In Luke 11, Jesus is teaching His disciples on how to pray. In this chapter, Jesus makes three illustrations on how to pray and what we can draw from it.
Our Father: Reverence and submission to God
The prayer in Luke 11:2-4 is a prayer most Christians are familiar with; so familiar, in fact, that it can be easy for us to take this prayer for granted. Because of over-familiarity, we may lose our sight and focus as to what is really essential in this prayer.
In the “Our Father” prayer, we must understand the essence of each line. Notice that Jesus started the prayer with “Out Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.” Hallowed here means sacred or holy. When something is sacred or holy, we give the utmost respect on it. When we then pray “hallowed be Your name” we are giving respect to God who has the power to provide, bless, forgive, guide and protect us as shown in verses 3 and 4.
Verse 2 continues by saying “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This means that while we can pray to God for many things, saying “Let your will be done” is an indication that we willingly submit to His authority. We understand that even if we have already presented our requests to God, heaven will not align according to our will but it is us who must align to heaven’s will.
Ask, Seek, Knock: Perseverance and boldness in praying
After the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus goes on to tell a parable about a bold man asking for bread from his friend in the middle of the night (Luke 11:5-9). Despite the friend turning him away, the man persisted. Now this is not to say that when we persist, we also insist. Insisting on God means asking Him to bend to our will. Rather, by persevering in prayer, we do not give up praying; either God will change our circumstances or He will change our hearts over the circumstance through prayer.
Another word for boldness as well is confidence. We can be confident that when we come before the Lord with an honest humble and contrite heart, He will hear us.
Notice the characters in this parable. They were friends. That confidence to ask, seek, and knock can only come from knowing who God is in your life and also having a relationship with Him.
The effect and true purpose of praying
After this first parable, Jesus moves onto another illustration in verses 11-13. He explains that a father, though he is just a human, is still able to give good gifts to His children; in the same way, God gives us His gift of the Holy Spirit who in turn gives us comfort, peace, power, love, hope, conviction, and so much more, as we pray.
Therefore, in praying to God through His Son Jesus Christ, our hearts are set and directed before Him in reverence, submission, perseverance and confidence.
As we continually and unceasingly pray, our hearts draw nearer to God and He draws nearer to us. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to me and I will draw near to You”. It only goes to show as well how God truly enjoys so much being in fellowship with us His children.
As an effect of coming to the Lord in prayer, we become more and more intimate with Him. That intimacy with Him gives us the opportunity to know His heart and character better. And by knowing His heart and character, our hearts eventually become after His own and our character becoming more and more Christ-like.
No wonder David was labelled as a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). David was always in constant communion with God and for the most part obedient to Him so that even though He faced many trials and temptations, he was able to overcome discouragement because He knew God from the heart. Furthermore, despite having personal stumbling blocks, he was able to live out his life that was pleasing to God because God had transformed him from the inside out.
The true purpose then of prayer is intimacy with the Lord. When we have that close intimate relationship with God, our words and actions, how we treat people will just be an overflow out of that intimate and loving relationship. Ultimately, we are being transformed from the inside out and our treatment of others from that intimate relationship are also transformed.
The 7 Keys to the Lord’s Prayer
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