Sermon: Lord, Teach Us to Pray (Luke 11:1-4)

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Lord, Teach Us to Pray


Jesus was a man of prayer.  Luke shows us all through his gospel that time and time again Jesus could be found praying.  He was always in the mode of prayer.

Lk 6:12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

The disciples watched Jesus.  They knew that if he could not be found, He was probably hiding away in prayer.  They also saw the power of Jesus’ prayers.  They knew that many amazing things took place after Jesus had prayed.  The feeding of the five thousand is one example.

Lk 9:16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.

The connection to last week’s message with Mary and Martha is that there, Luke showed the importance of listening to God, here we learn the importance of speaking to God.

We must be careful to really listen and we must be careful when we speak.  Regardless what many moderns say, God is not our homeboy.  It is true we can approach the throne of grace with boldness because of the work of Christ but we had also better approach God with fear and reverence.

The disciples wanted to be closer to God and in Jesus they saw this.  When they watched His life, they saw a life totally dedicated to and in communion with God.

I pray that you also like this unnamed disciple desire a closer communion with God.  Since Luke leaves this disciple unnamed, let’s plug ours into the sentence.  Let’s ask Jesus the same question…Lord, teach us to pray.

This is not the same prayer found in Matthew.  There, Jesus is preaching the Sermon on the Mount and instructs on prayer.  Here, Jesus is approached by a disciple and asked about prayer.

A disciple is dependent on God for instruction in godliness through the Word.  A disciple is also dependent on God for not only proper instruction but also everything else as well.  Notice how this short prayer models a disciple’s dependence on God for all things.

This is God’s Word…

Lk 11:1 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.”

Lk 11:2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.

Lk 11:3 Give us each day our daily bread,

Lk 11:4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

Jesus, teach us to pray in the right manner and for the right things…

1. God Our Father (11:2a)

When you pray, say: “Father

Throughout the Gospel of Luke we have recorded for us the fact that Jesus refers to God as His Father.  Just a few weeks ago we read from Luke 10:21-22…Jesus calls God Father five times while referring to Himself as His Son.  We’ve gotten used to this concept when it comes to the relationship between Jesus and the Father.  Here, our Lord shows us that we too can call God Father.

Because of the work of Christ for us and His atoning death we, as God’s people have been reconciled to Him and not only are two former enemies at peace, but the cross of Christ has taken two enemies a united them in a family relationship.  We who are in Christ can rightly call God our Father as well.

The word used for Father is one that shows a bloodline relationship.  I don’t think it’s by mistake that Jesus is telling us as God’s children we have a blood relationship.  The shed blood of Jesus Christ for His people is what connects us to the Father.  The cross has not only appeased God’s Wrath but has connected us to God in a Father/child relationship.

We can read the genealogy in Luke, and discover that Christ’s bloodline goes all the way back to God the Father.  Our names are also written down in a book.  Our names are written in heaven, as God’s people.  Jesus told us not long ago don’t rejoice that demons are subject to you but rejoice that our names are written down in heaven.  Throughout Luke’s Gospel we see, God is the Father who cares for His children and acts redemptively on their behalf—Joel Green (Gospel of Luke, 438)

Because our names are recorded in the bloodline of Christ, we too can call God, our Father.

When you pray, say, our Father…

A. Our Father’s Name (11:2b)

hallowed be your name.

Why must a child of God pray that the name of God be holy and honored?  Because through the sin of mankind God’s name has been profaned.  God’s own people have profaned His wondrous name.

We are commanded to honor the name of God and so the opening line of the model prayer has the disciple praying in accordance with God’s commands.

Dt 5:11 “‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

When the Bible speaks of God’s name it refers to God’s character.  The reality is this: We as God’s children have not shown who God is to the world.  Because of our sin, the world sees a lesser God.  We, His people, have profaned his honor and name.

Have you ever thought that the main problem with sin is that it profanes God’s name?  It smears His reputation.  As we sin the world thinks less of God.

God’s name will be vindicated…

Ez 36:23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

Ez 36:24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.

Ez 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

Ez 36:26 And I will give you a new heart, and [i]a new spirit I will put within you. [i]And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ez 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

In the New Covenant, as the blood of Christ is applied to sinners, and the Holy Spirit is placed within God’s people, His great name begins to be vindicated.  Our prayer is that the name of God would once again be honored in our world.

When you pray, say hallowed be Your name.

B. Our Father’s Kingdom (11:2c)

Your kingdom come.

Like the first petition…hallowed be your name, we must first understand that the Kingdom of God is something Jesus tells us to pray for realizing this is something only God can do.  We find ourselves again praying for something that is going to happen.  God’s desire is that we partner with Him in bringing His Kingdom to come to pass.

We pray because currently, God’s Kingdom is not here in its fullness yet.  There is another kingdom at work…the kingdom of darkness.

So far we are told to pray for eschatological things.  In other words, we are told to pray for the end times.  God’s name will be hallowed in the coming age and His kingdom will dominate in the coming age.

With Christ came the beginning of this new order.  Every person converted is reorienting humanity to this new order.  Someday we will all experience it firsthand.  Jesus says, pray that God’s kingdom will come in all its glory.

When you pray, say, your kingdom come…

The first part of the model prayer has to do with our relationship to God, we can now call Him Father.  The first part has to do with us partnering with God in restoring His good name and Him bringing about a new order and rule.

Jesus wants His disciples to have a God centered worldview with His second coming clearly in focus.  Also, having established that His people are to be in unity with God’s eternal purposes, we move on to show our trust and dependence on our heavenly Father for His provisions.

2. Our Father’s Provisions (11:3-4)

Lk 11:3 Give us each day our daily bread,

Lk 11:4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

A disciple is to depend on God for his or her provisions.  The thrust is still the same, God will usher in His kingdom and His name will be hallowed and we are to partner with Him in those.  We are also to depend on God to meet our needs and partner with Him in doing so.

A. Our Father Feeds Us (11:3)

Lk 11:3 Give us each day our daily bread,

Literally, we are to pray for tomorrow’s food.  We thank God for the food today and pray for the food we’ll need tomorrow.  This is a prayer for God to meet our everyday, physical needs.  The word translated as bread is best understood as food.  We pray and thank God every day.

As we pray for tomorrow’s needs, we are sending the message to our Lord that we trust Him with our future.  We are freed from anxiety and worry as we pray and thank God for our needs.

Lk 11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Lk 11:11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;

Lk 11:12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

As disciples, we learn that our heavenly Father can be trusted and we partner with Him.  He promises our needs will be met and then like Ruth who went out to glean in the field of Boaz, provides the means in which our needs are met.

When you pray, say, Give us each day our daily bread,

            B. Our Father Forgives Us (11:4a)

Lk 11:4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

Here, in verse 4, Jesus shows us some of what is involved in forgiveness.  Jesus views sin committed as a debt that the guilty incurs based on the fact that sin is never committed in a vacuumed.  Some sins incur a debt owed to the one sinned against.  All sin incurs a debt with God.

This debt is what Jesus paid as He suffered and died on the cross.  Every time we sin, we go deeper and deeper in debt to God.  No amount of good deeds make up for the debt we owe God because good deeds is not the currency God accepts in payment.  Good deeds are something we have invented to make ourselves feel as if God accepts us.  The only currency God accepts to pay our sin debt is the blood of Christ.

We must continually pray and ask God to forgive us.  We must also again partner with God in working toward holiness so that there is less and less sin to forgive.

In this prayer, we are praying and receiving forgiveness from God and we are also extending forgiveness as we release others from the debt they owe us do to their sin.

I love what Joel Green says concerning this verse…Jesus spins human behavior from the cloth of divine behavior: the embodiment of forgiveness in the practices of Jesus’ followers is a manifestation and imitation of God’s own character—Green

C. Our Father Frees Us (11:4b)

And lead us not into temptation.”

The final part of the model prayer may be, on the surface, a little difficult to understand.

First, we now that God never tempts anyone to sin.  In fact, the opposite is true.  He works righteousness in us through the Holy Spirit so we won’t sin.  Rather than upholding this type of interpretation, Jesus has in mind something far greater.

Often the word translated as temptation really has in mind testing.  One example is the account of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness.  This account is best understood as a testing.  Jesus was tested by the devil and proved to be indestructible by sin.  His sinless character passed with flying colors.  He was never tempted to sin because Satan’s words and promises were futile to One who already possessed everything Satan had to offer.

This request Jesus asks us to pray is very important and often overlooked.  We are people of dust and often our faith teeters.  We are weak and very much dependent on God.  According to Jesus’ words, we can ask God to excuse us from difficult testing of our faith.  Based on the fact that Jesus passed the test for us, we can be excused from further testing.  In this request, we acknowledge to God our weakness and seek His divine care and protection from testing.

Jesus has set us free from testing whether from the devil or even from God Himself.

This is much like Jesus’ own request…

Jn 17:15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

When we pray say, lead us not into temptation…

To sum up this short model prayer, we are to pray and work toward God’s decreed end…His name will be holy, His kingdom will come.  In the process, we pray that He meets our physical and spiritual needs.  We never forget that because of the work of Christ God is more than the Creator and author of life, He’s our Father.

I love how John finishes the Book of Revelation, basically praying for what Jesus taught him to pray in this the model prayer…

Rv 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!  

We can cry out with John, come Lord Jesus make your name holy!  Come Lord Jesus set up your kingdom!


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