Week 4 | Tuesday
Week 3: What Does Faith Look Like?
The Lord's Prayer: Asking God
by Janet Nygren
Read: Luke 11:1-13
2 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 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 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.
9 “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. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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!”
- Prayer is not new for Jewish disciples. It was a part of their everyday lives. So to capture what is new or different for this audience, it helps to have the attached parables (if you can translate the context sufficiently). The first parable (Luke 11:5-8) assumes a culture where hospitality is highly valued, and there were no convenience stores open at midnight to pick up supplies. So where else would you go but a friend (who likely shared a 1-room dwelling, sleeping together with his children)? What quality does Jesus encourage in your prayers (v.8)? And what, specifically, is he telling you to seek through the Lord’s prayer?
- What kind of relationship would you expect where you can have “shameless audacity” to ask for something?
- The second parable (Luke 11:11-13) picks up on the address of the Lord’s prayer to “Father” as Jesus compares the attitude of an earthly father with our Father in heaven. What kind of an attitude is Jesus teaching us to have toward God when we pray?
- How is your approach toward prayer, and specifically the Lord’s prayer, different from what Jesus is teaching?
- How would you like to grow in your attitude toward prayer, to be more like Jesus
- Using what you have just learned, pray:
- How has prayer helped you to grow in your relationship with your heavenly Father? Do you have a specific example you could share with others on this journey?
As I was reflecting on this passage, I was taken back 50 years to when I saw Godspell for the first time. I had received Christ the previous summer (June 22, 1972). I was new in the faith. I was doing a semester in Washington DC in the Fall. I went to Ford’s Theatre and saw This amazing portrayal of Jesus. As the parables were spoken, they came to life and I was blown away. Time with Jesus in prayer became fresh and exciting. A year and a half later, I was baptized in the Spirit and prayer became fresh and spontaneous for me. As Maverick City Music sings, “Take me back back all the way back…” . Time with the Father is intimate, joyful and wonderful-not to be rushed!
I'm really struck by the phrase "shameless audacity." Another translation says "impudence," which is pretty close to "rude." I think I tend to pray very "safe" and polite prayers that I think will be acceptable to God. I would like my faith and my prayers to be more childlike, so I can just pour out my heart to my father.
I typically feel guilty if I pray for myself. I’m not sure why but I guess I always had a feeling that prayers should be for others. But in the past year or so when I would find myself anxious I would pray to God and ask him for help with peace of mind. These prayers helped me grow closer to God as I could see him at work directly in me. He would place a calmness over me that only He could provide. I am grateful I can turn to God in prayer and know that he listens.
I'm struck by the bare-bones dependence on God this prayer conveys. So often my prayers are long lists of needs. This pulls me back to God's provision, protection, and love for me such that I can belong to him again. I need to be reminded of this daily.
Prayer is talking with God as though you are talking with a friend. When I'm troubled, hurt, sad etc., I have the tendency to close myself off from people and cry out to the Lord because I know He understands me, knows my weaknesses, knows where I'm coming from, knows my hurts and He doesn't judge me. He is love. He's always there ready and willing to listen and gives comfort. No matter the situation, He's always willing to listen. That's my Abba Father.