Luke 11: 1 – 13 Jesus’ teaching on prayer

Luke 11: 1 – 13 Jesus’ teaching on prayer

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’

He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

‘ “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

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

And lead us not into temptation.” ‘

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; a friend of mine on a journety has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.” 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.” 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.

‘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. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

‘Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!’

*       *       *

Today, I’m going to start at the end:

 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!’

There are two things I want to note.

The first is that this paragraph about fish and snakes, eggs and scorpions is referring specifically to the gift of the Holy Spirit. The book of Acts, which St Luke also wrote, starts at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was first given to the nascent church, and then is full of examples of people being baptised and receiving the Holy Spirit. St Luke had experience of the power of the Holy Spirit, and I think that he wanted some reference to this in his gospel. He’s saying, in effect, that receiving the Holy Spirit is a good thing and we can trust God  to give the Holy Spirit to us when we ask.

The other thing about this paragraph is that it says that the Father only wants to give us good gifts. The prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray is a mirror image of the gifts that God wants to give us. You could almost say it’s an approved list of things we can ask for.

Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.

Our Father wants us to keep his name holy in our hearts and lives.

Our Father wants his kingdom to come in our hearts and lives.

Give us each day our daily bread.

Our Father wants to give us the nourishment that we need for each day; not more, not less.

Our Father wants to give us the spiritual nourishment we need for each day. That is why we need to spend time with him every single day.

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

Our Father wants to forgive our sins.

Our Father wants us to forgive those who sin against us; indeed, if we won’t forgive others, it makes it difficult for God to forgive us.

And lead us not into temptation

Our Father doesn’t want us to be tempted. No, really, he doesn’t. Sin is not doing God’s will. The only way to do God’s will is to focus on him day and night – with all our soul, all our heart, all our mind and all our strength. Our Father doesn’t want us tempted, because he wants us to look steadfastly at him.

Prayer

Heavenly Father

May you be holy in my heart and life, through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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