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Praying To Our Father

27 Jun
Prayer - 9

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Jesus is at prayer in a certain place (Luke 11:1). We know that he was journeying toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51), and this was by far not a secret journey (cf. John 7:10), as when he journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (cf. Luke 10:1). We also know from John’s record that the next time Jesus is said to be in Jerusalem was during the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22). We know, as well, that the certain village mentioned in Luke 10:38 is Bethany, which is 15 furlongs (or less than two miles) from Jerusalem (John 11:18). There is therefore little doubt that this certain place of prayer is the Mount of Olives, which is the place to which Jesus often resorted with his disciples while at Jerusalem, when he desired privacy (Luke 21:37; 22:39; John 18:1-2).

In every case when Jesus prayed a certain significant event was brought to the foreground. He was building his Church. The Kingdom is something that must be prayed into being. The Kingdom of God is not something that can be witnessed through our physical senses. One cannot say: “Look! There it is” (Luke 17:20-21)! It is our being transfigured by God before the world, just as Jesus had been before his disciples. It is the Glory of God within each of us, constantly working in and changing us (2Corinthians 3:18; 4:6-7) that gives rise to God’s Kingdom. The Kingdom is something that Father brings into being within each of us who desires it as our greatest treasure (Luke 12:31-34). It was for this that Jesus prayed, that is, that the desire for the realization of the Kingdom of God would arise in each of his disciples {Luke 11:1).

“Our Father, who art in heaven (our heavenly Father), hollowed be thy Name, (praise be to your Name). Thy Kingdom come (bring your Kingdom within us). Thy will be done (that your will could be done) as in Heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread (our daily spiritual food). Forgive us our sins, because we have forgiven everyone who is indebted to us. Lead us not into temptation (i.e., don’t expose the evil within each of us by bringing it forth to maturity – cf. Romans 1:16-32), but deliver us from evil (deliver us from the power of the evil within each one of us). For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory, forever” (Luke 11:1-4; Matthew 6:13 – italics and parenthesis mine throughout).

Jesus is not teaching the disciples how to pray for physical needs, but for the coming Kingdom of God in the lives of believers. The verses immediately following the Lord’s Prayer have Jesus explaining two different fears we have while praying to our Father, that otherwise rob us of trusting God to do as Jesus says he will do. First of all, we may be afraid of being embarrassed. If a friend comes to us, will God give us what we need to set before him? A friend may ask us to explain how we can trust Jesus so completely (1Peter 3:15). I have found that, although I am satisfied in my faith, I am often unable to put my faith into words. Jesus tells us to go to our Father shamelessly asking and expecting him to respond. He is able to satisfy our friend with the Bread (Christ) that he has given us.

The second friend gives the impression that the request is too presumptuous. Nevertheless, he’ll never get any sleep, knowing that his friend is in need, while he has what will satisfy him just a few steps away. Hospitality in that ancient culture was of the utmost importance. It may appear to us that our request presumes upon the graciousness of our heavenly Father, but he’ll never send us away empty. He deeply desires to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32)! We may believe that we have nothing, but the Lord has made us rich (Ephesians 1:3). We can trust him, because everyone who asks receives (Luke 11:9-10). No one is turned away! Everyone who seeks finds, because God wants to be found (Hebrews 11:6; cf. 2Chronicles 15:2). Everyone who knocks will have the door opened to him, because our heavenly Father is not someone who doesn’t want to be disturbed (Acts 14:27; 1Corinthians 16:9; 2Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:8, 20; 4:1).

A second fear might be that we’ll present the Gospel in a manner that will hurt our friends. After all, if everyone who asks receives, what if we want to do good but end up doing harm? Since we don’t know how the Bread (Christ) will be received, how do we know our friends won’t end up being offended in Christ and reject the Gospel, making what was meant to be a cure worse than the disease? Jesus reminds us that we, as fathers, know how to give good gifts to our children. God is no different, except that he is better at it. He won’t give us evil things when we ask for good things. The Spirit within us helps us as we pray, even groaning for those things that we cannot put into words (Romans 8:26-27). Our language limitations do not limit God.

 

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Posted by on June 27, 2017 in Gospel of Luke

 

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