Teach Us to Pray

Seventh Sunday After Pentecost | July 28, 2019

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Hosea 1:2-10 • Psalm 85 • Colossians 2:6-19 • Luke 11:1-13

11 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.”

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.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Luke 11:1-13 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus disciples come to him and ask him to teach them how to pray, just as John has taught his disciple to pray. He then says the words that we know as either The Lord’s Prayer or The Our Father. Last fall, Pam and I did a series called Teach Us to P.R.A.Y. The letters in pray stand for:

  • Praise
  • Repent
  • Ask
  • Yield

As we look at the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, these four elements are included in Jesus’ model prayer. Prayer begins with praise. We praise God for who He is. This is the most important part of praise, but we also praise Him for what He has done in our lives.

When we praise God for who He is and what He has done, we remember that He is God and we are not. We realize that we are not worthy and many times we remember how we have not lived as we should, which leads to repentance and asking forgiveness from God.

Once our hearts are clean, we move on to the part of prayer that many think prayer is – the Ask. As we have already seen, prayer is so much more than simply asking God for a long laundry list. Asking is only one small part of prayer. After we ask, then we yield to God’s will and not yield to temptation.

Then Jesus does some additional teaching on prayer. He tells His disciples that we must be persistent in prayer – that we must always be asking. Keep on asking – Keep on seeking – Keep on knocking. As Paul tells us, we must pray without ceasing. This is one reason that our prayers are not answer – but not always. We must be persistent in prayer and keep asking – after all God’s own Son, Jesus, told us we should be persistent.

Why should we be persistent in prayer? Because God is desirous to give good gifts to His children – just as we earthly parents like to give good gifts to our children when they ask. If we ask, he will give us the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that we will know how to pray, but we MUST ask.

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