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41 Luke 11.1-13

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Luke 11:1-13

 

The Importance of Prayer

Ø     How many of you play the game “How Far”

Its rules are really simple­: you fill up your gas tank and then drive to see how far you can go before you have to fill up again. You watch the gauge nervously as it falls closer and closer to the big “E”…EMPTY.  The, when you absolutely need to, you stop and fill up.

We have all played this game at one time or another, usually when we are younger.  As we get older, we get wiser and see the folly of this game.

Well, many of us still play this game only with our spiritual gas tank.  We see how far we can go without “filling up” through prayer.

v    Jesus never played the “How Far” game when it came to prayer

Ø     He shows us in this first verse the importance of prayer

READ 11:1

§        In fact, Luke 5:16 tells us that

·        Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed

¨     And the first verse shows us that Jesus was again found praying

v    In fact, up to this point in Luke we continually find Jesus praying

Ø     He prayed at his Baptism (3:21)

Ø     He prayed before he chose the twelve (6:12)

Ø     We find him praying before Peter’s confession (9:18)

Ø     He was in prayer when he was transfigured (9:29)

v    When we realize how often Jesus prayed

Ø     How much he relied on God the Father for strength, for guidance, for wisdom, for insight…

§        That should cause us to realize the importance of prayer

·        And how much more we should be on our knees!

v    We can think about it another way…

Ø     If Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born…

Ø     If Jesus actually lives a sinless life and thus had no sin barrier between he and God…

Ø     If Jesus was the son of God…

§        God incarnate

Ø     If Jesus was the second person of the trinity…

§        And he realized the importance of prayer…

·        How much more important ought prayer to be to us who do not have these advantages!

v    I think for many of us, we get caught up in the formality of prayer

Ø     We think that the right words must be said

Ø     We think that the right mood must be set

Ø     We get so caught up in the length of our prayers

§        That the longer the prayer, the more effective

·        But we forget….

¨     DEPTH, not length, is important

When the Gettysburg battleground became a national cemetery, Edward Everett was to give the dedication speech and Abraham Lincoln was asked to say "a few appropriate words." Everett spoke eloquently for one hour and fifty-seven minutes then took his seat as the crowd roared its enthusiastic approval.

Then Lincoln stood to his feet, slipped on his steel spectacles, and began what we know today as the "Gettysburg Address." Poignant words such as". . . The world will little note nor long remember. . ." were said.  Sud­denly, he was finished. No more than two minutes after he had begun he stopped. His talk had been so prayerlike it seemed almost inappropriate to applaud. As Lincoln sat back down, John Young of the Philadelphia Press whispered, "Is that all?" The President answered, "Yes, that's all."

Don't underestimate two minutes with God in prayer.

v    The disciples saw Jesus and understood the importance of prayer

Ø     So they asked him to teach them how they should pray

§        And so he did

·        Not a repeatable prayer…

¨     But the substance of prayer

READ 11:2-4

The Substance of Prayer

v    Here Jesus teaches them (and us) what elements should exist in prayer

Ø     There is nothing inherently wrong about repeating the Lord’s prayer

§        But there is a danger

·        Danger that it becomes rote and not heartfelt

¨     A danger that is becomes too familiar

People travel days to come to this island.  To see its beauty. To witness the high mountains next to the deep ocean.  To view the rugged, rocky, pine tree-lined coastline next to the crashing waves. 

We who live here hardly notice the beauty which surrounds us.  That is because we are around it all the time.  We get used to it.  It has become common, familiar. We do not see the beauty of it anymore.

v    That is what often happens with the Lord’s prayer

Ø     We no longer see the beauty in it

§        We so often past through it like we pass through Seawall

·        Withou noticing it at all

¨     We have let it become rote or unconsciously repetitions (Matt 6:7)

Ø     The only thing God wants us to become unconsciously repetitious about is holiness

§        “Do not let left hand know what right hand is doing”

Ø     But not so with prayer

§        Jesus wants us to know what we are praying about

·        So he gives his disciples (and us) the elements that are to be contained in our prayers

§        Father

·        Abba = “reverent daddy”

¨     Close intimate relationship

Ø      Romans 8:15

§        For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba,  Father.”

·        We are to approach God as a son approaches his father

§        Hallowed be your name

·        Everyone’s name means something

¨     Examples

Ø     Blake = “pale”

Ø     Donald = “Ruler of the World”

Ø     Bernie = “Brave, Hardy”

Ø     Mary = “Wished for Child”

§        Also “Rebelliousness” and “Sea of bitterness”

Ø     Pat = “Noble”

Ø     Sarah = “Princess”

¨     I always liked the name Phineas from one of my favorite books

Ø     A Separate Peace

§        But Carrie would not allow the name because of what it means…

·        “Despised of God”

·        The Hebrews believed that the name contained or summed up a person’s character

¨     So it was with God’s name

Ø     It summed up or represented who he was

·        RQ: But what is it to “hallow” God’s name?

¨     Hallow = “Treat as holy”

Ø     How??

§        Martin Luther’s Greater Catechism asks…

·        Q: How is (God’s Name) hallowed amongst us?

·        A: When our life and doctrine are truly Christian

Ø     Hallow God with our life…

§        In Word

·        Not using it in vain

·        Talking of him in the highest regard

§        In Deed

·        With our actions

Ø     Hallow God with our doctrine…

§        Doctrine is important

§        That is why we spend so much time in Sunday School talking about it

¨     We “hallow” God’s name when we are living the Christian life

§        Your Kingdom come

·        Part of our prayer life is to be concerned with and praying for Christ’s second coming

¨     We are to look forward to his return

§        Give us each day our daily bread

·        The promise in Scripture is that our daily needs will be met

¨     No more, no less

§        Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us

·        Forgiveness

¨     Both asking for and being willing to forgive others

§        And lead us not into temptation

·        One of the benefits of being a new creation in Christ

¨     We have the ability to resist temptation, to chose to do good

Ø     Gal 5:24

§        Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires

v    Jesus modeled for them the importance of praying and when asked, instructed them on the substance of their prayers

Ø     He then went on to teach them the Practice of Prayer

§        Through a parable…

 

READ 11:5-8

The Practice of Prayer

v    The impact of this story is lost on us in the 20th century

Ø     Centers around hospitality

§        Hospitality is not nearly as important as it was then

v    Here is a story of a man who is visited by some friends on a journey in the middle of the night.

Ø     He has no food for them and since hospitality is such a big deal in the middle east culture, he goes out to find some bread for them to eat

§        He goes to a neighbors house and knocks on the door and the neighbor is not willing to even get out of bed, let alone give him some bread

·        But the man, knowing the importance of what he is asking, continues to knock and plead for three loaves of bread

¨     The man finally relents and gives him the bread

Ø     And V. 8 tells us the reason…

§         ‘because of his boldness’

·        GK word (avaideian) NIV weak translation - “boldness”

¨     Better translation = persistence

Ø     The text makes it clear…

§        The man did not give him the bread because he was his friend…

·        But because of his persistence

¨     The practice that the Lord wants us to have in prayer is…

Ø     Persistence

The diary of George Mueller, Christian social reformer from the Victo­rian era, chronicles his devotion in prayer:

In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five indi­viduals. I prayed every day without a single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land, on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God and continued to prayed for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the second was converted. I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day, I continued to pray for them, and six years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the three, and went on pray­ing for the other two. These two remained unconverted.

Thirty-six years later he wrote that the other two, sons of one of Mueller's friends, were still not converted. He wrote:

But I hope in God, I pray on, and look for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be.

In 1897, fifty-two years after he began to pray, these two men were finally converted, after Mueller died. Mueller understood the kind of persistence that the Lord wants us to pray with

Ø     To be like the man outside pounding on the door

v    But parables are difficult to interpret

Ø     You could read this parable and draw the conclusion that God is like the man who does not want to get out of bed and give

§        That God is a resentful giver

v    But the final section clears that up and tells us about…

The God of Prayer

READ 11:9-13

v    Jesus here tells us two things about the God that we pray to

Ø     1) God is a Giver of Good gifts

§        In v. 11-13 Jesus returns to where he began…

·        God as our loving Father

¨     He makes this point through hyperbole

Ø     A Father would not give his child he loves a snake if he asks for a fish

Ø     Or a scorpion if the child asks for an egg

§        No.

·        A father who loves his child gives good gifts

·        Illustration:

¨     This was the first year Avonlea knew what was going on Christmas day

¨     Carrie and I got a little carried away with presents for Avonlea

¨     Avie telling us that she is finished opening presents

·        Point is…

¨     if we love Avie that much and we are sinful parents…

Ø     How much more does God who is good in every way want to give her!

§        James 1:17

·        Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows

¨     God can give nothing but good gifts

Ø     And we should remember that!

The second thing this section tells us about God is…

Ø     2) God wants to give

§        V. 9 & 10 tell us to ask, seek and knock

·        3x in increasing intensity

¨     Pray, Pray, Pray!

Ø     And the God that loves you waits to give, give, give

§        But so many times we just don’t ask

I think we will all be surprised by one room in heaven.  The room has within it large boxes neatly packaged with lovely ribbons on top with your name on it with a note attached reading, “Never delivered to earth because never requested from earth”

v    What we have to realize is…

Ø     We serve a God who wants us to ask, wants us to seek, wants us to knock

§        We serve a God who is a good, loving, giving Father

·        Who waits at the door in anticipation of our prayers

¨     Ready to throw it open and give us our hearts desire


Notes:

Ø     1 Cor 10:13

§        No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it

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