Sermon: Lord, Teach Us to Pray (Part 2) (Luke 11:5-13)

Luke 11.5-13 click for audio

Lord, Teach Us to Pray (part 2)

Last week, our Lord taught us the principles of prayer content.  Our prayers should consist of praying to our heavenly Father for His decreed endHis name being vindicated and His Kingdom consummating on earth.  Jesus went on to explain that we should also ask God; depending on Him for our every need from the bread we eat to the sins that need to be forgiven.  Jesus shows us we are to pray for the things that God promises to accomplish.  When we pray correctly, we pray for God to accomplish His will.

This week our Lord shows us what our approach should be to prayer.  In other words, Jesus shows us a proper prayer attitude.  Last week the key word was dependence this week it is persistence. 

After giving us the model prayer, Jesus tells a parable to illustrate how to pray.  Notice in this parable words like impudence, ask, seek, knock…all these are words of persistence.  We are to keep asking, seeking, and knocking until our godly requests are answered.

The big problem with our praying is that we are often praying very selfish trivial prayers.  Rather, we should be praying God ordained big prayers.

Let’s look together at how Jesus so masterfully teaches us to pray.

This is God’s Word…

Lk 11:5 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,

Lk 11:6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;

Lk 11:7 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’?

Lk 11:8 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.

Lk 11:9 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.

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?

Lk 11:13 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!”

Lord, grant us perseverance in prayer as we trust You as Father.

1. A Friend’s Persistent Request (11:5-8)

Lk 11:5 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,

Lk 11:6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;

Lk 11:7 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’?

Lk 11:8 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.

The scene is that a man has finished the last of his food for dinner and is settled down for the evening.  A friend of his shows up and the host has nothing to offer his friend.  I those days, there was no 24-hour supermarket so he had no place to go buy bread.  Even though he hates to go to his friend’s house he hates worse the fact that he cannot offer his other friend something to eat.  It’s now midnight and he decides to go to his friend’s house and get some bread to offer his guest.

In ancient Palestine it was very offensive not to be hospitable so this drove the man to wake up his friend at midnight to ask for food.

From behind the door, the reply comes…‘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’?

Also, in the ancient world, homes were one room construction and families often slept in the same bed.  For the father to rise and get bread for this friend at midnight would risk waking his family…but the man keeps knocking.

We should draw a connection from last week’s text where Jesus tells us to ask our heavenly Father for our daily bread and this man asking his friend for bread.

Mt 7:9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 

A loaf of bread was small about the size of your palm or about the size of a larger stone.  That’s why here Jesus makes that comparison.

Now Jesus tells us why the man in the house yields to the man who is asking for bread… Lk 11:8 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.

It wasn’t their friendship that caused the man to get up and get his friend bread; it was the man’s persistent knocking and pleading…impudence.  This word impudence is a very good translation of the Greek original.  It means an unrelenting inquiry or request.  The man in need of bread was not going home until he had bread in his hands.

The Greek word is anaidian, which means a little more than just being persistent.  It means to press and press for a response to the degree that that you are shamelessly presumptuous.  In other words you have lost all sense of being proper and your asking has overpowered all sense of honor and proper cultural concerns.  It’s like a starving person asking for a meal.

2. God, the Perfect Friend (11:9-10)

Lk 11:9 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.

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

As Jesus tells the parable, we probably all wondered at the relationship between the two men, were they really close friends or simply acquaintances.

Now Jesus explains to us that there is One who is a perfect friend to His people. 

Our attitude in prayer must be that of persistence.  We too must be impudent.  We must ask and keep asking.  We must seek and keep seeking.  We must knock and keep knocking.  God is not like the man asleep with his children.  For God there is no midnight.  With God there is no reluctance in answering.  He is the perfect friend.  God never answers with, Don’t bother me!

The point Jesus makes is that if a man will rise at midnight and give his friend three loaves, how much more will God give to those who ask Him?

The man will not have anything to give unless his friend is benevolent towards him.  We will have nothing unless we receive it from our Heavenly Father.

This parable is very much like the story Jesus tells us in Luke 18…

Lk 18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Lk 18:2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.

Lk 18:3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’

Lk 18:4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,

Lk 18:5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'”

Lk 18:6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.

Lk 18:7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?

Lk 18:8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Jesus says that even a pagan judge will be moved to vindicate a widow because of her persistent requests.  How much more will God the perfect judge answer us?

Do you really feel like that?  There’s nothing you can do unless God gives you what you need?  Do you feel like that?  You know this story is almost the flipside of the petition, “Give us Lord our daily bread,” right?  It’s almost saying, “Lord, we’re not going to have any daily bread unless You give it to us.  I’m not going to have any daily bread to give to somebody else unless You give it to me.”
So Jesus is saying, here’s the first thing I want you to know about prayer – in prayer, you need to beg.  You need to plead. You need to appeal because you are needier than you think and your circumstances are more dire than you have contemplated and you need what only God can supply.  So don’t approach prayer like the Father’s Day present conversation – “I really don’t need anything.”  Beg, plead, appeal, because you’re needy.—Duncan
3. A Son’s Persistent Request (11:11-12)
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?

Jesus shows us that if a sinful earthly father can give good gifts, namely food, to his children who ask, Our heavenly Father will most definitely grant our requests.

4. God, the Perfect Father (11:13)

Lk 11:13 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!”

Jesus now adds a little twist to the story.  So far we’ve been speaking of a friend coming at midnight asking for bread, a son asking for a fish and an egg.  Here, He tells us that if we pray persistently, like the earthly father giving good gifts, His heavenly Father will give the greatest gift of all, the Holy Spirit.

As far above as God is compared to the earthly father, so His gift far exceeds anything an earthly farther could give.

There is no greater gift God can give us as His children that the Holy Spirit.  He will come and take up residence in us and lead us into all truth.

Conclusion:

Jesus has told us what our praying should consist of…God hallowing His name, God’s Kingdom coming, God meeting our physical needs, God meeting our spiritual needs, and God lessening our trials so we can endure them.  Today, we learn that asking for these things persistently will result in God answering.  So, we are praying exactly in the will of God when we ask for these things to take place.

Jesus does not teach that we can ask God for any random thing and He will grant it but only the things that God has decreed will take place.

Do you desire the things you pray for enough to be persistent?

We should be praying for our own spiritual growth every day.  We should be praying for the salvation of our friends and family every day.  Never stop.  Ask and keep asking.  Seek and keep seeking.  Knock and keep knocking.

George Muller prayed for one of his friends for over sixty years.  Muller would write in one of his books, Never give up until the answer comes.  About his friend, he wrote, He’s not converted yet but he will be.  The man was, in fact, saved but it didn’t happen until after Muller’s death.

We must see from this passage that we are more needy than we have ever imagined.  God ‘s desire is that we appeal to Him as needy children.  We trust that He will answer our prayers and we pray persistently until His does.

Are you praying persistently or have you given up?  Trust God enough and want your requests enough to keep at it.

 

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