The Lord’s disciples were many in Bible times.
They followed Him as He faced ridicule and complaints. They listened to His teaching, watched Him heal family members and strangers. He fed 5,000 men and their families with five loaves and two fishes while they stood amazed. He gave His twelve apostles power and authority over the demons and to heal diseases then sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God.
Above all of that, His disciples watched Him pray. They saw Him as a Man of prayer. It was easy to notice His habit of going off by Himself to a quiet place to spend time with His Heavenly Father. They saw His commitment, His dedication, and the effects of Jesus’s prayers. With all they’d seen, through everything they experienced, what they questioned here – in Luke 11 – was not how to inspire a crowd or perform signs and wonders. They had a humbler request.
“Lord,” they said. “Teach us to pray…” (Luke 11:1)
The Lord’s Prayer
And Jesus gave them a pattern to follow. He taught them the Lord’s prayer – not named because it’s what He prayed but because it was what He taught. He provided a timeless treasure that we too can carry into any situation, any struggle, any celebration.
What We Learn – The Essentials
- Personal relationship with God – knowing Him as Father (Luke 11:2)
- Honoring God and His Kingdom (Luke 11:2)
- Seeking the Lord’s will (which, by the way, we cannot fully discern without knowing His Word) (Luke 11:2)
- Reliance on God for material and physical provision (Luke 11:3)
- Reliance on God for moral and spiritual perfection (Luke 11:4)
- Reliance on God for divine protection and direction[i] (Luke 11:4)
If we want to be like Jesus (and as His followers, that is our aim), we will develop similar habits and practices as His. Christ generously provided a model for prayer that is sure to keep us in the Lord’s will, help us commune with God, and lay our concerns at His feet.
His words were not flowery or filled with phrases from seminary instructors. They were simple, easy to follow, and concise. We can feel confident modeling the same approach to prayer.
The questions then arise; how often should we pray? Should we ask more than once? Through His life, Jesus modeled daily prayer. In continued instruction, He addressed persistence.
Persistence in Prayer
Jesus shared a parable of two neighbors in Luke 11:5-13. The first neighbor needed provisions to accommodate an unexpected guest. It was midnight and the second neighbor didn’t want to get up to help. Because the first neighbor’s persistence in asking, Jesus said, the second neighbor would “get up and give him as much as he needs” (HCSB).
These encouraging words of our Savior follow:
“So I say to you, keep asking and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10 HCSB).
Have you asked but stand without an answer? Keep asking. Are you searching God but wish to see more of Him? Keep searching. Have you knocked and asked that the Lord open doors? Keep knocking. The promise of Scripture is that persistence – and patience – pay off. Our Father in Heaven is generous, kind, and loves to lavish good gifts on His children.
The Lord provided the model of prayer with both His life and His teaching. When we follow His example, seek Him, His will and His timing, heavenly promises await. To God be all the glory.
May you find the blessing of prayer today.
[i] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 215). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.