God cares for us. There are times when this seems real to us, and there are other times when we wonder if God even exists. When things are difficult and don’t go our way, it is easy to blame God, and thus we don’t see God as loving and good. When we pray we demonstrate that we believe that God is good and cares for us.
I really think that is the underlying point of Jesus’ lesson on prayer as found in Luke 11:1-13. Jesus wants His disciples to understand that what we believe about God will affect how we pray. Let’s take a look at the text:
1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." 2 So he said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, may your name be honored;
may your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And do not lead us into temptation."
5 Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine has stopped here while on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.' 7 Then he will reply from inside, 'Do not bother me. The door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.' 8 I tell you, even though the man inside will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of the first man's sheer persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
9 "So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 What father among you, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, although you 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; NET).
Here we find Jesus at prayer. This is a common discipline that was observed in our Lord’s life. He was a man of prayer. It was in this context that one of Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. Rabbis would often give their disciples a model prayer which they could follow. It appears that John the Baptist had provided his disciples with such a prayer, and now some of Jesus’ disciples would like Him to teach them to pray in the same way. So Jesus honors the request and teaches the disciples how they should pray.
The interesting thing that we note in this teaching is how Jesus stresses that God is our Father. This wasn’t a totally new concept for the Jews of Jesus’ day, but it wasn’t one that they emphasized. For them God is too holy and sovereign to be addressed in such a manner. That is what makes this teaching so revolutionary: God is our Father! How would that affect our prayer life if we truly believed that truth?
- Point to Ponder: God is our Father.
- Passage to Remember: Luke 11:1-13
- Question to Consider: Do you believe God is your Heavenly Father?