Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 2
The closest disciples to Jesus had witnessed miracles. They had seen the lame to walk, the blind to see, and the lepers healed. Scripture tells us repeatedly; Jesus healed all who came to him. The early disciples were eyewitnesses to these things, and many more. The closeness of their relationship to Jesus gave them an insider’s view.
They must have noticed the way Jesus prepared himself each day. They would have seen his dedicated prayer life. They would have heard the prayers that Jesus prayed for healing. They herd the prayers of thanksgiving that rolled from his lips. In hearing these and seeing the wonders wrought through this prayer fed lifestyle they were forced to examine their own prayer life.
In doing so, they could see that they fell short. With all of their religious efforts, all of their sacrifices, all of their Hebrew upbringing, they had somehow missed this important lesson. It felt like the doors to heaven itself were sealed closed. In seeing Jesus’ prayer life and the results of his prayers on his ministry, then knew that they needed to know more. So they asked him the same question that many of us ask today, “Lord teach us to pray”….
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. (Luke 11:2)
Now we see Jesus beginning his teaching of what an effectual prayer should be like. He said, “When ye pray say”. There are allot of individuals who miss understand this phrase. Some have mistakenly taken this to mean that what Jesus is about to say, should be said verbatim. That is that is should be repeated word-for-word, or else you have not said a prayer.
Some believe that there is some supernatural binding to this prayer when recited exactly as written, God himself has to answer whatever follows. Some think that you have earned some special audience with God as a result of reciting this prayer. There are thousands who believe that atonement can be made by reciting this prayer over and over. This is not the case. God cannot be invoked. You cannot summon him like some ethereal game piece. He is the Almighty, the creator of the universe who has all autonomous authority. Meaning that God as God is self sufficient and answers to no one.
Luke is not saying to repeat identically each word and stanza that Jesus said. The Greek words usage, in this phrase, infers that Jesus wanted them to “say” in the same manner or way; not implying an obligation to repeat the exact verbiage. Repeating the Lord’s Prayer line-by-line, or even over and over again does not bring salvation and is not a means of penance.
It is probably better to look at the translation in Matthew’s recording of the same teachings in order to give us another disciple’s point of view of this important message. Matthew records, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9). In this catalog of the event, Matthew clearly states that we should pray in the same manner, or “in this way” (Strong’s, 3778,3779) that Jesus then instructs his disciples to pray. So when you pray, pray something like this…
Our Father which art in heaven… I do not know if you know this, but the carnal minded cannot please God. In all honesty there are some people praying, that really don’t have any faith that God exists. There are those that believe God exists but that he doesn’t care and is uninvolved in men’s lives. They are just throwing up their hands and speaking to the clouds and hoping that “if” there is a God, he will prove it in answering their prayer.
The Word of God tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God, and those that come to him must first believe that He IS. Secondly the scriptures tell that God rewards those who seek him persistently. In addition, scripture tells us that those who believe on Jesus have been adopted into the family of God, as his children. Romans 8:14-16 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
So then, since we have already believed that He is and that He rewards those who seek him, and believe that He has already adopted us as children through Jesus Christ, we can then boldly come to him. Seeking him ourselves. We can call him Father, because he literally is our Father. I am getting excited already!
Jesus further clarifies the importance of this relationship later in the chapter when he explains the nature of the Father. Jesus explains, “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? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 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?” (Luke 11:11-13) WOW! Nail on the head! Did you see that! Jesus said that even though we are evil, we still know how to give good things, then he said… that God is Good! So- if God is Good, then how much more does he have the ability and will to give good things to those who ask?
Jesus asked a rhetorical question, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those (his children) who ask of him? I love my children and I can honestly tell you that one of the most heartbreaking things that a father has to face is when one of his children ask him for something that he cannot provide. It never gets easier, and it does not matter which child asks. You see as a father, I want to give all kinds of good gifts to my children because I love them, and I love being able to provide for them. I love being able to protect them. I love for them to look to me when they are in trouble, or even when they just need someone to listen. I love being a confident to each and everyone of my children. But you know, there are times when I can provide for them, but I don’t, because; they do not ask for me to. If they don’t ask for my help, knowing that I want to help. I cannot help them though, if they don’t ask me to. Why? Because it is their choice to make, not mine.
So first we must ask, then he will give. Now he did specify what he would give, that is the Holy Spirit, but look he also said how much more… this means how much more willing is he to give the Holy Spirit. It is like he is just there waiting for you to ask, and BAM! It is on the way! Now this is not a teaching on the Holy Spirit, but since it was brought up. What good does that do? The Holy Spirit does many things for the believer, just as a quick list; he is our comforter, he is a teacher, he is a counselor, he is an encourager, and many more things to us. The Holy Spirit is the seal of God on our lives. The Father gives the Holy Spirit whole heartedly, in fact scripture says that the Spirit of God indwells those who follow Jesus Christ.
Which art in heaven… The Creator of the universe exists outside of normal time and space, He is not hindered by laws of physics or the limits of mans imagination. He does not dwell in little wooden crucifixes or crosses for that matter. Those things are made my man, and cannot contain God. The earth as a whole cannot contain God. If the universe could contain God then what kind of a God would He be? No God is above all powers and principalities. God exists outside of our universe. In scripture the heavens are referred to in three different arenas. The first arena of the heavens referred to is the atmosphere of the earth. This covers what we breath, the ozone which includes the clouds and weather. The second spectrum that the heavens refers to is our universe. This convers from the atmosphere on our into the area we call space. Where the universe with it’s multiple galaxies spin and collide. The third area that scripture refers to heaven is the place that is outside of time and space, the area where God resides. This is Gods place from which He over sees all of creation. Creation includes, the universe, the multiple galaxies, and the earth.
“Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1)
We now begin to see that when we come to the Lord God Almighty, we need to have an understanding of who He is. We need to know that “he IS”. We need to know that he is above all other things in existence. If we don’t believe this about God, then why should we waste our time in seeking Him out? This then is where faith begins.
Faith doesn’t start with a warm fuzzy feeling, or some emotional high after a revival. Faith begins with a proper understanding of God. A proper understanding of God comes from scripture. There are NO secular authorities on God. There are no scientific rules that can determine that God does not exist.
Scripture tells us that the very design of creation points to the fact that God exists, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (Psalm 19:1-6). There is no excuse under heaven to NOT believe in God.
Hallowed be thy name… Hallowed means to be sanctified or set apart. This term set apart means to be unique, or different than anything else. The manner that this refers to in saying hallowed be thy name is to mentally set his name apart in such a manner to bring honor to his name, by counting Him as holy. Acknowledging that God alone is holy. God is unique. God alone is good. We need to have an understanding of the reverence that God deserves. My children have an open door to me at any time. We play around and kid one another. We also pull pranks on one another from time to time. We tell jokes, we fish, we camp. We do all the informal things that fathers and their children do. Do you know with all of that familiarity, they still address me as “sir”? Why is that? Because with everything we share, there is one thing we do not share… we are not peers. My children respect me as their father, and as an elder.
We should respect God in the same manner, as one who is our Father, and one who is Holy. In fact scripture says that we should mimic our Father, just like sons do to their earthly fathers. Peter wrote, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;” (1 Peter1:15). See if you believe that God is holy, and that you are called by his name, then you should honor him by being Holy in your behavior. Faith breeds action.
Not so long ago, a man’s name was his reputation. This is because everyone knows that you actually can judge a book by its cover. Now I know this is contrary to the whole “why can’t we all just get along” politically correct stance that has paralyzed the entire human race. What was meant as a good thing about not being to hard on someone who has fallen on hard times, has now gone to the extreme. This saying and many others like “who are you to judge me?”, while many claim to be bible based, are twisted doctrines straight from the enemy. Scripture in no manner ever says that a man should be lazy, if he can work.
If a man has shown himself untrustworthy, unsafe to be around, or in need of being imprisoned then that is the reputation of the man, that he has earned by his actions. Not because someone judged him. That man’s name is dirt. Not so long ago, people understood that. I know you think I have gotten off topic, but take a look again at the verse… thy name. See I am still here. The other part to “hallowed by thy name” is being able to trust in that “name”. This is more important than you realize. Being able to trust in that name is more than just getting your prayers answered. It is the key to life itself. In Acts 4:12 we read;
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
This was the Apostle Peter talking about Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified by the Romans at the behest of the Jews. This Jesus rose from the grave and is now in the presence of the Father where he makes intercessory prayers for us. This intercessory prayer is the true “Lords Prayer”, which goes up continuously on our behalf. What have we to fear?
If we do not believe these simple truths about God then we need not go any further. You see in order to ask God anything and expect that He will answer we must at a minimum believe:
- God Exists
- He is unique in any and every way
- He is our Heavenly Father
- He has all authority
- He is willing to listen to us and to answer us
- He is good and desires good things for his children
- Jesus is the only way to the Father
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth… We also see in this opening that prayer is about our relationship to God. Knowing who He is, accepting of Jesus and Lord and Savior and seeking His guidance. Prayer is foremost an acknowledgement of our responsibilities to God. Prayer is not about getting mans will done in heaven, but getting God’s will done on earth. Prayer is asking God to use us in a manner that is pleasing to Him to accomplish what He needs done. God is the one who is to be glorified in our lives, not us. We pray for His kingdom to be expanded and strengthened. You see we are wanting his kingdom to come because we understand that no one can make peace here on earth, but God. On one can make us whole, but God. No one can take away our pains and fears, but God himself.
James says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3). That is when you do ask, you ask for the wrong things and for the wrong reasons. Selfish desires are not what prayer is for. Here is another way to look at it. What heavenly good does it really do for my little league team to win the ballgame? Or how does my getting a new car further the advancement of the gospel? Am I really praying for what I need to be walk in the spirit of God? Notice I did not include prayers for legitimate needs. Needs like deliverance from addictions, sicknesses, disease, or even financial burdens. These prayers can affect your spiritual maturity and the furtherance of the gospel. These are legitimate prayer needs. These types of prayers should be done for ourselves and for one another. These prayers show love and concern for one another.
Prayers for those in authority are also legitimate prayers that we are actually commanded we should pray. We should pray for those who use you and persecute you for Christ’s namesake. Prayers should be offered for all men everywhere. We should pray for the widows, and orphans. We should pray for the blind, that they may see. We should pray for the lost, that they may seek and find Jesus. This is the will of God. These prayers bring the kingdom of God here to the earth where men live and breathe. By praying these sorts of prayer and inviting God to take part in our governments, and in our schools, and in our neighborhoods, and churches we are seeking God in a manner that is pleasing to him. These are unselfish prayers.
The challenge this week if to set some time apart to tell God that you do believe in Him, and his Son. Pray for the Spirit to teach you what you should know. Pray for someone else, that God may reveal Himself to them. Pray that God will show you how to further His kingdom in your neighborhood. Go and be His ambassador, and his child.