Summary: Jesus' teaching on the Lord's Prayer in Luke 11:1-13 teaches us that impudent prayer is essential to a godly life.
Jesus taught his disciples many truths on his way from Galilee to Jerusalem. After teaching on the nature of mission and the importance of commitment, Jesus taught his disciples about various relationships. In three steps, Jesus worked from one fellow’s human inward to our most important relationship with God (Luke 10:25-11:13). First, in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus taught his disciples about loving one’s neighbor in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Second, in Luke 10:38-42, Jesus taught his disciples about the priority of the word of God. And third, in Luke 11:1-13, our text for today, Jesus taught his disciples about the practice of prayer in our relationship to God. Commentator Darrell Bock notes, “With this three-part sequence, Luke stresses the inherent interrelationship between how one reacts to people and how one relates to God.”
Let’s read about the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11:1-13:
1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And 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 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone
who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; 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 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who 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)
The great Welsh preacher, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, once said that prayer is “the highest activity of the human soul.” If this is true, then why do so few pray?
In a column called “Go Figure,” in Christianity Today magazine, Ted Olsen notes that the percentage of Americans who say that they pray daily is 59%. Worse than that, the time the average American spends per day in religious and spiritual activity, which includes more than prayer, is a paltry 9 minutes!
Now some may say, “I wish I spent 9 minutes a day in prayer! I am glad when I spend 9 minutes a week in prayer!”
Is it possible that our Christian lives are so anemic because our prayer lives are so paltry?
Jesus’ disciples perhaps struggled with the same question because they asked him to teach them how to pray. And so Jesus gave his disciples some important teaching on prayer.
The analysis of Jesus’ teaching on prayer in Luke 11:1-13 teaches us that impudent prayer is essential to a godly life.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Request for Teaching on Prayer (11:1)
2. The Exposition of Teaching on Prayer (11:2-13)
I. The Request for Teaching on Prayer (11:1)
First, let’s look at the request for teaching on prayer.
Luke said in verse 1 that Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
I would like to note a couple of points. First, Luke recorded Jesus praying on a number of occasions. Jesus prayed at his baptism (3:21-22). He often withdraw from the growing crowds in order to pray (5:16). He prayed before choosing the twelve apostles (6:12). Jesus spent time in prayer after feeding the five thousand (9:18). Jesus prayed on the Mount of Transfiguration (9:28-29). And Jesus prayed when the seventy-two returned from their short-term missions trip (10:21-22). Jesus’ disciples noticed that Jesus was committed to prayer.
Second, noticing his commitment to prayer, Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, just as John taught his disciples to pray. Disciples learned from their leaders. They learned how to follow the teaching given by their leaders. Apparently, John taught his disciples how to pray, among other things. And Jesus’ disciples also wanted to learn how to pray.