Summary: Some of Jesus’ teaching on Prayer
“Jesus on Prayer - Part 2” - Luke 11:5-13
Gladstone Baptist Church - 1/10/06 am
S1 The Problem of No Answers - OOPS
Elie Wiesel was a survivor of the dreaded Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz. He wrote of his experiences in the book “The Night”. In that book he relates the harrowing story of two Jewish men and a Jewish boy hanged alongside one another. Having mounted the stairs the two adults cried, "long live liberty", but the boy was silent. Behind Wiesel someone desperately asked "Where is God" Where is He?" The chairs the victims were standing on were kicked out from under them and the three hung there. The adults died quickly, but the boy’s weight wasn’t great enough to snap his neck immediately. For more than half an hour he hung there, dying in slow agony before their eyes. Again Wiesel heard the question "Where is God now?" And standing there Wiesel heard a voice within himself answer: "Where is he? Here he is. He is hanging here on this gallows."
When Wiesel said it was God hanging on the gallows he indicated the death of his faith. Faith in God died with that hanging child.
Why wasn’t God there doing something about that situation. Theirs was a cry for help, but God was silent. He didn’t answer their prayers for deliverance.
What does it feel like to pray and not get an answer?
S2 - What is God really like - When you don’t see answers, he seems like a distant and uninterested God - UGH
Unanswered prayer is a real problem for us isn’t it, because our theology says that God is a good God who wants to give us all good things. But the problem of God’s silence paints another picture of God.
When we cry out to God and hear nothing - What is the picture of God we have in our mind? When we ask God with conviction and in desperation, but receive no answer - what does this tell us about God?
Some of us begin to see him as a God who is still great and majestic but who is unapproachable. He is like the Queen of England - unapproachable. You can’t ring her for a casual chat or drop in for a cup of tea. She is protected. She is locked away in her palace. She is so far above us that we will never hope to have access to her throne room.
Is this the sort of God you picture? A transcendent God who is locked away in his heaven. Too busy with the important things of this universe to care about you. Distant, uninterested, distracted, uncaring.
That is what we imagine God to be like when our prayers aren’t answered. But is that really what God is like? Could there be another explanation?
Last week we had a look at the Lord’s prayer. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and Jesus gave the disciples a model prayer to guide them in their praying. He didn’t give them a magic formula or a creed to mindlessly repeat, but a model of prayer. We talked about the meanings behind the various phrases of the Lords prayer and found that it was really a prayer where we
Respond to God in the proper way as a father yet a God who is transcendant and holy
Recognise who God is - a holy God who deserves our honour, reverence and respect
Surrender our lives to God and
Commit to serve God however he asks in order to expand his kingdom.
Rely on God for our day to day needs
Ask for forgiveness and the power to forgive others
Seek to Stand firm in the face of evil and temptation.
A great model to direct our prayers, but once Jesus gave the disciples this model, he told them a parable.
If you have your bibles there, open them up to Luke 11
One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
“¡¥Father,hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
5 Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ¡¥Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’
7 “Then the one inside answers, ¡¥Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.