Jesus had friends on His road trips. This group of guys were looking for something real. They were making an effort to learn. One day they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. He responded with a short prayer and a story. In Luke 11:1-13, we read those famous words and the quirky story.
“Our Father who art…” maybe you’ve heard this before.
Here’s a simple version: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.”
It’s a simple pattern for prayer that you can use every day.
It also teaches us a few simple things:
- God provides us access.
- Jesus taught us about the how.
- Spiritual growth is described as a process.
Here’s a couple of thoughts on the pattern we see in the prayer:
- Praise – prayer that lifts up God and describes Him
- Intercession – prayer that asks for Kingdom of God in our world
- Submission – prayer that puts His will above ours every day
- Daily request – prayer that recognizes Him as our daily source, making request
- Repentance – prayer that confesses sin, asking for grace and mercy
- Forgiveness – prayer that asks for help in forgiving others
- Protection – prayer that asks for help in avoiding temptation
- Deliverance – prayer that asks for protection from evil
- Priorities – prayer that reminds us it’s all His
Luke 11:1-13 Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer, then tells story of friend who knocks at the door late at night, asking a neighbor for a bread to feed a visitor. You can almost see this happening in Baltimore row houses. The front door is locked, but with no AC the upstairs windows are open. The neighbor tells him to go away, “everyone is in bed”! Yet he persists and the neighbor gets out of bed to bring him bread, “not out of friendship but because he persisted”. Jesus summarizes the story with, “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.”
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 gives us great advice to be talking to God as much as possible.
Here’s a few questions to ask yourself about your prayer:
Do you make a relationship connection when you pray?
Do you really talk?
Do you really listen?
In closing, here’s few quotes from one of the foremost authors on prayer E.M. Bounds:
- Private place and plenty of time are the life of prayer.
- Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet.
- Prayer is the greatest of all forces, because it honors God and brings him into active aid.
- Too often we get faint-hearted and quit praying at the point where we ought to begin.
- We can do nothing without prayer.