Another Lesson on Prayer

 Judea
(10) Another Lesson on Prayer
Luke 11:1-13

 


1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

After watching Jesus pray, one of His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray. 

It was the custom of our Lord to get alone to pray. 

One of His disciples must have overheard Him pray, and now had a desire to pray like Christ prayed. 

The disciple is not just asking how to pray. 

The Lord had given the Sermon on the Mount, and at that time He gave them what we call the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13) which outlined how one should pray. 

This disciple is not asking for a technique, a system, an art form, or a ritual to follow. 

It’s not a matter of how to do it, but he wanted to pray like Christ prayed. 

In answer to their request, the Lord gives them this. 

I do not believe He intended it to become the prayer I hear so often in public services.

Prayer is not to be unnatural, instead it should be spontaneous and personal, like a son talks to his father. 

God the Father knows me and I do not think He wants me to put on airs, assume an unnatural voice and use flowery language. 

I think He wants me to talk like Tom Lowe, and I don’t think He wants me to get “wordy” either.

Jesus began by saying “When ye pray”; He assumed His disciples would pray. 

Jesus taught His disciples to pray to their “Father.” 

The Jews used a formal word for Father, but Jesus taught His disciples to use the ordinary intimate term that children used in addressing their father.

We are never to forget that we are addressing our holy and all-powerful creator, so Jesus adds “Hallowed be thy name.” 

God’s name refers to His character, His reputation, His Person and nature. 

God’s name is holy. 

When we pray to our Heavenly Father, let us never forget that out Heavenly Father is also holy God.

Then Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come.”

 Jesus was supremely concerned about the kingdom of God. 

The term “kingdom” means “kingly rule” and it refers to God’s reign in the lives of people. 

God’s reign is present wherever Christ the King rules in human lives. 

To pray for the coming of God’s kingdom, then is to pray that people accept Christ as Lord. 

To pray for the coming of the kingdom is also to pray that God’s will prevails in society. 

But that will not happen until Jesus returns; therefore, part of what it means to pray for the kingdom is to pray for the return of our Lord.

Jesus also taught us to pray that God will supply our daily needs. 

Give us day by day our daily bread” expresses that thought. 

Bread” represents all the material essentials of life. 

Don’t we pray more often for luxuries than for our daily needs? 

And we pray for things that are way out in the future. 

Such praying forgets that the essence of faith is to rely on God’s gracious provision for each day’s needs as that day arrives. 

We must learn to live and pray in this kind of faith.

Jesus also told us to pray for the forgiveness of our sins. 

We must always come before God with a deep feeling of unworthiness because of our sins. 

Jesus coupled this instruction with another—that we also forgive others who sin against us. 

We forgive others because we have experienced the wonder of God’s grace.

Then Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God would protect them from temptation. 

I think that He wanted us to pray to be delivered from any trial that would overwhelm us or lead us to sin. 

We are to pray that God would keep us from yielding to temptation. 

Finally, if Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Twelve all needed to pray, how much more do we need to pray!

We must put God’s concerns first, because prayer is based on sonship, not friendship.

5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

Jesus told this parable to illustrate the necessity of prayer. 

Imagine that a person had an unexpected guest arrive at midnight, and that guest is hungry. 

He doesn’t have anything in the house to eat, so he goes to the home of a friend and asks him to loan him three loaves of bread. 

His friend had already gone to bed and his family was asleep on mats all around him. 

He could reasonably protest that it was too difficult, since he would disturb his entire family. 

He might have to stumble over everyone, light a lamp, find the loaves of bread, and unlatch the locked door. 

He could refuse to disturb his family to grant the request.

8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

Even if the man who has been disturbed from his sleep will not respond because of friendship, he will get up and give the bread because of his friend’s persistence. 

Although persistence is important in prayer, this parable is probably trying to show a contrast between God and the friend who eventually opened the door.

God is more than a friend, and will certainly grant our needs much more readily than the man who had gone to bed. 

What’s more, the Bible tells us that God is not like us, for He never slumbers nor sleeps; He is always ready to help with any need we have.

9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

God wants to answer your prayers and He will. 

That is what this parable is saying. 

It is a parable by contrast, not by comparison. 

You do not have to storm the gates of heaven or knock down the door of heaven in order to attract God’s attention. 

God is not reluctant to hear and answer you. 

God tells us in Isaiah 65:24, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” 

God wants to hear and answer.

But some people believe that God does not hear and answer their prayers. 

Maybe they do not get the message—sometimes, God says, “No!” 

Our problem is that we don’t like to take no for an answer. 

God always hears the prayers of His own, and answers them, but when He says no it is because we are praying for something that is not best for us. 

The door to God is wide open and He says, “Knock, seek, and ask.”

Take everything to God in prayer, and He will give you His very best.

11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

Jesus further emphasized His point by comparing human fathers with our Heavenly Father. 

Even sinful human fathers generally give their children good gifts, not evil ones. 

If a child asks for a fish, most human fathers would not give that child a poisonous snake. 

If that is true of human fathers, how much more can God be depended on to give good gifts.

12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

God is a loving Father, not a grouchy neighbor, and He doesn’t become irritated when we ask for help (James 1:5). 

In addition, God desires to give us freely all things.

One of the most precious gifts is naturally the Holy Spirit who abides with all believers today. 

At that time the disciples could have asked for the Holy Spirit. 

As far as I can tell the never did ask for the Spirit. 

But later on Christ said, “…Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22). 

They needed the Holy Spirit during those intervening days before Pentecost. 

Then on the great Day of Pentecost He came and baptized them into the body of believers, which put them in Christ. 

They were filled on that day with the Holy Spirit. 

All believers have been baptized into the body of Christ—“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).

This passage from Jesus’ teachings on prayer provides a powerful motivation for faithfulness in prayer. 

We pray to a loving Father who always responds to the prayers of His children. 

Our Father never rejects our requests and always gives us good gifts. 

He even grants the constant presence of His Holy Spirit within His children. 

If God gives us the greatest gift of all—the gift of Himself, surely He will give us every lesser gift that is in line with his purposes. 

Such an assurance provides the strongest motivation for our prayers. 

Even more, when we pray ignorantly asking for something that would hurt us, our loving Father will give us only what is good for us.

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