Luke 11: 1 – 4
Teaching about Prayer
“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.”
2 Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:
“Father, may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
3 Give us each day the food we need,
4 and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.”
Jesus prayed often, and that really speaks to me. How often do I spend time with God in prayer? Just how close is my relationship with God?
Jesus was God Incarnate; his mind and God the Father’s mind were alike. Yet there would be a human component as well. Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26: 39) So there were times when Jesus would have preferred, as a human being, not to follow God’s plan but he knew God’s plan and did follow it. Their minds were in harmony, yet Jesus prayed.
In a small way, I know the mind of God too. From reading the Bible for many years, I have an idea of what God wants and cherishes. I suspect many of you do too. But we don’t know what God wants in the details of our everyday lives – where we should go, what we should do, etc. If Jesus prayed frequently, then how much more should I?
Jesus begins his prayer instructions with “Father, may your name be kept holy.” Chuck Swindoll in his commentary Living Insights: Luke writes:
“The model prayer doesn’t begin by calling God “Friend”, as though we are His equals. It doesn’t call God “Master” as though we are His slaves. Jesus didn’t call Him “King” as though we are merely His subjects. The model prayer doesn’t open with “Teacher” as though we simply come to Him for knowledge. Although God is indeed Friend, Master, King and Teacher, Jesus instructed us to address God as He does: pater in Greek, abba in Aramaic (Mark 14: 36; Romans 8: 15; Galatians 4: 6) “Father” in English. The title is intimate, familial, and honorific. It recognizes authority, but in the context of a trusting relationship, protection, guidance, and affirmation.” (pg. 315, 316)
Addressing God as Father is so special. There are several verses in the Bible that confirm that relationship we have with God.
Psalm 103: 13 “The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.”
2 Corinthians 1: 3 “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.”
2 Corinthians 6: 18 “And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”
Galatians 4: 6 “And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call our, “Abba Father”
1 John 3: 1 “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!”
Romans: 14 – 17 (my favourite one) “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.”
But our relationship with God is not exactly like the parent-child relationship on earth. As humans, we tend to treat our parents more like equals as we grow older. We think, as adults, we are in charge of our own lives, and our parents have no right to interfere with what we do.
“Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon.” God is our loving, caring father. We can be confident in that. We can talk with him at any time. We can complain to him, question him – it’s a completely open relationship. But, we must remember God is holy, supreme. It is his will that we want in our personal lives, and in this world. In our day-to-day lives, people around us should see our respect and awe of God.
Swindoll says in his commentary: “This is an affirmation of the Lord’s redemption and reformation of the world under His authority. It’s an exclamation of respect and support, not unlike “Long live the king!” It serves to place the prayer in the proper attitude. Again, one’s mental-emotional posture is bowed in submission., accepting God’s plan and purposes, reminding the one who prays of a program greater than any human agenda. While the Lord cares about our concerns, we will find greater comfort and fulfillment by adopting His.” (page 316)
As we begin our prayer time with God, we need to start with adoration and praise. We express our love for him, and acknowledge his supremacy. We ask that his will be done in our lives and on this earth.
Our song for today is The Lord’s Prayer sung by Andrea Bocelli