Our text tonight is Luke11, verses 1-4, where Jesus teaches His disciples to pray.
Do you have a favorite place to pray? A place like your bedroom, or the shower, at your office or workplace. Do you have a favorite time to pray? Before you go to sleep, when you first wake-up, or when you’re here at church? What circumstances lead you to pray? When a crisis hits you right between the eyes? When you or a loved one needs healing? When you have to make a tough decision?
The first verse of our text is a curious beginning. Luke writes, “Now it came to pass, as Jesus was praying in a certain place…” We don’t know the place, the time, or the circumstances of Jesus’ prayer. The request made by one of the disciples is most curious. “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” It was not unusual for a rabbi to write prayers for his students. So, loosely interpreted, the disciples were asking Jesus to teach them a prayer. And this request likely came after they had seen Jesus praying time and time again. One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is for us to pray, not just for them, but with them.
One of Jesus’ disciples said,“Lord, teach us to pray.” To that, Jesus responded, “When you pray say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’”
This prayer is just one of many ways we can pray, but it is a good way. We can pray this prayer anywhere, anytime, for any reason. No prayer is too large and complex, or too small and simple to speak in the hearing of God. And God will patiently hear them all: private prayers, family prayers and corporate prayer; prayers for our needs, prayers for our family’s needs, and prayers for the needs of others. There are prayers with very specific needs, and there are prayers that are more general in nature.
In verse 9 of our text, Jesus makes this promise to you: “I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened.”
In the Greek, the verbs ‘ask,’ ‘seek,’ and ‘knock’ have the sense of an ongoing, continual action, not just a one-time thing. We are to be in prayer constantly and continuously. But that takes faith, a faith that is constantly seeking the wisdom, guidance, and blessing of God. God will respond. Even if you have prayed the same prayer a hundred times, keep praying. Be a relentless prayer warrior!
Jesus suggests we begin by saying,”Our Father Who is in heaven.” He is our loving Heavenly Father Who understands our wants and our needs, our struggles and our fears. He alone knows what we need to have, and what we’d be better-off without. “Our Father Who is in heaven” is our true Father, and though sin once destroyed our relationship with Him, through Jesus’ suffering and death, our relationship with our Heavenly Father has been restored.
Because of Jesus, we can go to our Heavenly Father with our wants and needs, our doubts, and our fears. God has promised to hear our prayers, and He has promised to answer our prayers.
Among the first century Church leaders, it was said that the disciple James had ‘knees like a camel.’ The idea was that James spent so much time on his knees in prayer, that it affected the appearance of his knees. May we all be so blessed as to develop ‘camel knees’ before our time on this earth comes to an end! Amen!