Monday, February 24, 2014

Jesus' Teaching on Prayer

Here are some thoughts from Luke 11:1-13 (adapted from a sermon I gave recently) which resulted in a longer-than-usual post.

v2-4 "The Lord's Prayer" might be better called "the disciples’ prayer." It was for them to pray to learn how to pray.  It was a “training wheels” prayer.  A friend of mine described it like this: When you teach a child to answer the phone, how do you do it? Do you give them a ringing phone and just say "answer it"?  No, you give them the specific words.  (If you don't they might say: "He's sitting on the toilet" instead of "He can’t come to the phone right now" ... Maybe that just happens in my house.)
But just like you don’t want your child answering the phone to solely rely on your words the rest of his life, Jesus didn’t want his disciples or us to stay at only repeating back this exact prayer. This is a start, a guide, but not the whole of praying.
There are some key aspects of Jesus prayer we should repeat:
  • worship v2 
  • acknowledging/accepting/asking for God’s sovereignty 
  • asking for provision (notice the simplicity of the provision, how many times do my requests for provision get pretty complicated when maybe a simpler "provide what I need today" would be better)
  • forgiveness for you and asking God for help forgiving others 
  • protection from temptation 

How do do you do at including these things in your prayers to God? Which could you do more of?
v5-8  Is God like the neighbor or friend in this story?  Let emphatically say No.  What is Jesus teaching about in this entire passage?  Prayer.  This is a lesson for us to be persistent.  Just like we would be persistent with someone if we really needed help we should keep persisting in prayer to God.
Could we at any point say we might be “wearing God out” with our requests? (I know that we can’t wear God out… but are we even trying?)
What do you need to more persistently pray for?

v9-10 You'e probably heard this before.  But what about it... Are you asking? Are you seeking? Are you knocking? And what are you asking for? What are you seeking? What doors are you knocking on? As CS lewis says: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

v11-13  To Close, Can we have confidence and faith in God to give us what we need?  YES!  Ask and receive good gifts.  God takes the comparison of an earthly parent, acknowledges that we (his disciples and you and I) are EVIL (*Side note: how many teachers or preachers today would dare say that to their audience?), and let’s us know God will give us good things.
Remember that God’s good things for us might not be what we think our needs our. He’s a good enough father that he’ll refuse to give us what we ask for if he knows it’s not the best for us. And that’s where we need faith in God, the trust that he is working despite a seemingly unanswered prayer. He ultimately knows what we need and what is best for us.

No comments:

Post a Comment