Luke and The Lost
What are we thinking when we pray? I think this is the greatest question to ask ourselves before we even begin to approach the throne of God with Jesus as our advocate. Is it quick prayer for survival in a dangerous situation? Are the words spontaneous? Are the words honest and from a sincere heart? Do we think about why we are praying? Do we treat God like Santa Clause and give him a list of “love to haves”? Are we honestly seeking His will or His blessing for our plan? Are we seeking Him?
Jesus’ disciples watched John teach his followers to pray. They want in on the action. So, they ask Jesus to teach them to pray. “When you pray, say…” and he proceeds to give them a phrase at a time, full of significance for our daily lives. Jesus taught us this prayer so we would think about what we are asking.
Many churches say, what man has named, “The Lord’s Prayer” as a way to end worship or begin it. I don’t think Jesus had that in mind when He taught them to pray with these words. Look more deeply at the words. Every word guides us back to God, the Creator of all. Every phrase is asking God to help us deepen our relationship with Him. We are asking for His Holy Spirit to be revealed in us, to live in us continuously, to guide us daily, to provide us with the Bread of Life with each hunger pain for Him, and to keep us safe from our own selfishness and the devil’s schemes to destroy our faith.
Jesus says when we pray these words with a sincere heart, knowing what we are asking for, God will lovingly answer. “…the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him.”
The Message version or paraphrase of Jesus’ prayer helps us to go from the repetitive words we repeat from other translations to stop and think about what we are asking and seeking as we knock on God’s door!
Luke 11, The Message
Ask for What You Really Need
One day he was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
2-4 So he said, “When you pray, say,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”
5-6 Then he said, “Imagine what would happen if you went to a friend in the middle of the night and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. An old friend traveling through just showed up, and I don’t have a thing on hand.’
7 “The friend answers from his bed, ‘Don’t bother me. The door’s locked; my children are all down for the night; I can’t get up to give you anything.’
8 “But let me tell you, even if he won’t get up because he’s a friend, if you stand your ground, knocking and waking all the neighbors, he’ll finally get up and get you whatever you need.
9 “Here’s what I’m saying:
Ask and you’ll get;
Seek and you’ll find;
Knock and the door will open.
10-13 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing—you’re at least decent to your own children. And don’t you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?”
What do we learn? (More than I can write in one column today!)
–Jesus’ prayer is not a program, gimmick or promotion.
–We do not bargain with God. Ever.
–Ask for what we really need. His Holy Spirit to live in us.
–Seek God when we pray. Not our wants.
–Ask God to reveal who He is so we see, think and feel who He is and what He does.
–Because of Jesus sacrifice, we can ask, seek and knock on God’s door anytime, day or night. God never sleeps.
–God will lovingly give the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, convict to transform us, heal us, and live in believers to make us better.
–God intervenes at just the right time in the right way to set our world upright again.
–This prayer is all about God and our relationship with Him.
–Jesus’ work on the cross tore down the curtain between God and man. Ask, seek, knock in Jesus Name.
–Pray. Pray without ceasing. Pray for God to reveal Himself in us.
In Jesus Name, Amen