Summary: Jesus tells a story of a man with two friends. One has a need. The other has the resources to meet that need. The story deals with the lessons learned abour persistent prayer.
A ship was caught in the midst of a raging storm. Water was breaking over the bow. The pumps were not able to pump enough water out to keep up with the water pouring in. One hundred men worked together with buckets in an attempt to save their ship.
Soon it became evident to the captain that they would need to abandon ship. He cried out above the howling wind, "Does anyone here know how to pray?"
One young man boldly stepped forward and said, "Yes sir. I have been a Christian for all of my life. In my church, I was well known for my passionate prayers. People would line the aisles for the privilege of me praying for them. And 99% of the time God granted my requests.”
The captain said, "Wonderful, you pray while the rest of us put on life jackets--we're one short."
Not many of us are like that young man. Most of the times I don’t think my prayers go beyond the ceiling. And often they seem to go unanswered. I must admit that sometimes it is difficult for me to be a man of prayer.
Jesus never had that problem. He was in constant communication with his Father. His disciples had the privilege of hearing his prayers to God. In fact, they were fascinated with the relationship He had with God. Their culture taught that such a personal relationship was not possible. Everything had to go through the priest to reach God. However, Jesus did not chant or sing but rather had actual conversations with God. And this prompted a request from one of them.
The Model Luke 11:1-4
“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’
Jesus said, ‘This is how you should pray:
‘Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.’”
We know this as the Lord’s Prayer. You probably recognize it from the King James Version. “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Many denominations repeat this prayer quite often and there is nothing wrong with that. But Jesus said, “This is how you should pray.” Not “This is what you should pray.” This was a model for prayer. Now, I could do an entire series on these passages but this is not where my teaching is taking us today. However, I do want to hit 7 points of effective prayer.
1) Relationship Insure your relationship with God is on solid ground.
2) Praise Spend a vast majority of your prayer praising his holiness and worthiness to be praised.
3) Surrender Give God permission to do in your life and with your life whatever He wishes.
4) Provision Allow your requests to be known but make a daily need so you will be prompted to pray each day.
5) Forgiveness Ask God to forgive you of your sins.
6) Compassion Ask God to give you compassion even for your enemies.
7) Protection Ask God to keep his hands upon you so that you will be kept safe from the schemes of the enemy.
This is usually the end of the teaching for prayer. However, his teaching continued beyond these passages. He knew there would times in life when this model prayer would not be enough. In other words, this would not be a magic chant that obligated God’s response. He knew there would be times when it would seem God did not hear. This also needed to be addressed. So He continued with his teaching on prayer with a parable that has three plots.
The first plot- The Request
Luke 11:5-6 “Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: ‘Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, “A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.””
In this parable, He places the listener as the central character. He presents a very real problem centered on hospitality, which was central to the Jewish culture. The Old Testament is filled with examples of hospitality being offered often at great expense. One extreme example was Lot. He lived in the very wicked city of Sodom. God sent angels to warn Lot of the upcoming destruction of Sodom. When a crowd of men stormed Lot’s doors so they could rape his guests, Lot offered them his daughters. He perceived his obligation toward his guests to be even greater than his responsibility for the welfare of his own daughters.