Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and sit will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:1-13, ESV)
I believe I can easily say this is a passage of scripture that has most pastors running for the hills when we see it. You see the text says that is you ask for something God will give it, and if you seek something you will find it and if you knock it will be opened… Well we have all had those times we asked and we did not get what we asked for, and we sought, and are still seeking, and we knocked and the door seemed to shut even tighter…
But the point of the verses is Jesus teaching the disciples to pray, and it is a simple yet complex thing to have a conversation with the Father. But Jesus breaks it down for us, in a conversation and relationship builder.
Prayer is really simple, it is a conversation. Jesus addresses God as Father, or better yet, as Daddy. The word Abba is the very familial word for father and would be equivalent to our word daddy. Jesus tells us to call the Father Daddy! And then He tells us to ask Daddy to keep His name holy. We can not do that, only He can, and so we ask Him to work His holiness in and through all that we have and everywhere we go, that He would be holy in us and around us, that His kingdom would come and be made known here. And then He breaks it down to three easy to remember petitions:
- For provision
- For relationships
- For safety
Jesus tells the disciples to ask for their daily bread. Ask for the things they need in order to survive. Then He tells them to ask for forgiveness as they have forgiven. We need to keep the lines of communication open and seek to right our wrongs. We must constantly be in check of the relationships we are in and keep them moving forward. Then He tells them to to ask to not be lead into temptation. This is for our safety. We need to stay out of the place that will get us into trouble and we could all use assistance in this!
So it is easy. Simple. And the next part is Jesus did not say to pray these words but to pray in this way, so take His outline:
- Open the conversation: Daddy
- Ask for provision
- Ask for relationship help/advice/time
- Ask for safety
And when you do this, do it in your words, honestly what you are thinking and feeling in your heart.
And then comes the hard part and what I believe the text pastors like to stray away from deals with, Trust…
We have to trust that God will actually give us what we need. And be there for us as He has promised. In order for Jesus to show the disciples this is something they can believe in He tells them about a man who has late night visitors. He goes to a neighbor and asks for some bread. Now most of us today would see this as a huge inconvenience on the man who is asleep in his house with his children. Yet the word translated above as “impudence” is better translated shamelessness. Because of the man who did not have what he needed for his guest and goes shamelessly to his neighbor seeking help, the neighbor will get up and give it to him. Also because in the system of Jesus’ day, if the man did not rise and help the man who came knocking, the sleeping man would be the one who would be shamed for not helping his neighbor in need. And if this is how we humans do things, and help people around us, how much more can we trust in, believe in, have faith in Jesus and Daddy God to follow through on what He has promised. You see it is true that he will follow through on His promises. But He will not give us what we ask for, He will give us what we need. That is why answers to prayers can be, Yes, No and Not right now, Or my parental favorite: Maybe…
But is that all this lesson give us?
An easy outline for prayer. Jesus telling us to honestly tell our Father what we are feeling and holding dear in our hearts, and then to trust. Yes and no…
You see there is a connection between this text and the text of Luke 4:1-13. This is the text of the Temptation of Jesus, and the temptations are for Food, Power, and touching Heaven.
Satan tells Jesus to turn the stones into bread – He needs His daily provision. But Jesus says we have to live on the very word of God. You see, even though Jesus could turn the stones to bread, He needed to ask God to provide for Him, because God will give us what we need, not what we ourselves are seeking after or wanting.
Then Satan offers Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world. He offers Him relationships with subjects to follow Him. You see relationships treated in the wrong way leads to broken lives and hurt people. We need to hold the power in the right place and allow God to hold the place pf supreme power in our lives and all of our relationships, otherwise things could go astray.
Then Satan tells Jesus to go to the pinnacle of the temple and throw Himself down, because the Holy Angels will not allow Him to hurt Himself. You see in Jesus day, the pinnacle of the Temple was the place where Heaven and earth met. It was the highest place in the world, and Jesus could jump from here and not get hurt. And while this is true, we are not to go into places where we can be hurt.
So this simple prayer is a way for us to manage our temptations as well as maintain our relationship with God. So talk simply, honestly and trusting in what God has promised, for He will never let us down.