Everything to God in Prayer…When You Pray, Say

Luke 11:1-13

After this message we will be praying silently and in groups for a period of time and I will be asking for room to be made here at the altar so people can use it, then we will divide into groups of three to five persons and pray for one another in those groups; then those who would like to can pray aloud before I close out the time with corporate prayer.

I am spending three of the remaining Sundays this month on prayer and we will be following this same format in worship, closing worship out with prayer each Sunday. Our theme will be Everything to God in Prayer and the theme for this morning’s message is “When you pray, say…”

The series text will be Luke 11:1-13.

“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.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’

And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

As I read this passage through the first time in preparation for today, I noticed a thematic connection that I had not noticed before…

… between the first four verses which is Luke’s record of what we call the Lord’s prayer (a shorter version than in Matthew’s gospel);

… then the next six verses, verses 5 through 10 which has often been treated separately from the previous segment and the segment which follows it about persistence in prayer;

…then the final three verses, verses 11 through 13, that speak of the goodness of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

All are linked together.

Our initial text in this short series is Luke 11:1-4,

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.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

 

In his comments on these verses, the late Leon Morris wrote “A final point to notice, is that, while it can be prayed privately, it is essentially a corporate prayer.” All the pronouns are plural.”

But there are some other things to notice about this opening segment that is very important as we grasp and learn something about the place of prayer in our faith and lives and what was important to Jesus about prayer.

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.”

Jesus was praying in a certain place… Luke does not tell us where but the word certain suggests that it was a definite place and probably was known to the disciples (and maybe Luke as well) but it is not named. It could have been the temple in Jerusalem or a synagogue that He often frequented. We don’t know.

But what is important is that Jesus was praying prior to the request of “teach us to pray.”

Prayer mattered to Jesus. There are several places in the gospels in which it is noted that Jesus is praying.

Now the disciples had seen Jesus praying before. As noted in Luke 10, they heard Him praise God the Father for the results of the seventy-two’s ministry.

But on this day, in this moment noted by Luke, something clicked in the mind and heart of one of the disciples who said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

“just as John taught his disciples.”

Who is John and which disciple requested Jesus’ instruction in prayer?

John is John the Baptist and there were two of Jesus’ disciples who had been John the Baptist’s disciples – one was Andrew and mostly like the other was John who wrote the gospel of John, John 1, 2, and 3, and Revelation.

There is a lot about these verses, therefore, we do not know. But what we do know, is that something clicked in the mind and heart of one of Jesus’ closest followers and he asked Jesus for instruction in prayer, and it was a corporate request, (Teach US to pray) just as John the Baptist had taught his disciples, his followers.

And the instruction is a model for prayer, not a three or four step instruction in how to pray but a model of prayer…

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

Jesus offers some important elements in prayer with His words:

Hallowed be your name. Hallowed is an older English word for Holy.
Holy is your name…

Prayer is to God, who is Holy…not to someone else or something else. The focus of prayer is to God who is a Holy God.

Then Jesus said, “your kingdom come.” Jesus’ focus as He walked this earth was on the Kingdom of God. Not the Kingdom of Rome nor the fallen Kingdom of Israel. It was on the Kingdom of God.

And the reason I say Kingdom of God is because the “your” refers to His father – God.

The kingdom of God is vastly different than any political entity today. It was the focus of Jesus’ prayer and must be our focus. We are kingdom of God people.

Jesus tells the disciples to pray for the Kingdom of His Father to come – to be-come a reality. What might that look like?

I think that the rest of the prayer give us a hint.

Give us each day our daily bread.

I think that Jesus is saying in today’s language “provide us with what we need for that day.” That’s a prayer of faith, isn’t it?

How many of us truly pray “give us each day our daily bread?”

How many of us buy our food on a daily basis? How many of us buy our food on a weekly basis or bi-weekly basis? Or when someone says, “MOM! We’re out of…”

The times of that day were different. People daily gathered their food.

What would we say today? How would we pray it today?
Provide us with what we need for today?

When I pondered this verse yesterday, I thought about our four cars.

Three of our four cars have been given to us and they have come when we knew that life circumstances required us to have more than one or two cars. They youngest of them is 9 years old and the oldest of them is 15. And the people at a local garage here in town know us by name. Two of them were in their bays at the same time a few weeks ago.

Would I like a newer and nicer car?

Sure would!

(A Lingenfelter Camaro would be nice!)

But we have what we need…

Give us this day our daily transportation…

The dailyness of this request is a challenge for us in prayer in these times when we think out (and have to think out) three, four days…weeks…months…years.

But Jesus says we are to pray, “give us each day our daily bread…”

This address the issue of anxiety and fear which Jesus spoke to in Matthew’s gospel in chapter 6 and verses 25-34 which concludes with

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Then comes…

Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

This has been translated as “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” or “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

But the point anyway we translate it or pray the fuller version as recorded in Matthew’s gospel, is the same:

“Forgive me God for my sins and forgive so and so for hurting me.”

Forgiveness of our sins through a once and for all act of dying on the cross and, praise God, rising from the dead three days later, was Jesus’ mission here on earth. He was not here to debate, to grab power, to have influence.

No, he came so that we could be forgiven of our sins and shortcoming and forgive others who have offended and hurt us as well.

How much is forgiveness a part of your praying?

Forgiveness is about being right with God and being right with others.

Finally, Jesus says to pray

“And lead us not into temptation.’”

The temptations we face are many and I remind us of the truth about the Lord’s help in 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

(I would note that the original Greek words translated here as temptation and tempted can also be translated as testing and tested.)

But Jesus says to pray, “and lead us not into temptation.”

This is a prayer for strength to resist temptation throughout our day.

This is a prayer for help, a prayer for our will to be strengthened to say no.

How does your praying measure up against this prayer?

 

“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

As we prepare for a time of prayer I ask us to consider the following questions:

How does my praying compare to this prayer?

What is the most important thing prayed for in this passage?

For what am I praying these days?

How am I praying these days?

Are you, are we praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom or for our own agendas?

Are we praying for our needs, to be met, just for today, or are we worrying in prayer about them?

Prayer is a vital part of living our faith out in the places we go and inhabit.

And I remind us of the truth of Philippians 4:6-7 as we conclude that prayer can be and must be part of every part of our life each day:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thanks be to God for the power of prayer and for a disciple who spoke up and said to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray…”

Amen

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