Jesus was the best teacher on Prayer, both by His example and His first hand illustrations. Right off the bat, we know one significant characteristic of the Messiah from the Apostle Paul, which the early Christians would be grounded in. Consider these two things about Christ:
1. Philippians 2:5-8 "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross".
2. Hebrews 5:8 "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered".
Look at the words, above, in BOLD RED. Jesus was the Essence of Humility. He was the Humble Savior Who lived the way He wants all His disciples to live - then and now. He is the fulfillment of all Scripture, which proclaims everywhere that God resists the proud but gives Grace to the Humble. He even fulfilled Micah 6:8 and walked HUMBLY before His God -Who was/is His Father.
Knowing how Jesus, the Son of God was and is, the God of Heaven will only respond to prayers offered and requested with a humble heart. There is no room in the Heavenly Realm for pride and selfishness. The great author and pastor of the 19th Century, E.M. Bounds wrote the following about humility in prayer, which will provide emphasis and explanation to this most important attribute :
Humility is born by looking at God, and His holiness, and then looking at self and man's unholiness. Humility loves obscurity and silence, dreads applause, esteems the virtues of others, excuses their faults with mildness, easily pardons injuries, fears contempt less and less, and sees baseness and falsehood in pride.
Humility holds in its keeping the very life of prayer. Neither pride nor vanity can pray. Humility, though, is much more than the absence of vanity and pride. It is a positive quality, a substantial force, which energizes prayer. There is no power in prayer to ascend without it. Humility springs from a lowly estimate of ourselves and of our deservings. (EM Bounds)
What about you and I? How do we approach the Lord? We have been thought a formula to prayer over the years. This is the ACTS formula (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). This is perfect for our discipline in prayer. However, it must never become so automatic that it is routine liturgy.
We must remember that we cannot fool God, so there is a need to approach Him the very first thing in the morning with Thanksgiving, that we are even alive...and can wake up, get off the bed and get going. This very fact should activate instant humility in us that we can ready ourselves to first, read the Scriptures, and then pray, before leaving home. This assumes we have ordered time to do this. Windshield Prayer time is fantastic and many of us have done decades of this, but there is nothing like early morning fellowship with God.
It is a very worthwhile thing to reread the words of EM Bounds above (in italics), to grasp why we must truly remain humble and submitted and committed to Christ. May this be embedded in our spirit, not only today, but every day from now on. We don't have to sit in the dust and pour hot ashes and coal dust over our heads, while dressed in onion sacks. But we do have to come to the Lord with a lowly heart. We can and SHOULD always live this way!