Series Title: ‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Prayer changes everything!’ pt.1 Text: Luke 11:1-13
Introduction: Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our Country.
That 22-word prayer was found unconstitutional and led to the removal of all prayer from public schools in the case Engel v. Vitale.
- This little prayer acknowledges God only one time. The Declaration of Independence acknowledges God four times.
Within 12 months of Engel v. Vitale, in two more cases, the court had completely removed Bible reading and any form of religious instruction from schools. (Author unknown. Logos Bible Software)
Sadly, Christians, did nothing. Why? Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s the same reason Christians today do nothing,
- when all around us, because of the things we hold true in God’s Word, the Bible, we’re called
- bigots, intolerant, we have a ‘mental disorder’, said someone on ‘The View’.
Why? Why do we stand by and do nothing? At least two reasons…I’m sure there are more.
- Fear: fear of what others will do to us or think about us.
- Apathy: We’re so influenced by the world, somewhere deep inside where we don’t want to admit exists, we just don’t care enough to do something about it.
Perhaps that’s also the reason why we struggle so much with prayer. Actually, I don’t think many Christians struggle with prayer… they just don’t do it… at least not very often.
- Our hearts break, because children are being killed by gunfire in our schools.
- Our hearts break, at the number of unborn babies aborted every year.
- Our heart breaks by the heroin epidemic in our neighborhoods.
- Our hearts break by the anger and violence of racial unrest.
You would think Prayer Meetings in the churches around the country are packed with Christians on their knees, pleading with God to intervene, to heal, and to comfort.
- But… that’s not the case. In fact research shows that most churches, no longer have weekly Prayer Meetings, primarily because of poor attendance.
Apathy: We’re so influenced by the world, that somewhere deep inside, where we don’t want to admit exists…we just don’t care enough to do something about it.
- And as a result, we just don’t pray.
- If there was ever was time in history when God’s people needed to pray, it’s now!
Sad! Especially when we understand the importance of Hebrews 4:16; not only to our lives but to the lives of those our heart breaks for in the world around us.
- Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Prayer…ushers us into the very presence of Almighty God!
And it’s our awesome, powerful and loving God
- Who answers our prayers, Who changes circumstance and Who touches lives.
That’s the kind of answers to prayer that Jesus’ disciples saw when Jesus prayed. And it’s the kind of prayer life they wanted to have.
- So they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
Background: Our text in Luke 11:1-4 is very similar to what’s found in Matthew 6:9-13
Read: Matthew 6:9-13
Most scholars believe these two events are different. And I agree. That’s why Matthews account has much more detail than Lukes.
- With that said, I’ll be putting these two passages together,
- so we get the big picture of how Jesus taught His disciple to pray.
- Luke 11:1 Teach us to pray
Read: Luke 11:1
Throughout his Gospel, Dr. Luke has brought to our attention many of the times that Jesus prayed.
- And perhaps Jesus’ practice of prayer, started to find its way into the hearts and minds of His disciples.
Remembering that John the Baptist had taught his disciples to pray, one of Jesus’ disciples asked Him
- Lord, teach us to pray.
In that day, it was the norm for religious teachers to teach their disciples a prayer. It was often, a prayer specific to that teacher, to show their spirituality.
- Jesus’ disciples wanted to know how Jesus prayed; with such power, such passion, such consistency.
I find it significant that in the Bible, we don’t find any of Jesus’ disciples asking Him to teach them
- How to heal people, how to do miracles, how to prophesy, how to preach, how to share their faith.
It seems they only asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
Here’s something to consider…
- If Jesus saw His own need to pray regularly and passionately for the things going on around Him.
- If Jesus’ disciples, who spent 3 years with Him, wanted to know how to pray.
- Shouldn’t prayer be something that marks us a followers of Jesus Christ?
- Luke 11:2 Focus on God
Read: Luke 11:2
- That’s what Jesus says to do when we start to pray. Focus… focus on God.
- It’s also about how we approach God in prayer. Respect who it is you’re talking to.
Jesus begins by showing us that prayer is not just an individual activity. That when we pray it’s not just to be about me.
- Throughout this prayer, we find only the plural pronouns… Our, Us, We.
Folks, our prayers should always include intercession, prayer for others. Recognizing that
- I am part of the ‘Body of Christ.’
- I am a member of the ‘Church.’
- I am one of the many ‘People of God.’
And whenever I pray, I remember those I’m connected to; bound to; by the unity of the Spirit.
Focus, see the big picture, pray the big picture. And that big picture, includes your brothers & sisters in Christ.
Next, Jesus tell us to pray to our Father
ILL: Morris Davis was put in jail for “praying.” It all began when Davis was picked up and charged with arson.
- After his arrest, he was taken to a room at the police station. Thinking he was alone, he prayed that old familiar prayer, “Lord, let me get away with it just this once.” But a policeman overheard his prayer and submitted it as evidence against him.
- The lower court ruled that this was a private conversation and therefore could not be submitted as evidence.
- The Canadian government, appealed this ruling and the Court of Appeals decided that it was admissible evidence because prayer is not a private conversation, since God is not a person. (Peter Dieson, Logos Bible Software)
True… a court in Canada ruled that God is not a person. I think the Bible, over 2000 years of Church history, and the experience of countless many over those years, would disagree… how about you?
Not only is God a person, He is our Father.
The Jews of Jesus’ day thought it too intimate to call God Father.
- Yet, one of the greatest privileges as Christians is to call the One, true and Every Living God… Father.
- Because that privilege, indicates our right to an intimate, loving relationship with Him.
Jesus didn’t say to pray
- El Elyon or Most High God, though He is.
Jesus didn’t say to pray
- Adonai, or Master, though He is.
Jesus didn’t say to pray
- El Olam, or Everlasting God, though He is.
Jesus said to pray… Father! Because He is!
In the OT, that’s often how prayers were made, in the various names of God. Now it’s Father.
- Was it God? No! It was you.
When God called you, when God opened your eyes to who Jesus is, when you asked Jesus into your life by faith… you were changed:
- Jesus became your Savior.
- Other Christians became your family.
- And God became your Father!
Focus, see the big picture… Christian, God, is your Father!
Our Father in Heaven.
Many of us haven’t had the best examples from, or relationships with, our earthly fathers.
- Later in our text Jesus will tell us God is, in every way, different than and superior to, our earthly Fathers.
Here, Jesus tells us why?
- God, our Father, is in Heaven!
Respect: When we say in heaven, we’re recognizing God’s glory, His majesty, His sovereignty, His omniscience, His immutability, His complete otherlyness.
- I know that’s not a word but pastors and scholars make up words all the time because there are not enough words in the human language to accurately describe the nature of God.
- Otherlyness just means God is infinately different than we are.
The Bible puts it this way:
- For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)
- The place where our prayers will be answered will not be from anywhere here on earth.
- Our only hope for answered prayer is from Our Father in heaven.
Conclusion: Two things in closing:
First: This prayer is for Christians, for followers of Jesus Christ who have given their lives to God by faith in Jesus.
BUT, that means this is not a prayer for those who have yet to do that.
- You can’t call God, Father,
- when you’ve not called Jesus; Savior and Lord.
Don’t take my word on it. Listen to God’s Word:
- But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12)
If you’ve wondered why your prayers have not been answered, is it because you’re not yet God’s child.
Everyone, close your eyes, bow your heard in respect to our Father in Heaven.
Take a moment to think about your life.
- If you’ve never admitted there’ve been times you’ve done things against God and His Word…that’s sin.
- Admit it, not to me later, but to God, now.
- Tell God you believe Jesus died on the cross for your sin.
- Ask Jesus to be your Savior. To remove your sin and give you a place in heaven.
- Tell God you want Him to be first in your life.
Take some time to do that right now. We’ll wait.
Open your eyes.
- If you’ve done that, welcome to the family of God. Talk to me sometime about what the next steps are, as you learn what it means to be a child of God.
- And pray… talk to God and you will hear His voice.
Second, Because this prayer is for Christians, Christian… you should be praying.
- As your hearts break, because children are being killed by gunfire in our schools.
- As your hearts break, at the number of unborn babies aborted every year.
- As your hearts break by the heroin epidemic in our neighborhoods.
- As your hearts break by the anger and violence of racial unrest.
- If there was ever was time in history when God’s people needed to pray,
- it’s now!