Life of Christ
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”” Luke 11:1 NIV
There are times the disciples asked Jesus to explain something, like a parable, but this is the only time it’s recorded that the disciples actually asked Jesus to teach them something. And its prayer.
Lord, teach us to pray.
It’s not that they hadn’t already been taught to pray. Since childhood, they had learned to pray. They had memorized prayers. They knew prayer as ritual. They wanted to learn prayer as relationship. If I could ask Jesus to teach me one thing, what would it be? I think the disciples got it right. Lord, teach us to pray. Prayer is so central to a vital, vibrant relationship with God. Prayer is conversation. Prayer is vulnerability, honesty. Prayer is dependency. Prayer is intimacy.
“…just as John taught his disciples.” What’s this about? Is this because some of Jesus’ disciples had first been disciples of John the Baptist, and those that hadn’t been disciples of John felt John’s disciples had some special advantage over them? How did John teach his disciples to pray? We don’t see John teaching this, but it must have been part of their conversation at some point. John has been executed by this point, so John is teaching no one to pray anymore. Any secrets to prayer he passed on are kept by his disciples.
Are Jesus’ words that follow a representation of John’s teaching on prayer? Much of it, Jesus had already taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6-7).
What are the disciples really asking here? Lord, teach us ______ to pray?
- Lord, teach us WHAT to pray?
- Lord, teach us HOW to pray?
- Lord, teach us WHY to pray?
Jesus gives them a crash course, covering all of the above.
WHAT to P.R.A.Y.
Praise – “Our Father, hallowed be Your name”
Request – “Give us each day our daily bread”
Admit – “Forgive us our sins”
Yield – “Your kingdom come, Your will be done”
HOW to Pray
Come to God as your Father repeatedly, expectantly, with “shameless audacity.”
“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” Luke 11:8 NIV
What a profound phrase. Shameless audacity.
- The ESV uses “impudence.”
- The NLT uses “shameless persistence.”
- The CSB uses “shameless boldness.”
- The KJV uses “importunity.”
I like all of these words. Shameless audacity. Impudence. Persistence. Boldness. Importunity. It speaks to bold faith. Audacious faith. How should we pray? With audacious faith.
Come. Come repeatedly.
Ask. Just keep asking. And seeking. And knocking.
““So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9 NIV
WHY to Pray
Because we have a good, good Father.
Because we have a Father who loves us.
Because we have a Father who wants to bless us.
““Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” Luke 11:11 NIV
And what is the greatest blessing the Father could ever bestow upon us?
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”” Luke 11:13 NIV
The greatest gift the Father can give us is… Himself. His presence. His Spirit with us. His power and provision by His indwelling Spirit. Of all the things a child of God could ask for, this is the most important. This is the most valuable.
Jesus’ words here are simple. Prayer isn’t complicated. Just come to the Father. Come repeatedly. Come expectantly. Come, and ask. Come, and talk. About whatever is on your heart. Whatever concerns you have. Whatever fears you have. Whatever frustrations you have. Whatever joys you have. Come and talk about all of it. The disciples asked, “Lord, teach us to pray.” I think Jesus had to say very little, because His Life said so much.
Jesus modeled prayer.
Jesus modeled its priority.
Jesus modeled its practice.
- “At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.” Luke 4:42a NIV
- “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
- “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12 NIV
- “Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”” Luke 9:18 NIV
- “About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.” Luke 9:28 NIV
- “The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.” Luke 9:37 NIV (“the next day” indicates this prayer experience lasted all night)
- “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them too little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” Luke 10:21 NIV
- “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.” Luke 11:1a NIV
It was fine to ask, “Lord, teach us to pray,” but in reality, they already knew. Jesus had taught them. He showed them. “You want to know how to pray? You’ve watched me. This is how you pray.”
So now, just do it. Just pray. Obey, and pray.
“He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”” Luke 11:28 NIV