Summary: Sermon #9 in the Preaching of Jesus series deals with Luke 11:1-13, 18:1-14 where Jesus taught about prayer.
Jesus teaching on Prayer
Luke 11:1-13; 18:1-14
CHCC: March 4, 2012
It’s Faith in Action Sunday … and the most important action we can take is to PRAY. Prayer brings the power of God into our actions. And prayer is the topic Jesus preached about in the scriptures we’re looking at today.
What you see on the screen is called the Ring Nebula which is part of the constellation Lyra. If you look through strong binoculars, it looks like a colorful smoke ring. What it actually IS, is an exploding star. Light from the explosion first reached the earth a thousand years ago … it was a supernova then, and the light was so bright that you could see it in the daytime.
Now it’s not so bright, but it is still exploding. In fact, it expands by 70 million miles a day. But you can’t see any movement from here on earth. In fact, if you compared this picture to a picture taken 15 years ago, they would look just alike. Huge, explosive, powerful action is taking place … but from our earthly perspective, we can’t see anything happening.
That’s a picture of prayer. Sometimes we pray and pray and … from our perspective … it seems like nothing is happening. If we could see from heaven’s viewpoint, we would see God is moving, working in hearts, transforming lives. From an eternal perspective, we would see what amazing, powerful, explosive effect our prayers really have. (Preaching of Jesus, by Weese, Moore)
In Luke chapter 11, one of Jesus disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In response, Jesus preached an incredible sermon on prayer, and he started by praying a model prayer:
He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’” Luke 11:2-4
The full text of what we call “The Lord’s Prayer” is found in Matthew chapter 6. These are famous words that Jesus probably used on multiple occasions. The first words are filled with meaning because they help us change from our EARTH-bound perspective to a HEAVENLY perspective.
The Jews were used to thinking of God as the mighty Yahweh, creator of the world and founder of their nation. To address God as “FATHER” was altogether new! To think of Yahweh as our loving parent was amazing … and incredibly reassuring. If God is our Father, then that changes everything. That means we have an intimate relationship. It means God welcomes our prayers and wants to give us good things --- just as a loving Dad enjoys giving gifts to his children.
This Valentine’s Day, our son-in-law P.J. bought our grandson, Caleb, a battery-operated 4-wheeler (off Craigslist, of course … they’ve been to Financial Peace university!) This wasn’t just any 4-wheeler, it looked like a dinosaur, and when you hit a lever, it roared and its eyes lit up. Caleb was thrilled … but it looked to me like his Dad was even more excited. In fact, even though it was raining, PJ got on his jacket and went out to watch Caleb try it out in the driveway. That’s the way Dad’s are … they LOVE to give good things to their children.
Jesus elaborated on this a few verses later in Luke 11:11-13. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Not everyone has a loving father on earth … but praise God … all of us have a loving Father in Heaven. We can trust that our Father in Heaven will give us every good gift.
The next phrase in this model prayer is Hallowed be your name. Praise comes before Petition. Before we ask God for anything, we need to acknowledge God for who He is. This helps us shift from an earthly to a heavenly PERSPECTIVE.
This eternal PERSPECTIVE increases our faith and it affects what we pray about. The glory and perfection of our Heavenly Father helps to purify our prayers. It makes us less inclined to make petty or selfish requests.
Jesus went on to preach 2 Parables and a Poem about the importance of PERSISTENCE when we pray.
2. Persistence (2 Parables and a Poem)
The first parable is in Luke 11:5-8. It’s a story about a man who knocked on his neighbor’s door at midnight and called out, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’