Luke 11:1 (NIV) One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Since John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus who prepares the way for Jesus, there are many similarities between their ministries. John taught his disciples how to pray. Jesus also taught his disciples how to pray. But there is less information on the pattern of the prayer taught by John. If Jesus taught "May your kingdom come", then John might have taught "Prepare us for your coming kingdom" or something like that.

Is there any source outside the Bible or some traditions?


3 Answers 3


This is an excellent question. However, we are given nothing in the Bible that gives us any information about how John taught his disciples to pray, only that he did teach them to pray. As far as I am aware, there are no surviving documents that give any information either.


Refer back to Luke 5:33 where the same subject was broached by the disciples. The word "make" is poieo which means "to originate a petition or need, to cause or bring about or to be the author of". This was in sharp contrast to the way the religious order of the day prayed as they recited those prayers and praises in rote as given by God through their forefathers. This was something new that had been introduced through the birth of Jesus ... an openness for a personal relationship between man and his Creator, another indication of the love that God had for His creation.


While there is nothing in the sacred writings that indicate exactly how John taught his followers and disciple to pray, there is clarity about his message and mission.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’ Matthew 3:1-3.

Is it possible that John would preach repentance and turn to the Psalms for his guide? For example form Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness
in your abundant compassion
blot out my offense.
Wash away all my guilt;
from my sin cleanse me.

This is also a shift from the rote prayers of the temple and an invitation to enter into a personal prayer relationship with the Father, with Abba.


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