Saturday, February 05, 2022

2022.02.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 11:1–13

Read Luke 11:1–13

Questions from the Scripture text: What was Jesus doing (Luke 11:1)? What did the disciples ask when He finished? How does Jesus respond to whom (Luke 11:2)? How are they to address God? What is the first petition? The second? The third? For what manner of the doing of God’s will should they pray? What is the fourth petition (Luke 11:3)? What is the fifth (Luke 11:4)? What are the two parts of the sixth petition? About what hypothetical situation does He ask them in Luke 11:5-6? What does He challenge them that they would not do (Luke 11:7)? Why does He say that they would give the friend “as many as he needs” (Luke 11:8)? Which actions of the friend in the question does He use to describe praying in Luke 11:9? What will the Father do in response to each of these? What is the relationship of Luke 11:10 to Luke 11:9? What effect does this have, as Jesus urges them to be persistent in prayer? What new hypothetical questions does Jesus propose in Luke 11:11-12? What does He say about their character in Luke 11:13? But what does He say they know how to do? To Whom does He compare them? What good Gift will He much more surely give? 

If the Lord Jesus’s praying in Luke 11:1 is reflected in the petitions that He teaches them in Luke 11:2-4, then that gives us the content of the kind of prayer to which He is directing us in Luke 11:5-13. The teaching here is presented as a whole, bookended by “Our Father in heaven” in Luke 11:2 and “your heavenly Father” in Luke 11:13.

For what had John taught his disciples (Luke 11:1)? He was proclaiming the need for repentance (Luke 3:1–14) in light of the coming of the Christ who would pour out upon them not water but the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:15–16). And it is reasonable to conclude that he taught them to pray along similar lines.

Now Christ the King upgrades all of these things as He teaches us to pray. 

Not merely for the coming of the Christ, but for the consummation of His kingdom (Luke 11:2). 

Not merely for the requisite repentance but for sure and free forgiveness (Luke 11:4). 

Not merely for One who would pour out the Spirit, but for the instant, delighted, abundant giving of that Spirit by Him Whom we now know as Father (Luke 11:11-13).

The Lord Jesus teaches us to be ambitious and confident as we pray for spiritual things! And oh how comforting this is to us who need constant reaffirmation of God’s forgiveness, of God’s Spirit carrying us along in our repentance and service, and of the powerful and unstoppable progress of His kingdom, despite all that we might think we see in the world!

His instruction on praying for earthly things is, by comparison, modest. Daily bread in Luke 11:3. Sometimes requiring persistence in asking for bread, or whatever it is that we need (Luke 11:5-8). Still, even these prayers are to be offered in confidence that whatever is good our wise and good Father will give us (Luke 11:9-15, cf. Matthew 7:7–10). 

And of course, one of those good things He will give us is that ministry if His Spirit that stirs up our heart more and more toward spiritual things, as we serve our heavenly Father and King in every spiritual circumstance.

God grant that our praying would not be like John’s so much, but rather reflect that Christ has come, the Spirit has been given, and the kingdom is unstoppably coming! (cf. Acts 19:1–10)

What spiritual things are major items of prayer for you? What earthly things? In what manner do you pray? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, how marvelous it is to know You as Father! We come, hardly knowing what gifts to call good. But You have not only told us what to ask for, but have indeed planned to give us everything good—and, most of all, to give us Yourself. The Baptizer’s disciples learned to pray for much, but You have taught us to pray for much more. Forgive us for when our praying only addresses the smallest things, or when our prayer for eternally weighty and glorious things comes to you in weak and wobbly unbelief. Help us, by Your Spirit, to be sure of those eternally weighty glories for which You tell us to ask, through Christ, AMEN!  

Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH518 “Come, My Soul, with Every Care”

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