Luke 11:1–13 (ESV)
1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread, 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” 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, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 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’? 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. 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. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!”
Have you ever put together a puzzle? You probably have at one time or another. It’s always interesting how people approach putting together puzzles. Some people have to organize every piece before they begin. Some begin to assemble the puzzle based on certain colors or patterns. The classic way to begin work on a puzzle is to put together the outside edges, doing this gives a framework for moving forward.
That’s what Jesus is doing here as He teaches people about prayer; Jesus is providing a framework.
Some of us have grown up in circumstances where prayer was very formal and structured. For others prayer has been very informal and something that wasn’t pursued unless there was a moment of crisis.
Prayer is an amazing and powerful mystery. As N.T. Wright comments, prayer in its highest is so centered on our love for the Lord that we are keenly aware of His presence with us and words are lost as we are overwhelmed with His love and grace for us.
Most of us don’t have that kind of experience when we pray but all of us know we ought to pray, however we’re not quite sure how to go about it, so Jesus gives us a great framework to follow.
The framework can stand on its own, but we’re also encouraged to dive into wider and more persistent prayer. Jesus encourages us to be bold in our prayers; ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened.
This is one of the most amazing promises in Scripture. One aspect of this promise is the incredible understanding that we have a deeply personal relationship with the Lord; one where we can come before Him with those things that are of concern to us and freely share them with the Lord without restriction. This is not like approaching a government official with a request or asking your boss for a raise or for days off. Those are a different sort of relationship altogether, relationships with boundaries and restrictions. Those boundaries and restrictions don’t exist with the Father.
So we can treat God as Father. We can come and be open with Him about our needs and the things which weigh on our hearts. We are invited to ask, seek and knock and then expect that the Lord will respond.
Now our Heavenly Father may not respond in the way we want, after all God is our Father, not our butler.
But as we ask, seek, and knock, we grow and mature in relationship with God the Father. As we grow in relationship our hearts are constantly centered on Him and when that happens, our hearts and minds are transformed, and we become concerned with those things that deeply matter to our Heavenly Father. We will want His kingdom to come, His will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
So ask, seek, and knock. You will receive, you will find, and the door will be opened. Are you ready?
God bless you and know that you are constantly in my prayers!
Luke 11:1–13 (ESV)