- December 20, 2005
- By John Rutledge
BaptistWay Bible Series for Jan. 1
Jesus provides the model for talking with God
• Luke 11:1-13
By Jeffrey Lee
Logsdon Seminary, Abilene
How do you pray? What do you pray for? It is easy to get lost in meaningless prayers.
Christ gives us the blueprint for the right way to pray. Luke 11:1-4 is known as the Lord’s Prayer. As we follow the prayer, we should model our prayers after Jesus’. Prayer ushers us into the presence and power of God and makes him evident in our lives. Many Christians live with a sense of guilt when it comes to prayer.
We have seen prayer move mountains. We have seen God’s healing power in response to prayer. Prayer can be, if used properly, one of the most powerful tools a Christian has. It is a shame many do not know how to pray effectively.
Being devoted to prayer and learning how to pray is very difficult. It is interesting that the only place in Scripture where the disciples asked Jesus to teach them something was when they asked him to teach them to pray in Luke 11:1.
First, we see the disciples do not know how to pray, so they ask Jesus to teach them. If we find ourselves at a loss for words and do not know what to pray, we can ask God for help, and he will.
In verse 2, we are instructed on how to start the prayer. First, Jesus addresses God by saying “Our Father in heaven … .” Our aim is to talk to God, and we should make it known by addressing the One to whom we are praying. Focus on God, not the people and things around you. He cares about the emotions of the heart.
Next, Jesus praises the name of God. We should praise his name with every breath we breathe, so how much more important is it that we praise his name in our prayers.
“Your Kingdom come … .” It is not we, but God who rules all of creation, and it is his will that will be done throughout the universe. God is in control of all things and his will is worked out in all of creation.
In verse 3, Christ asks God to meet all his daily needs. Think about the fact that the God of creation wants to hear from you. We should place all our needs, cares and worries into the very capable hands of God. God will take care of you. He wants us to ask him, so ask him, and he will be there for you. God intended for prayer to be a priority.
In verse 4, Christ states the need for repentance and forgiveness. We are all sinners, and we fall short every day. Christ says, “Forgive us our sins,” to give us the opportunity to repent. We must confess our sins to God and repent, and we will receive God’s grace and forgiveness. Christ also states that since we have received forgiveness from God, we too should forgive those who harm us. Forgiveness is the first and most important part of a good community.
In the final part of the prayer, Christ asks for deliverance from the “evil one.” Christians are tempted on a daily basis. We cannot stand alone, but God can deliver us; all we need to do is ask him.
We should be praying for each other, because it is tremendously powerful and meaningful when we pray for our fellow believers. Prayer is the language of the heart. There are many types of prayer. We come before God in very peculiar ways.
Just because we are Christians does not make us good prayers. Some Christians I know do not pray and some only pray when it is convenient or when they want something. Is that the way we should pray? I do not think so. Christ gives us the example of prayer, and we constantly should be in an attitude of prayer.
In verses 5-7, Christ tells us a story of two friends and what they would do for one another. If two friends would care that much for each other, how much more would the Creator care about his creation. God loves everyone, and Christ died for all people.
Verse 9 says, “Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Are we seeking? Are we knocking? In a lot of ways, I do not think we are. We should seek Christ in all we do. For in verse 10 it says, “… he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” God is looking out for us; all we must do is to seek after him. He gives his grace freely; all we need do is ask for it.
One of the many good things about prayer is that we must go to God to do it. It is very difficult to go to God if we have any negative thoughts and bitterness in our hearts. The Lord sees through that. What we have in our hearts has a tremendous effect on our prayers. That is why Jesus says we must confess anything in our hearts that could disrupt our prayers. The Lord says this, so there will be nothing that can separate us from the grace of God.
• How does your praying compare to how Jesus taught his disciples to pray?
• How does prayer affect your life?