay in contact with God and bring before him such issues as physical health, how to meet the traumas of life, and thanks that it didn’t rain. By contrast, it was the sheer joy of the Spirit’s presence that called forth praise from the Son of God. How can we not pray if we recognize that the Holy Spirit is present and wants to talk it all over with us? Remember that the Spirit is one with God the Father and God the Son. Some have referred to him as the “shy member of the trinity” as though he wasn’t quite sure of his status and didn’t want to draw the spotlight. To genuinely sense the presence and power of the Spirit leads to an incomprehensible joy that must of necessity give birth to prayer.
The other thing that stands out for me is that the eternal truths he was teaching were hidden from “the wise and discerning,” but were made known to “the childlike.” Why is it that spiritual truth doesn’t seem to make sense to the intellectual, but is easily grasped by the innocent? Perhaps because the world’s intellectual giants are by definition those who have ventured ahead of us and don’t need any insight we might come up with. Ignorance is such a serious fault because it doesn’t know that it doesn’t know. The childlike can accept spiritual truth because it doesn’t threaten their certainty that there is nothing they need to learn. The truly wise know how little is known even of our natural world, to say nothing of all that lies in regions beyond.
Jesus, inspired by the joy of the Spirit, lifts his voice in praise, thanking the Father for revealing his truth to the childlike. Three quick suggestions: stay open to the Spirit, grateful to the Father, and active in praise like the Son.