- Sermon Notes
Lord, Teach Us To Pray
February 28, 2021
1. Prayer is a simple concept.
2. It’s talking with God, right?
3. Yet, it’s a simple concept which can also generate a lot of questions, questions like. . .
a. What should I say to God?
b. Will God ever get tired of me asking?
c. How often should I ask? Is there a minimum or a maximum number of requests?
d. What should I do when it feels like God isn’t listening?
e. And, what if I don’t like God’s answer?
4. Truly the list could go on and on, but the question is, “Are there any answers to these questions?”
5. I find it encouraging that the answer is a resounding “Yes!”
6. Tonight, we will look to the words of our Savior for the answers in Luke 11, when a disciple asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray. . .” (1)
7. For in Luke 11, we will learn what to say, how often to ask, and what to do when it feels like God isn’t listening.
8. Finally, we will learn why we can trust God even when our prayers are not answered the way we had hoped.
1. When we come to Luke 11, there has been a major shift in Jesus’ ministry; He was transitioning His ministry from Galilee to Jerusalem in preparation for His crucifixion and resurrection.
Luke 9:51, When the days were approaching for His
ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem. . .
2. It’s also important to notice the progression in chapters ten and eleven of Luke’s Gospel.
3. In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus taught about the kind of relationship we should have with our neighbors with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
4. Then in Luke 10:38-42, Jesus taught about the kind of relationship we should have with Him through His gentle interactions with two sisters, Martha and Mary.
5. Now in Luke 11:1-13, Jesus is going to teach us about the kind of relationship we should have with our heavenly Father through prayer.
Transition – Please notice this important principle concerning prayer. . .
I. Our Heavenly Father Wants Us to Pray to Him
• I must confess that I’m struck when I read this passage because our heavenly Father is speaking through His Son, Jesus, to us about prayer.
• It’s like God is saying to us, “I’ve been listening to people pray for many years and I have a few things I would like to share with you about prayer.”
• It’s also important to see our Father’s heart for us.
• Our heavenly Father wants us to pray to Him.
• And please notice that Jesus assumed His people would pray for He said, “When you pray. . .” (2)
• Jesus assumed that His disciples would understand the importance of spending time with our heavenly Father in prayer.
• Here, Jesus offered deep insights into the kind of relationship that our Father desires to have with those who seek Him in prayer.
• These thirteen verses can be divided into three main sections:
o Jesus’ model for prayer (2-4)
o Jesus’ parable about prayer (5-8)
o Jesus’ promise when we pray (9-13)
• In verses 2-4, Jesus’ model for prayer is an example or a pattern for us to follow.
• It was not intended to be repeated from memory without engaging one’s heart and mind.
• Jesus’ model for our prayer includes five requests.
o Two requests are directed towards God, acknowledging His uniqueness and eternal plan.
o Three requests are directed towards our needs for God’s provision, forgiveness, and protection.
Transition – First, when you pray. . .
A. Begin your prayers by honoring the Father
1. Jesus began with an invitation, really an upward call of sorts, to have an intimate relationship with Father God because He truly is our heavenly Father.
APPL – Our prayers are directed to Father God.
ILLUS – “Speak up, Bill! Speak up!”
2. The word “Father” is similar to our English word “Daddy.”
3. By using the word “Daddy,” Jesus was revealing that His disciples have a close, familial relationship with God the Father through Him.
a. Through Jesus, Father God is not a stranger.
b. Through Jesus, our heavenly Father is our “Daddy.”
Romans 8:14-16, For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God
4. How then should we begin our prayers to our heavenly Father?
a. Or how should we approach the One who created us and sustains us?
b. By giving honor where honor is due.
5. “Hallowed” means “to set apart or sanctify.” Here it means “to treat as holy.”
6. And God’s “name” refers to the sum of His attributes; meaning all that is God.
APPL – So our first request is that God be honored and revered by all, beginning with us.
• This prayer request lifts our eyes towards God so that we may pray and live our lives in such a way that we reflect His character to a world that desperately needs to know Him.
• In essence, we are asking that God’s name be honored as holy through the thoughts we think, the words we say, and the things we do.
• We are also asking that the words we say and the deeds we do not give cause for non-Christians to blaspheme and mock God.
• Rather, may our words and deeds be a catalyst for people to consider Jesus.
Colossians 3:17, Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
7. The second request is for the coming of God’s kingdom.
8. This prayer represents the hope for the full revelation of God’s promised rule; when all that is wrong is made right and will be right forevermore.
9. When a Christian makes this their prayer, they are identifying with the fulfillment of Jesus’ kingdom message, the coming of the Messianic Age.
a. You see, Jesus Christ is coming back to establish His kingdom on earth.
b. As Christians, we must live expectant lives, looking for and praying for the return of our Lord.
Titus 2:11-14, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
APPL – Far too many people spend too much of their lives fixated on themselves and their problems.
• When we do this questions will inevitably arise.
• We may wonder if God cares.
• We may wonder if God can do anything about the mess our world is in.
• But when we begin our prayers by saying, “Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come,” our hearts and thoughts are turned towards heaven.
• This is so important because we need a heavenly perspective before we engage with the problems of this life.
• Before we look towards the things of earth, we must set our minds on things above.
• This is why Jesus said. . .
Matthew 6:33, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
• And why Paul also said. . .
Colossians 3:1-4, Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Transition – After praying for your heavenly Father to be honored and for His kingdom to come, then. . .
B. Bring your needs to the Father in prayer
1. The third request is a prayer for God’s provision, “Give us each day our daily bread.” (3)
2. Today, many live month to month, paycheck to paycheck.
3. In Jesus’ day, people did as well, but it was day to day, not month to month.
4. Jesus invites us to ask to our heavenly Father each day for His provision, trusting that He will provide what we need.
Philippians 4:19, And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
5. The fourth request is a prayer for God’s forgiveness, “And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.” (4)
6. When a person receives Jesus Christ as their Savior, their sin is forgiven, meaning they stand justified before God.
Romans 5:1, Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
7. In Luke 11, Jesus is not talking about being justified before God through faith in Jesus Christ.
8. Rather Jesus is teaching about the forgiveness that is necessary for maintaining fellowship with the Father.
1 John 1:8-9, If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
APPL – God wants us to forgive others who sin against us.
• Some might say, “I can’t forgive because they don’t deserve it.”
• To which one might respond, “Did we deserve God’s forgiveness?”
• If we refuse to forgive others a root of bitterness will sprout up and infect every area of our lives.
ILLUS – Clara Barton and forgiveness
• Jesus is saying that a root of bitterness will even prevent us from enjoying our relationship with God, it will hinder us and our prayers.
Ephesians 4:32, And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
9. The fifth request is a prayer for God’s protection, “And lead us not into temptation.” (4)
10. God is eternal which means He is outside time so that past, present, and future are an ever-present now to Him.
11. God is also all-knowing which means He knows us through and through, our strengths and even our weaknesses.
12. So Jesus is teaching us how to pray a proactive prayer for daily protection against temptation.
13. God is not tempted by evil nor does He tempt anyone according to James 1:13.
14. Rather God is the One who can guide us away from temptation and help us if we are tempted.
1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
Transition – What does all of this mean?
• God the Father knows what we need before we ask Him; but we need to ask Him.
• Does God need our worship? No, but we need to worship Him.
• Does God need our prayers? No, but we need to pray to Him.
II. Our Father Wants Us to Ask, Seek, and Knock
• To further reveal the Father’s heart to us, that He wants us to ask, seek, and knock, Jesus gave a parable about a persistent friend who asked his grumpy neighbor for three loaves of bread in the middle of the night. (5-8)
• While it is true that an important part of this parable is the idea of being persistent in prayer, it is also true that the reason why we should persist in prayer is because. . .
A. Our Father is not a grumpy neighbor
1. In Jesus’ day, hospitality was a high priority.
2. If a traveler came to your door, you were obligated to host them and care for their needs, day or night, even at midnight.
3. In fact, failure to do so would ruin your reputation and the reputation of your town.
4. What was the point of Jesus’ parable?
5. Jesus is saying that if a grumpy neighbor is willing to get out of his bed in the middle of the night to give a friend bread, how much more does our heavenly Father want to answer the prayers of His children!
6. The point of the parable is our heavenly Father is eager and willing to answer our prayers.
APPL – This answers the question, “Will God ever get tired of me asking?” No!
• There isn’t a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the pearly gates.
• You will never receive an automated email reply from God saying, “I am out of the office until Monday.”
• You will never hear a voice message saying, “If this is an emergency call 911.”
7. God wants you to ask. In fact, there is a progressive intensity from asking to seeking to knocking in verses 9-10.
8. And each word, ask, seek, and knock, is a present tense command which can be interpreted to mean, “keep on asking,” “keep on seeking,” “keep on knocking.”
Appl – Which answers another question, “How often should I ask?”
• Answer: Until you receive an answer!
• Here’s the point: God is the One giving us the invitation and the command to ask.
• The Father is saying to us, “I want you to ask. I want you to seek. I want you to knock.”
• You see, when we ask, seek, and knock, God is inviting us into a relationship with Him.
• And when we ask, seek, and knock, God is directing us away from self-reliance to God-reliance, from independence to Father-dependence, from self-confidence to Christ-confidence.
Hebrews 4:16, Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
B. Our Father knows what’s best for us
1. Through this parable and through Jesus’ repeated command in verse 9, we are encouraged to pray in spite of no immediate answers.
2. Here Jesus addresses the common feeling that our prayers are useless because it feels like God isn’t listening, or doesn’t care, or is unable to do anything.
APPL – Jesus is telling us to keep praying because our heavenly Father will answer us.
• Keep praying because God’s timing is perfect.
• Our Father knows what’s best for us.
• It’s a promise that we can stand on.
3. In fact, Jesus makes it clear that our heavenly Father takes our prayers seriously.
4. In verses 11-12, Jesus uses humor to illustrate His point.
5. Jesus asks, “Will a father give his son a snake when his son asks for a fish?” No!
6. Or “Will a father give his son a scorpion when his son asks for an egg?” No!
APPL – Our Father takes our prayers seriously.
• God does not play dirty tricks on His children.
• God only gives good gifts to His children which means when God says “Yes” it is for our good.
• And when God says “No” it’s also for our good.
• Therefore, we must rejoice as much in a “No” as in a “Yes” because either way our Father is blessing us, He is doing good by us.
• Which answers the question, “What if I don’t like God’s answer?”
• Answer: Trust God’s heart for you.
• Our heavenly Father knows what’s best!
James 1:17, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
APPL – So prayer is not an incantation, or a magic potion, or a mystic formula.
• God is not a genie in a bottle waiting to grant your three wishes.
• God is not grumpy nor is He bothered by your frequent prayers.
• God never plays dirty tricks on His children nor does He ignore their cries for help.
• God is a good Father.
• He gives good gifts to His children.
• He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and give us the gift of eternal life.
• He gave us the Holy Spirit to transform our lives and empower us to live lives that glorify God and point people to Jesus.
• You see, prayer is about faith, fellowship, dependency, divine provision, vision, protection, cleansing, and healing.
• God wants us to be expectant in prayer and trust Him with His answers when He answers.
• Will you seek Him? As God invited David, He is inviting us. . .
Psalm 27:8, When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
1 It happened that while [a]Jesus was praying in a certain place, when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘[b]Father, [c]hallowed be Your name.
[d]Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our [e]daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation.’”
5 And He said to them, “[f]Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 because a friend of mine has come to me from a journey and I have nothing to serve him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children [g]and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even if he will not get up and give him anything just because he is his friend, yet because of his [h]shamelessness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, [i]ask, and it will be given to you; [j]seek, and you will find; [k]knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now [l]which one of you fathers will his son ask for a [m]fish, and instead of a fish, he will give him a snake? 12 Or he will even ask for an egg, and his father will give him a scorpion? 13 So if you, despite being [n]evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [o]your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”