A father related that during their family time each person was going to pray for one person. His son prayed to ask God to help his friend Eddie be better at school because he was so bad. When they got together the next week, the father asked his son if he was going to pray for Eddie again. “No,” the son replied, “I prayed for Eddie last week and he is still bad.”
Jesus has made it clear that there will be a period of time between the inbreaking of the eschaton now at his death, resurrection, and ascension, and the full coming of the eschaton not yet at the last judgment (17:20–37). Therefore, he now encourages his disciples to continue in prayer and not to lose hope if the delay seems long.
But before we explain the Lord’s Prayer part by part, the most necessary thing is to exhort and encourage people to pray, as Christ and the apostles also did. The first thing to know is this: It is our duty to pray because of God’s command. For we heard in the Second Commandment, “You are not to take God’s name in vain.” Thereby we are required to praise the holy name and to pray or call upon it in every need.
In the second place, what ought to impel and arouse us to pray all the more is the fact that God has made and affirmed a promise: that what we pray is a certain and sure thing. As he says in Psalm 50[:15*], “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you,” and Christ says in the Gospel in Matthew 7[:7–8*], “Ask, and it will be given you,” etc. . . . “For everyone who asks receives.”
Furthermore, we should be encouraged and drawn to pray because, in addition to this commandment and promise, God takes the initiative and puts into our mouths the very words and approach we are to use. In this way we see how deeply concerned he is about our needs, and we should never doubt that such prayer pleases him and will assuredly be heard.