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Basic Bible: Praying to God

Luke 11:1-13

The text before us is the answer to a request by Jesus’ disciples. They asked that Jesus teach them to pray. Jesus answered by providing a model prayer and a story which illustrates the manner in which one should petition the One who is able to answer all petitions. Following the story, Jesus directs the disciples to ask their heavenly Father for good things. Jesus assures the disciples that they can be certain that the Father shall give beyond measure that which is truly good.

The model prayer begins, “Our Father which art in heaven . . .” This message is for the ears of them (us) whose lips issue these words. God the Father is a deeply personal God who knows the hearts of all who petition Him. He knows us as sons whom He has adopted. He has given us inheritance rights. In speaking these words, we acknowledge and proclaim the spiritual birth which He has given to us. “. . . which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Our words do not lift up God or hallow His name. We state that which is; with vocal utterance, we express heart knowledge.

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” This sentence is not a command; it is a request — a request that the Father’s will be done. If this request is made of the Father (the Father who personally loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son), it is more than a general request; it is a very personal request. It is a request that the Father’s will be manifested in all that we do. We are asking for His love to be seen in us. It is a request that only He can fulfill.

“Give us day by day our daily bread.” Again, this is a request and it is not a general request. It is an expression of the heart that the Father supply us with spiritual manna each and every day. In asking of this, we confess our dependence upon Him in all that we do.

“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” Jesus is not instructing the disciples to lie. Forgiving those who have wronged us is a precondition to calling upon the Father in prayer. We can boldly ask forgiveness of our transgressions because we have forgiven others.

“And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Jesus was led of the Spirit into the wilderness where He was tempted by Satan for 40 days. We are to pray to the Father that we should not be tested as Jesus was tested. In making this request, we are asking that it be the Father’s will that we need not experience the trials of the Son.

The story which Jesus related in verses 5-8 illustrates persistence. Had the one in need of bread asked once and departed, he would not have received. His request was granted because he believed that his persistence would be rewarded. His persistence demonstrated his belief. We are to ask the Father believing. We are not to tap lightly on the door and retreat into the night.

In verse 9, Jesus assures us that our requests will be satisfied. Everyone who asks shall receive and everyone who seeks shall find. To everyone who knocks upon the door of understanding, it shall be opened.

This does not mean that every request shall be satisfied in the manner that we may have envisioned. Jesus assures us that the answers which the Father supplies are those which are needful and good.

In the opening verse of Luke 11, the disciples asked Jesus to “teach us to pray.” The answer which Jesus supplied was given to Him by the Father (see Jn. 15:15). Jesus showed them what to say and how they should ask. Jesus relayed the Father’s answer to their request. In verse 13, Jesus reveals the good gift which the Father gives to all who ask. God the Father, God our Father, would have us ask and receive that which of Him. Our Father gives Himself to us.

Our Father shows us that which He would have us to do. We are to reach out to others as He has reached out to us. We are to show His love to others as He has showed His love to us. We are to reveal the most perfect give which He has given. He gives in abundance to them who ask such that we may reveal His abundance to all.

He would have all men walk in His light.

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