There came a time in Jesus’ ministry when the disciples came and made a request representing a desire that every Christ-follower has felt.
…“Lord, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1
Jesus responded with a prayer that has become so closely associated with Him that it is called, “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s important for us to not treat Christ’s words with a familiarity that borders on contempt. Jesus didn’t mean for this prayer to be rattled off at the drop of a hat.
I’ve been thinking that you might enjoy thinking through this wonderful prayer with “fresh eyes” and a “renewed spirit” of humble awe.
And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. ‘Give us each day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’ ” Luke 11:2–4
1. Pray Relationally (verse 2)
“Our father” – God is not just the heavenly Father, but to the believer, He is our heavenly Dad. Three times in the New Testament we are clearly told to call God, “Abba.” (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old And New Testament Words says,
“This is the word framed by the lips of infants, and betokens unreasoning trust and expresses the love and intelligent confidence of the child.”
Our confidence in prayer is based entirely on our special relationship with God Himself. He is our Dad and when we pray, calling Him Dad is appropriate. Now, if you are not sure that you have this kind of relationship with God, send me a message and I’ll give you the miraculous way to move into God’s personal family. Then you can join us in praying as Jesus instructed… “Father.”
2. Pray Devotionally (verse 2)
“Holy is Your Name.” Even when praying to our heavenly “Dad,” we should always remember He is the Holy, reigning King both now and into the future. “Holy is your name” is a phrase of worship. Even when coming to Him for the most ordinary need, God Almighty is deserving of a reverent approach.
3. Pray Dependently (verse 3 and 4)
To paraphrase, “give us our bread everyday… forgive us and protect us” – When we come to God in dependent prayer, we are admitting that we are totally powerless to accomplish anything and that He is totally powerful, and totally in control of everything in our lives. Even our relational standing to come confidently and pray expectantly is because of His provision of Christ as our Savior. Jesus clearly taught us that we could do nothing apart from Him (John 15:5) and it is essential to bring this realization to our prayers.
3. Pray Shamelessly (verses 8-10)
Most of the time we think of the Lord’s Prayer stopping at verse 4, but note that Jesus continues teaching. What He says next is tremendously important for those of us crying out in need.
Luke 11:8-10 (NLT) “But I tell you this…, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
When we pray we shouldn’t be embarrassed to keep praying for the same need. This doggedness in prayer is recorded throughout the New Testament: Acts 1:14 says the apostles were continually devoting themselves to prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. This doesn’t mean we spend every waking moment on our knees with our eyes closed. But it does mean we have a constant attitude of prayer and we move in and out of our conversation with God throughout the entire day.
In Luke 11:9,10 Jesus is teaching to keep asking God what He wants you to do and where He wants you to go. Keep seeking the path He has for you, and keep knocking until He opens the right door of opportunity in your life.
I particularly like the image of knocking at the door. We are to keep knocking and waiting for God to open. We wait. But God will open the door. We shouldn’t become impatient and push the door open ourselves, or leave the door and go looking elsewhere. But this is not a command to do nothing, to sit on the couch and watch TV. No. This is a lesson in being relentless in your pursuit of what God has for you. When we pray with this persistent shamelessness, we can be assured that God will hear us and act on those prayers.
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. 1 John 5:14-15
Think about it… and good praying…