by LA UBF   11/05/2005     0 reads




Luke 11:1-13

Key Verse 11:2

1.       Verse 1 describes the occasion on which Jesus taught the disciples to pray. 

          What can we learn from Jesus? What can we learn from the disciples?  

2. In verse 2 Jesus said, "When you pray, 'say'..." What does the word "say" indicate about the nature of prayer? Why is it important to “say” what we do in prayer?  

3. In verse 2b, Jesus asked the disciples to say, "Father". What does "Father" indicate about the kind of attitude we are to have as we approach Him in prayer?

4. Think about the prayer topics about God the Father mentioned in verse 2. Why should we pray for God's name to be hallowed? Why should we pray for God's kingdom to come?

5. Consider the three prayer topics listed for us in verses 3-4. Why do we need to pray in this way?         

6. Read verses 5-8. What do you think Jesus is trying to teach us about prayer?

7. Meditate on Jesus' words in verses 9-13. What does this passage teach us about prayer? 





Luke 11:1-13

Key verse 11:2

He said to them, "When you pray, say: " 'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

Today we would like to think about Jesus' teaching on prayer. 

It has been said, "Just as we need to breathe all the time, so also we need to pray always.” No wonder that in many places of his gospel the Apostle Luke emphasizes the importance of prayer. For example in Luke 21:36 he quotes Jesus saying to his disciples, "Be always on the watch, and pray…" Luke 22:40 then says, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." Similarly Luke 22:26 says, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." These are but a few examples of many exhortations to pray. And Jesus began his ministry with prayer and finished his ministry with prayer. Certainly prayer constitutes an essential part of our life in the Lord. What then did Jesus teach on prayer? He taught two things: first Jesus taught the disciples prayer topics, and second Jesus taught the disciples the spirit of prayer. 

Part I. When you pray, say...

Look at verse 1. "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." This passage indicates that prayer is not something we do automatically. Rather it shows us that prayer is something that needs to be learned. We see that the same was true with Jesus' disciples. Although they spent time with Jesus 24/7, still they did not pray. Why? It was because they did not learn how to pray. Why didn’t they learn? It was because for the most part they had no desire to learn. But as they saw Jesus praying, and even as they knew that the disciples of John the Baptist prayed regularly, the desire to learn to pray arose in their hearts. So they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. As if Jesus had been waiting for this request, immediately Jesus started out teaching them how to pray.

Look at verse 2. "He said to them, "When you pray, say:" In this passage Jesus taught them what prayer is all about. What is prayer? We find an answer to this question in the word “say.” So let us notice the word "say.” Jesus is the God of simplicity. And the "first" word that came from the mouth of Jesus in teaching the prayer is "say". The simple word "say" describes in a simplest way the essence of prayer: prayer in its essential nature IS a conversation. In prayer we communicate ourselves with God the Father. In prayer we get ourselves "connected" with the Living God not in a fuzzy way, but in an intelligent way, so that as we get connected we would secure all we need for life - comfort, contentment, and pleasure, a deep sense of belonging, the realization of one's identity and integrity, a heightened sense of self-worth, the true awareness of meaning, purpose, direction of life, and much more. 

When you pray, say, "Father!" Let us then think about the "Father". In Hebrew the word "father" is pronounced "ab". It consists of the first two letters in Hebrew Alphabet: Aleph and Bet. Aleph refers to the one who originates, that is, God the Creator. Bet denotes a house or family. The word “father” then points to the truth that God the Father is not “irrelevant” to us. Rather he is directly related to us, because as a Father he gave birth to all of us through Jesus Christ as 1 John 5:1 proclaims, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God..." 

Speaking of the same truth the Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:15, "[Y]ou did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, <"Abba,> Father." Then in Galatians 4:6 Paul says, "Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, <"Abba>, Father."" 

In this way prayer is just like a conversation between a son and a father.  “When you pray say, ‘Father!’” This prayer request reminds us of the movie “E.T.” In many ways we are like E.T., a total stranger to the planet earth. But we are not alone. Why? It is because all the days of our spiritual journey here on earth, whenever we feel lonely or disturbed in any other ways, we can always make a phone call to God the Father saying, “Father!” Do you remember the scene E.T. calling home? When you think about it, we are in a lot luckier position than E.T., because my recollection is that in that movie, E.T. had a considerable amount of difficulties to get “connected.” But we are different from E.T. 

In God’s mercy, our Father in heaven did not leave us here on earth as a bunch of orphans. Rather, he sent us the Holy Spirit to be with us. In Jesus then we are given the privilege of making phone calls to God the Father. In order to talk to him on the phone (I mean through prayer) we do not need any equipment like a cell phone or an Ethernet card. We don’t need to dial any numbers. And there are no per minute charges or extra fees such as surtaxes. All of our spiritual phone calls are for free. Why? About 2000 years ago, our Lord Jesus Christ paid all the phone bills, all in advance. So everyone who believes in Jesus has unlimited access to God the Father. And as long as we can talk to the Father saying, “Abba, Father” we know that we are ready to meet all the challenges (all the enemies) so that we can turn out to be more than conquerors. [Romans 8:31] 

Practically then how does this work? Look at the latter part of verse 2: “hallowed be your name…” Here God’s name refers to God’s intrinsic character. The word “hallowed” has the meaning of “holy” which means “set apart.” In what respect is God ‘set apart’? He is set apart, not in the sense of him being remote or distant from us, but rather in the sense of him being truly great as Isaiah says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The central idea of God’s holiness then is his true greatness, especially in his infinite perfection, perfection in his beauty, perfection in his glory. 

The question then becomes, “Is the prayer topic that God’s name be revered as holy for God or for men?” The answer is obvious. It is not for God but for men, for by definition God is not a needy God; he is not in need of us praying “for” him, for with or without our prayer he is already holy. Therefore when Jesus asked us to pray that God’s name would be regarded as holy, Jesus had in mind our own interest, that is, through us praying this way, he desires us to be benefited by Him, and the benefit that first comes to mind is the opportunity for us to participate in His divine nature. In Leviticus 19:2 the Lord God shard the same idea by saying, “Be holy because I the Lord your God am holy.” 

What good then does the holiness of God do for us? What difference does it make to our life? The Bible abounds with the passages, which answer the questions. Let me take just a few examples. 

First, let us take a look at Exodus 24:9-10. “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.” Here, “a pavement made of sapphire” denotes the life of par-excellence, as compared with the life of the Israelites as a bunch of slaves steeped in a slave mentality, the life that makes bricks all the time with no hope for the future. In Hebrew  ‘pavement’ has the meaning of ‘stone’ or simply, a ‘block’ like a ‘brick.’. Life [or the result of life] under the feet of the Lord God is like a stone made of sapphire. Life under the feet of Pharaoh, the symbol of the devil is like a brick made of straw and dirt. Which one would like? A stone of sapphire or a brick made of dirt? 

Exodus 34:28-29 gives out the same message, for it tell us that after enjoying fellowship with the Lord for forty days and forty nights, although he did not eat nor drink, as he came down the mountain his face was so radiant that people were afraid to go near him. 

Psalm 27:4 is still another example, for there King David expressed the joy of having fellowship with God the Father in prayer by saying, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” 

Luke 9:29 is supreme of all the examples, for it reads, “as he [Jesus] was praying the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightening.” 

Viewed this way, we can say that by giving us the privilege to pray, “Hallowed be your name”, Jesus granted us to participate in His divine nature, so that by offering this prayer topic, we would grow as God’s children, growing in His image, attaining to his level of greatness, fulfilling the glorious work he has prepared for us to do.  

In verse 2 Jesus then asks his disciples to pray saying, “your kingdom come.” Obviously “your kingdom” refers to God’s kingdom. The word “kingdom” means king’s domain. It denotes the place (or simply the environment) in which God rules as a king. The prayer topic for God’s kingdom to come here on earth then is the request for us to secure an environment in which God is the king. 

By definition, a king is a ruler. He has the final say. And order comes from him. So the prayer topic we’ve got here is to ensure that God rules my life, your life, and every one’s life, for depending upon who rules, the life of an individual, a family, a society, a nation, and certainly the whole world, becomes an entirely different place to live. Suppose hypothetically an alcoholic father or a mother or both are rulers of a family. What will the environment of that family become like? Well, in the first place, that place will sooner or later be full of empty bottles or cans like bottles of Night Train or cans of Olde English.  And the whole house will eventually go stinky. The same thing goes with a cigarette smoker ruling or running a household.  

But God is neither a drunkard nor a nicotine addict. Who then is he? Genesis 1,2 answers the question: He is the maker of a perfect environment. And Jesus wants us to pray that his kingdom would come. The reason for this prayer request is because his kingdom is not going to come in a place where he is not wanted. He is not going to be the king for a man who does not want him to be the king. But in prayer we curb our pride, humble ourselves, admit that he can run our life better than we can, and then with the desire, decision, and the determination to take orders from Him, we have ourselves ready to go by His principle, His precepts, His Spirit. And with this attitude and desire, we pray saying, “Your kingdom come.”  

Let us now talk about something practical such as paying the bills. Look at verse 3. “Give us each day our daily bread.” Tons of books have been written, and millions of sermons have been served on this prayer topic. So, I have nothing to add to what most of us already know on this subject, except to say that this prayer topic is linked with the prayer topics we already covered: the prayer topic for God’s name, and the prayer topic for God’s kingdom. 

Essentially God is the God of love. In love he seeks the common good – the good of others and then the good of each of us, the good that is good to all. In God there is no room for each person to live as a self-seeking dictator who says, “I am the king. All of you must serve me!” 

In addition, God is the God of the living. And he is the God of now. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in God we can live the time called “now” fully, making the most use of every flying minute. For this reason Jesus asks us to pray, “Give us each day our ‘daily’ bread, not weekly, monthly, or yearly. 

Now let us step back a little bit, and put this prayer topic in perspective: first, let us make it sure that God is the king of our life. Then, let us remember that his name is love. Then, what do we do? We seek the daily bread for all peoples on earth, not just for me or for my kids alone. And daily bread refers to not only physical bread but spiritual bread as well. In fact, it refers first to spiritual food, and then physical food. This order is so important that God trained the Israelites to eat daily bread 24/7 for forty long years. 

By the way did all of you do the daily bread this morning? This morning’s daily bread is from Romans 7:6 which reads, “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” Here the ‘new’ way of the Spirit refers to the new kind of the Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit. And when we live by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can experience the Lord’s daily provision all the time. 

The life story of a man named George Muller (1805-1898) serves as the case in point. During his young adulthood, he lived a life which followed his sinful nature, rather than the desires of the Holy Spirit. Like a prodigal son, he lived according to his own sinful nature, lying, stealing, gambling, and frequently getting drunk. When he turned 16, he was caught by the police and spent nearly a month in prison.   He then became sick and tired of the life which is unprincipled. At the age of 20 he decided to turn himself to Christ. The fist thing he did was to devote himself to studying the Bible, not about the Bible but the Bible itself.  Through Bible study he learned that God is the God of principle. And the principle included the principle of “provision”. Then he began a breakfast club, which later developed into an orphanage. By the time he finished his life at the age of 94, he was able to run an orphanage which feeds 2,000 orphans daily. And the provision came in purely by prayer. “Give us each day our daily bread.” George Muller practiced this prayer topic every day. 

Look at verse 4a. “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” This prayer request is asking God to help us to be put in a healthy relationship with others. Of all the joys of life, the joy of having a joyful fellowship with fellow human beings is truly supreme. This is true especially because God made human beings as the crown of his creation. How then can we maintain a healthy, joyful, life-giving relationship with others? The only way is to have all of our sins forgiven, first among us, then in our relationship with God the Father.  Then even the most irksome looking brother will turn out to be lovely, lovelier, and the loveliest of all. He or she will turn out to be a cluster of total joy. 

Look at verse 4b, “…and lead us not into temptation." The prayer topics we covered so far embrace all factors that we need for total happiness. The remaining question then is how to maintain what we are going to be blessed with, for to ask for God’s blessing is one thing, to actually maintain it is another. In fact the latter is a lot harder than the former. But with God, nothing is too difficult. God can help us to not just receive blessing but also maintain God’s blessing, so that we would be blessed not just once or twice, or every once in a while, but all the time. How can this happen? The prayer topic we just read takes care of this need. “…and lead us not into temptation.”  Each time we pray this prayer topic, we then are reminded of the need to be thankful to God for who he is and for what he is doing. In this prayer we admit that in Jesus we already have all we need just as Jacob declared to his elder brother Esau, “I have all I need.” Genesis 33:11 

Part II. Ask, seek, and knock

In verses 1-4 Jesus taught the disciples what to pray for, and in verses 5-13 Jesus teaches them in what spirit they should pray. 

Let us read verses 5-7 altogether. In this passage the word “friend” is repeated four times. The synopsis here is that a friend is asking his friend to do good for a friend he has. So we have three friends: you, your friend, and God the Father who is your friend.  In this scheme, you are in need, your friend is in need, and you are asking God to help you to fill the need of your friend. 

The problem however is the grim reality. The man inside says, “The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed.” This is the point where boldness becomes necessary, for Jesus says, “I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.” 

How then can we overcome this grim looking reality? In other words, what does Jesus mean by the man’s ‘boldness’? Does Jesus mean that we become ‘rude’, or even ‘invasive’ like a bunch of gang bangers? No. Why not? Look at verses 9-13. Let us read this Bible passage responsively. This passage indicates that boldness comes not from human qualities such as zeal or a lot of ‘guts’ under the belt, but from the accurate knowledge of God, that is, knowing God’s total goodness. God is good. He is totally good. And he is good all the time. In his total goodness, he seeks all that is good for all of his children. And here is a little surprise: of all the good he desires to bestow upon us, the Holy Spirit represents the highest good. The good gift called the Holy Spirit is so good that as compared with it, all other goods are aw terrible as rubbish. Phi 3:8 

In conclusion, let us read verse 2 again. In this passage we learned what to pray for and how to pray for. May the Lord bless us to offer these prayer topics with absolute faith, trusting Him who is totally good! 

One word: Father! 







Luke 11:1-13

Key Verse 11:2

In this passage Jesus teaches us about prayer.

1. Verse 1 describes the occasion on which Jesus taught the disciples to pray. What can we learn from Jesus? What can we learn from the disciples?

** Jesus waited for the desire to learn about prayer to arise in the disciples. Jesus did this by himself setting an example of prayer. From this we learn that we must first set an example in offering prayers, for we can best teach others by setting an example. 

** The disciples had a learning mind. They watched Jesus closely and saw him praying. Then the desire to learn about prayer arose in them. They were very much like a loving child to a mother or a father, wanting to learn everything from parents.   

2. In verse 2 Jesus said, "When you pray, 'say'..." What does the word "say" indicate about the nature of prayer? Why is it important to “say” what we do in prayer?  

** It is basically a conversation with God like two persons talking, communicating with one another. 

** It is important because the word is the instrument to make our wishes and desires known to God the Father. Although God knows what we need, still he expects us to express what we need in words for God left it up to each person to decide what to ask, what not to ask in prayer.     

3. In verse 2b, Jesus asked the disciples to say, "Father". What does "Father" indicate about the kind of attitude we are to have in approaching Him in prayer?

** The word, ‘Father’ presupposes our position as children. So the attitude is that of a child coming to a daddy with deep conviction of the love and power of God the Father.


4. Think about the prayer topics about God the Father mentioned in verse 2. Why should we pray for God's name to be hallowed? Why should we pray for God's kingdom to come?

** First, we are to pray that God's name be hallowed in order for us to secure from the Father the power and strength to help us conduct ourselves in a manner that honors God's name.

Second, we pray for this prayer topic (hallowed be your name), for it is when his name is revered and held in high honor that all peoples on earth can rise to God's level. 

The name refers to God's essential character. "Hallowed" means "holy", "divine", or "sacred".  In other words, it refers to the uniqueness of God, for he is different from all creatures. Exodus 15:11; Psalm 35:10; 113:5 

In sum we need to pray for this prayer topic that all peoples on earth would overcome their lowly state and come to live a life which is compatible with the way God created each person i.e., with God's image. 

** God's kingdom is the same as the "rule of God". The kingdom of God is identical with the perfect paradise. So we need to pray for this prayer topic that we would recover what we lost, that is, the perfect Garden of Eden. 

5. Consider the three prayer topics listed for us in verses 3-4. Why do we need to pray in this way?     

** We need to pray for our daily bread because:

1) We are in need of both physical food and spiritual food (word of God); 2) We know that ultimately it is God who provides for what we need for life; 3) we need His provision 'each' and "every" day; 4) we are dependant on one another, so we are to pray not just for ourselves but also for our neighbor. 

** We need to pray for mutual sin forgiveness because: 

1) Jesus knows that everyone sins in one way or another, knowingly or unknowingly; 2) joyful life grows out of good relationships with God and with our neighbors; 3) Sin is what breaks our relationship with God and with our neighbors; 4) sin causes us to lose the joy of life and all other essential ingredients such as peace and comfort; and 5) sin is a collective problem, i.e., a problem with all others involved, that it must be addressed this way, that is, by each person asking God to forgive his sins, he too should go out and forgive others of the sins committed against him.

** We must pray that God would not lead us to temptation because through this prayer we are asking God to enable us to remain worthy of participating in His holiness. The truth is that all things come from God, good or bad. Read Ecc 7:14; Isa 46:10; 45:7; 1Co 8:6;10:13; Jud 9:23; Pro 17:3; 27:21.     

6. Read verses 5-8. What do you think Jesus is trying to teach us about prayer?

** We can say that Jesus is trying to teach us the spirit of prayer in the following ways:

1) the spirit of 'friendship', for a friend in need is the friend indeed, indicating that the motive of our prayer should be to fill the need of friend in need; and 

2) the spirit of "boldness", for boldness has to do with great courage, because it is so easy for us to be "discouraged" by all kinds of discouraging situations, such as our limits (in all kinds of resources) and shortcomings (such as character flaws, lack of faith and patience), whereas the needs are overwhelmingly great.  

7. Meditate on Jesus' words in verses 9-13. What does this passage teach us about prayer? 

** We need to pray: 1) "expecting" the results by first asking, then, seeking, and then knocking (9-10); and 2) with the deep conviction that the Lord God would give us what is truly best, that is, the Holy Spirit (11-13). The end