Vol. 19, No. 9 – March 1, 2020
F. Instruction on Prayer, Luke 11:1-13.
1. The Lord’s Prayer Template, vs. 1-4.
2. Instruction for Persistence in your Requests to God, vs. 4-13.
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Luke 11:4, “And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”
3) “Lead us not into temptation” is better understood as, “Do not let us be carried away in the sphere of temptation.”
Temptation comes in three categories: Appetite, Beauty, and Ambitious Pride. They come from three sources: Satan, his cosmic system, and your OSN. They are designed to get us to act independent of: God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, and God’s Plan for our lives. The NIV Application Commentary shows us several things we learn about temptation from Jesus’ example.
1. Do not try to think or rationalize your way out of God’s will. When Jesus was tempted, He did not think or rationalize His way out of God’s will. He could have easily said that God would not want His Son to starve, to suffer rejection, or to die. He could have easily rationalized His way through or out of the situation by thinking the kingdom was going to belong to Him anyway, so what did it matter how it came into his hands? Jesus avoided this kind of “the end justifies the means” thinking as He responds to the three proposals of Satan. We must be careful that the shortcuts that often become possible in life do not in fact reflect rationalization to avoid God’s will for our lives.
2. Tests in life are not bad; in fact, God allows them in our life, Job 1-2, James 1:2-4. The main issue is our response to the test. Do we respond in a way that looks to God to guide us through it? Do we trust Him, or do we put Him to the test?
3. Our trust in God should extend His provisions for our lives. Though Satan tested Jesus about the most basic of needs, bread, we sometimes desire to “feed ourselves” with things we feel are basic to life. But those “basic things” frequently involve a larger home, more gadgets, the finest appliances, the most expensive clothes, and a host of other material possessions to say that we have arrived. Yet, life is not defined materially; rather, it is defined relationally and spiritually in terms of knowing God and serving Him in the context of His will. Will Satan succeed in testing us to take bread that God is not asking us to eat, while we ignore the most basic meal of all, His will?
The pursuit of material goals can become a driving force in our lives. But where does God’s Word and leading stand? Sometimes, giving resources to the accomplishment of ministry may mean giving up personal material pleasures. Sometimes, seeking to have less materially can lead to having much more. And, sometimes God provides abundantly in the midst of a sacrifice made for His will.
4. Our trust in God should include contentment with the station He has given us in life, Phil 4:11-13. Satan tempts us to slip into idolatry as directly as he did here with Jesus, using subtle substitutes, leading us to not be content with what we have and to pursue what we desire. Perhaps we worship our work, our status, our possessions, our family, or other unsuitable items that stand in the way of knowing God. Maybe he asks us to take the easy path of “growth” without suffering or facing rejection in our stand for Jesus or for Divine values. Sometimes, when we opt for comfort in life, it means selling our soul to the prince of this world.
Another way we show lack of trust is to grab for power that is not ours or to take power in a way it is not intended to be received. The implications of such a power grab extend into how we exercise authority in the home, how we conduct our businesses, and how we relate to others. Yet, God desires to give us rich blessing, even to share in the benefits of His authority. The best authority is one exercised not under threat, but that which is earned. The most genuine authority is not that which is seized, but that which is received from the God who honors faithfulness. But, to worship Satan and to take his path to get there is to lose whatever access to God’s blessing we may possess.
5. We should never try to force God to act on our behalf, show that He loves us, etc., or prove Himself or His Word in any way. A way we tend to show a lack of trust in God is to try to force Him to act on our behalf. In the test we often set up, we want to see if He is for us or against us. This type of spiritual wagering does not involve leaping from tall buildings, but walking into events where we say in effect, “If you care for me God, then this situation will turn out this way.” In effect, we test the “emergency broadcast system” of God’s presence and presume on how He should react. This kind of testing is an attempt to control God, not follow His leading. We are setting ourselves up for disappointment, since it may be in our best interest for events to go in a different direction than we desire.
6. We should never blame God for our problems or whenever suffering occurs. As stated above, God never tempts us to sin, James 1:13, but He will allow us to be tempted by our OSN, Satan, or the world, as Job was, cf. Job 1-2. When problems, difficulties, or suffering occurs in our life, we may feel that He has abandoned us, when, in fact, He may be getting our attention, revealing a better way to us, or asking us to meet Him in the midst of the adversity. As Jesus turned down Satan and consciously chose to follow God down the hard road of His ministry, so too must we be prepared to walk into events under His leading, even where the outcome is not clear. And remember, He has given us His 11 Problem Solving Devices and will always provide us a way of escape to overcome the adversity and be winner believers inside of His plan for our lives.
1 Cor 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Rev 2:7, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.” Cf. Rev 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21.
Rev 21:7, “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”
Matthew concludes the prayer with, Mat 6:13b, “[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]” Luke does not record this and the earliest manuscripts of Matthew did not either. It appears to be a doxology that was added to the end of the prayer template, as later transcribers thought that a doxology praise was lacking, or would be a good way to conclude. Yet, the whole is a doxology of God.
The pattern in this model prayer when combining both Luke’s version and Matthew’s, is first pray for God’s kingdom and then for man’s needs. It is divided into two sections, and each section is subdivided into three categories. This pattern keeps us from wandering all over the place in prayer or from simply praying the same things. This structure gives us direction.
1. The first section with its three categories are invocations for the glory of God:
a. That God may be glorified in His name, so that it shall be universally reverenced.
b. That God may be glorified in His kingdom; that kingdom before which every power of evil shall eventually fall.
c. That God may be glorified in the hearts of humanity by all men becoming obedient unto His will.
These petitions appropriately come first, as it is of first importance to us that God should be honored in His person, in His authority, and in His desires/will. The three petitions also represent three stages of spiritual growth in the communion and fellowship with God.
1) We first know and revere His name as God.
2) From there we advance to the full recognition of His royal and Divine authority.
3) And from this in turn we again advance until we know Him fully as Father and perform His wishes/will through the joyous constraint of our love for Him, as do the elect angels in heaven.
2. The second section with its three categories, are for humanity and thus petitions we ask for ourselves:
a. For our bodies, in the present, that we may have sustenance. “Daily bread,” is our Logistical Grace Blessings both physical and spiritual. It is not a petition for milk and honey, symbols of luxury, but for bread, life’s sustenance and necessity, and for bread in moderation, bestowed day by day, like the manna.
b. For our souls in things concerning the past, that past trespasses/sins may be forgiven. This is the experiential forgiveness of sins using the Rebound Technique of 1 John 1:9. This is the one thing needful of the soul in regard to the past. This also comes with a condition precedent to obtaining this petition, (i.e., that we have a spirit of forgiveness), which condition is plainly stated in the petition itself. Just as we have received forgiveness, we are to give forgiveness to others.
c. For our souls as to the future, that they may be enabled to avoid giving in to temptation where it becomes sin. This is a petition for protection from the temptations from Satan, his cosmic system, and our own OSN. and that we may be delivered from “the evil,” so as to be overcomers experientially.
Therefore, Jesus’ template prayer, which is not exhaustive in categories of prayer, gives us a good outline as the things we should be praying for on a daily basis, so as to first glorify God and second petition Him for our every need both physically and spiritually.
- Instruction for Persistence in your Requests to God, vs. 5-13.
After giving instructions to the disciples on “how to pray,” Luke next records Jesus giving a parable that instructs on the persistence and faithfulness we should have in our prayer life, in vs. 5-13. This is broken down into three sections:
a. A parable that speaks of the readiness of God to hear prayer, vs. 5-8.
b. A statement on the certainty of God’s answering prayer, vs. 9-10.
c. A final argument that God will answer prayer even more readily than a human father will respond to his children’s requests, vs. 11-13.
a. A parable that speaks of the readiness of God to hear prayer, vs. 5-8.
Luke 11:5-8, “Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs”.”
This is called the “Parable of the Friend at Midnight.” It speaks of the character of God in responding to the needs of His people. And as Jesus often did, He took a commonplace incident from everyday life to stress an important principle of the faith-rest life, (i.e., true faith will persist in prayer until the answer comes).
“Midnight,” in vs. 5, is the Greek noun, MESONUKTION, μεσονύκτιον. It is only used here and in Mark 13:35, regarding the Second Advent of Jesus, and in Acts 16:25; 20:7, for the literal times of Paul praising God and teaching His Word. The Romans divided the night into four watches: “evening,” OPSIOS, 6–9 p.m., “midnight,” MESONUKTION, 9 p.m.–12a.m., “cockcrow,” ALEKTOROPHONIA, 12 a.m.–3 a.m., and “morning,” PROINOS, 3–6 a.m.
Here, is a principle of friendship, PHILOS, φίλος in that if a friend does a favor for you, you should return with a favor to them when and if they have need or petition you.
The Bible tells us that we are the friend of God, John 15:13-15; James 2:23. Therefore, He desires that we petition Him of our needs when they arise. As a friend of God, we should reciprocate His friendship towards us in service towards Him.
The petition here was “to lend,” KICHREMI, κίχρημι that is only used here in the NT. It is in the Aorist, Active, Imperative, which is a special request of someone when the lending is actually a matter of giving, with an understanding of reciprocal repayment at some point in the future, rather than a return of the same. It is clear the same loaves could not be returned.
“Three loaves,” TREIS ARTOS, “bread, loaf of bread, or food.” Three being the number of Divine perfection, this neighbor was not asking for the extra ordinary but the common food of the day. Bread was typically made in the morning for that day’s supply. So, we have the principle of our “daily bread.”
In vs. 6, the arriving friend was “on a journey,” EK HODOS, could also mean, “out of his way or lost.” So, the friend had a problem that this man was trying to help with. The ordinary custom of hospitality in that day was to give a newly arrived guest something to eat. Failing to offer food to a guest would be insulting and dishonorable. Therefore, this is an intercessory petition prayer to help another.
In vs. 7, the neighbor’s first reply does not necessarily mean he was uncaring to the petition. He actually had his own family to care for first. To get up in the middle of the night would have disturbed his family. So, rightly he was taking care of his first priority, his family, just as God our Father, prioritizes taking care of His family; you and I, believers in Christ.
The key word in this passage is in vs. 8, “persistence,” which in the Greek is the Noun ANAIDEIA, ἀναίδεια that actually means, “shamelessness.” It also can mean, “importunity (i.e., wearisome persistence, the fact of being troublesomely demanding or insistent).” It is only used here in the NT. It is a compound word from the negative AN, “without” and AIDOS that means, “modesty or reverence.” Literally it would mean, “without modesty.” But, it is rendered as a positive word meaning, “without a sense of shame” or “shamelessness.”
Jesus was speaking of the shameless manner in which the man came to his friend / neighbor and continued to ask for help; his shameless persistence. He had no shame in making an unreasonable request in the middle of the night. As such, it was impudent (i.e., rude, showing a lack of respect and excessive boldness), of him to expect help at such a time. He was shameless in his persistence, continuing his pleading until his friend responded. Therefore, if shameless persistence can obtain a favor from a neighbor, then certainly earnest persistent prayer will receive our heavenly Father’s answer.
The same principle of persistence is taught in Luke 18:1-8, the “Parable of the Unjust Judge.”
In addition, in the Greek, there is a subtle undertone of our resurrection being reciprocation from God for our friendship with Him, as both EGEIRO and ANISTEMI are used in this parable for “rising, raised, etc.,” to go along with “midnight” used in Mark 13:35.
The whole point of the story is the need for persisting in prayer. If the neighbor had simply asked his friend to arise and provide some food, it would not be importunity. The picture is one of overcoming reluctance on the part of the petitioner. It is obvious that the man continued to knock, in spite of being refused, until at last, not out of goodwill but because the neighbor would not go away, the man got up and provided the bread, just as the judge helps the widow in Luke 18. The neighbor also would give him bread since he too might be in need sometime.
1. Just having a pattern of prayer will not make you a prayer warrior. You also need determination. Our Lord wants us to know that we must be persistent in our prayer petitions. We cannot ask for something one time and then go off as if we never asked anything of the Lord. It is persistence that gets the results because it demonstrates our faithfulness in God as we ask over and over again, knowing He will answer our prayer.
2. We are not to be discouraged because God does not respond to our prayer the first time we offer it up to Him. We are to be persistent in our prayer requests, Rom 12:12, until the answer comes.
Rom 12:12, “Rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer.” Where “devoted,” is the Verb PROSKARTEREO, προσκαρτερέω, which is a compound word from PROS, “toward or face to face,” and KARTEREO, “be strong, persevere, endure because of strength, or be steadfast.” In classical Greek ethics, the concept is a reference to the right attitude and conduct of wise ones. Then, PROSKARTEREO, in classical Greek, when used of interpersonal relationships, it comes close to “dedication or being loyal to someone,” (e.g., a slave’s faithful service). Therefore, it comes to mean, “adhere firmly to, persist in, or remain devoted to.” Cf. Acts 1:14; 6:4; Col 4:2.
Col 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.”
3. Even people who have poor manners and bad behavior will behave righteously and respond to the persistent requests of another. Therefore, you can trust that God, who is absolute righteousness, will behave even more righteously. This illustrates the Lord’s supreme goodness and unreserved love to answer our prayers.
4. When we are doing what God considers good, we can boldly come to Him for provision, even if it feels like impudence, Eph 3:12; Heb 4:16; 10:19, 22; 1 John 3:21-22; 5:14.
Eph 3:12, “In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”
Heb 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Heb 10:19, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus…. 22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
5. If boldness moved an unwilling man to do the right thing, how much more can we rely upon God, who is uncompromisingly willing and good, to meet our persistent requests?
Now, we turn to the second section of this object lesson.
b. A statement on the certainty of God answering our prayer, vs. 9-10. From this point to vs. 13, it is paralleled in Mat 7:7-11.
Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”
Here, we have another grouping of three; the number of Divine Perfection. The initial teaching in vs. 9, is reiterated in vs. 10. In fact, vs. 9, is the major chorus of the worship song we sing, “Seek Ye First.”
1. The first of the group in vs. 9, is “ask, and it will be given.”
As we have previously noted, “ask” is one of the words used for prayer in the NT. It is the Verb AITEO in the Present, Active, Imperative that means, “ask, request, or demand,” yet the latter is not part of the context of our prayer life. We do not “demand” things from God. Nevertheless, this is one of the NT words for prayer and originally meant, “to request something that one really needs.” In the Imperative Mood, as all three examples here are, tell us this is a command from our Lord. We are commanded to “ask” God for our needs and the needs of others.
“It will be given” is the common Verb DIDOMI in the Future, Passive, Indicative for the dogmatic fact that we will receive our petition request to God at a forthcoming time, cf. Mat 21:22.
Mat 21:22, “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
2. The second of the group in vs. 9, is “Seek and you will find.”
“Seek,” is the Verb ZETEO, in the Pres., Act., Imper., that means, “seek, look for, inquire about, etc.” It can also mean, “wish for or desire,” which is the motivation behind our petition/request to God. So, we also have a secondary context of the righteous desires of our heart. To seek means to diligently, earnestly, and tenaciously search after something, sparing no effort or expense, for the sought object is valued to the highest degree. Believers are to seek God in this manner regarding our petitionary prayers.
“You will find,” is the Future, Active, Indicative of the Verb EHURISKO, εὑρίσκω that means, “find, discover, obtain, ascertain, or contrive.” It is where we get our word “eureka,” from, which is an exaltation stated when we find something that was lost, or we were diligently searching for. Therefore, God promises us that subsequent to our petitionary prayers, we will find the answer, whatever it might be. The Indicative mood once again shows the dogmatic fact of reality that we will find an answer to our prayers that we have been diligently seeking from God.
3. The third of the group in vs. 9, is “knock and it will be opened to you.”
“Knock,” is the Pres., Act., Imper., of the verb KROUO, κρούω that in the NT means, “to knock,” on a door, whether the door is literal or figurative. Here it is figurative for knocking on God’s door to get Him to respond to you. Being in the Present tense, it gives us the meaning of a “continuous knocking,” which, by the use of the Imperative mood, we are commanded to do.
Remember, when you knock on someone’s door, you typically do not strike the door only once. Usually, it is several strikes on your first attempt at knocking. Then, if the homeowner does not answer your first attempt, you knock again with several more strikes on the door, and usually much harder or louder to get the homeowner’s attention. This should not be lost when regarding our prayers to God. Keep knocking, and if necessary, get a little more assertive when you do.
“It will be opened,” is also in the Fut., Pass., Indic., of the Verb ANOIGO, ἀνοίγω that means, “open, open (itself), or be open.” Here, in a figurative use of the door of God’s home; heaven, it represents God answering our prayers. It means that because of our persistence in prayer, (i.e., knocking), God will answer our prayers, (i.e., open the door). It means that God will respond to our prayer petitions when we are persistent in offering them up to Him.
Therefore, we are commanded to “keep on asking, seeking, and knocking,” which are all illustrations of our prayer life in faith, with the promise that “it will be given, we will find, and it will be opened to us,” which are all illustrations of God responding to and answering our prayers.
This pattern is reiterated in vs. 10, for a double emphasis on these prayer and faith-resting principles. There we see that “everyone,” PAS, “all or every,” is the class of people in view. Therefore, it does not matter what your socio, religious, or economic status. Everyone and anyone who prays to God faithfully, persistently, and diligently, will receive an answer to their prayers.
In vs. 10, “asks,” “seeks,” and “knocks,” are all the same root verbs used in vs. 9, but here are in the Present, Active, Participle in the Singular, Nominative Case, to emphasis the action of prayer as a “thing” we must do.
Then, the illustrative responses by God in answering our prayers, is the same root word for the last two, “finds” and “it will be open,” with “finds,” EHURISKO, in the Present, Active, Indicative for a fact of a present discovery of the answer to our prayer.
In addition, in the first grouping of “asking,” rather than using “given” DIDOMI, that emphasized the Giver, (in this case God), the emphasis is on the one who “receives,” the answer to their prayers, (the person who prays), with the Present, Active, Indicative of LAMBANO that means, “take, take hold of, grasp, seize, receive, get, or obtain.”
Therefore, in vs. 10, the emphasis is on the one who has their prayers answered with the verbs, “receives, finds and opened to you,” all in the Indicative mood for the dogmatic reality of happening.
By giving these instructions on prayer, our Lord is asking His disciples to purse both spiritual goals and request basic needs with great boldness and shamelessness, faithfully and persistently. As such, the pattern prayer of vs. 2-4, plus the persistence in faithfulness of our prayers in vs. 5-10, equals the effective prayer of the believer.
In addition, remember that the Bible tells us that in offering prayers, we have a petition and a desire. The petition is the specific thing we ask for, and the desire is the motive behind the prayer that we hope is fulfilled. Sometimes we know and understand this motive and other times we do not, but God always does. Therefore, when God answers our prayers, He responds to both the petition and the desire either positively or negatively.
1. Positive ‑ Negative. Here, your petition is answered yes, but your desire behind it is answered no. For a silly example, you pray to make a million dollars; yes, you will make a million dollars, but no, you will not be happy.
For a Biblical example, in Psa 106:13‑15, the Jews were tired of the great Divine provision of manna, the greatest health food ever. They longed for the Egyptian meat and food they used to eat. God answered their petition yes; He sent them quail. But the desire for satisfaction or “food happiness” was not answered; instead, they suffered terribly from it and thousands died.
2. Negative ‑ Positive. The answer to the petition is no; the desire behind the petition is answered yes. Example: no, you will not make a million dollars, but yes, you will be happy.
In Gen 17:18, Abraham prayed that Ishmael, the son of Hagar, might be his heir. God said no to Ishmael becoming his heir, but yes to the desire behind it; to have an heir; for he eventually had Isaac.
In Gen 18:23‑33, Abraham prayed that God would spare Sodom. After bargaining with God, Abraham settled with asking God to spare Sodom if there were ten believers; he was sure there were at least ten believers in that large city of perhaps 200,000 people. He was wrong; there were only three believers. The petition to spare Sodom was answered no; the desire that Lot and his two daughters be preserved was answered yes.
3. Positive ‑ Positive. Both the petition and desire are answered yes.
In John 11:41‑45, the petition was for the resuscitation of Lazarus, the desire was that the bystanders who witnessed this might be saved. Both petition and desire were answered yes. Vs. 45, “Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary saw what He had done, and they believed in Him.” Cf. Judges 16:28, (Samson); 1 Kings 18, (Elijah); Luke 23:42‑43, (Thief on the Cross).
4. Negative ‑ Negative. The answer is “no” to both the petition and the desire; in other words, God does not answer either.
In 2 Cor 12:7-10, Paul prayed three times that God would remove his thorn in the flesh. This was a prayer that could not be answered. The motivation was wrong and the prayer was wrong, as God answered his prayer by saying in vs. 9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Which led Paul to understand and state in vs. 10, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” And later in Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#20-021, 20-022, 20-023
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!