The Lord’s disciples had just finished asking Jesus to teach them to pray, as John had taught his disciples to pray. So, the Lord told them what to say when they pray, and what he told them is now recited often by many people as what is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer.”
I don’t believe, though, that the Lord intended that they turn his prayer into something to be recited word for word, which is often now done in vain repetitions, which the Lord spoke strongly against. I believe what he intended was that this was to represent the character of their prayer to God.
They were to honor God as holy. They were to pray for the coming of his kingdom, and for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. They were to pray for him to meet all of their needs (genuine needs). And they were to pray to not be led into temptation but to be delivered from all evil.
And they were to ask for forgiveness of their sins as they also forgave those who sinned against them. For, God’s forgiveness of them was contingent on them forgiving those who sinned against them. For, if they did not forgive others, God would not forgive them their sins (Matt 6:9-15; Lu 11:1-4).
Luke 11:5-8 ESV
Jesus speaking: “And he said to them, ‘Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him”; and he will answer from within, “Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything”? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.’”
So, in continuing to teach his disciples how to pray, Jesus now turned to the subject of persistent prayer. The man received what he needed because of his unembarrassed boldness in asking for what he needed. He didn’t give up at the first sign of defeat, but he pressed on.
You know, Satan doesn’t want our prayers answered, so he will do everything he knows to do to stop us from praying, or to get us to give up easily when we face opposition. But we can’t let fear get a grip on us. Now, we need to pray according to the will of God, but we need to keep on.
We also need to not let human circumstances defeat us or convince us that our prayers will not be answered. And we need to not let others discourage us from praying for our needs, either, or for anything we might be praying for according to the will of God.
Nonetheless, we must understand here that persistence is not enough, not in itself. For, we can have our prayers hindered or accepted by the things that we do. For, we must ask in faith and not doubt, for if we doubt God, then we won’t receive what we ask for, because we are double-minded.
If we ask God for something in prayer, we may not receive what we ask for because we ask wrongly, with selfish motives, that what we receive may be used to spend on our fleshly passions. And so, the counsel here is to humble ourselves before God, to submit ourselves to him, and to purify our hearts.
And then we have instructions given to husbands that they are to live with their wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with them of the grace of life, so that their prayers may not be hindered.
We are also instructed that we must abide (remain, continue) in Christ, and that his words must abide in (stay in, inhabit) us, and then we can ask whatever we desire, and it will be done for us, and that is because we now have the mind of Christ, and his desires are now our desires.
And if we want forgiveness of our sins, we must not walk (conduct our lives in practice) in darkness (sin), but we must walk (in conduct, in practice) in the light (truth, righteousness) as God is the light, and he is in the light, then the blood of Jesus cleanses us from every sin.
[Jas 1:5-8; Jas 4:1-10; 1 Pet 3:7; Jn 15:1-11; 1 Jn 5:14-15; 1 Jn 1:5-9]
Ask, Seek, and Knock
Luke 11:9-13 ESV
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Now, we need to interpret the words of Jesus here in light of the previous passages of Scripture mentioned, because Scripture, as a whole, does not teach that all we have to do is to ask God for what we want, and it will be given to us. There are conditions for our prayers to be answered.
Also, note with me the climax of this whole passage of Scripture here. After all the instructions on persistent asking and seeking and knocking, what we receive is not stuff that we want that is of this world, but it is the Holy Spirit of God. So, all this is about asking for the Holy Spirit.
So, I want for us to look at what these words “ask,” “seek,” and “knock” mean. To ask means to request, to petition, and/or to beg. It is asking God in earnest for something we genuinely desire. And to “seek” means to search for, to desire, and to long for, so this is not a casual thing.
And to knock involves persistence, for this is hard knocking, almost like you would do if you were trying to wake someone who was in danger. There is a strong sense here of urgency and of a deep need that needs to be met, which needs to be treated immediately, without delay.
Also, if you look at the Greek, and you look at the verb tense here of these words, these are action words. They are in the present tense, and they are actively taking place. They are asking, seeking, and knocking. This is not something that takes place past tense and that is it.
Now, in the case of the Lord’s disciples, this was before Jesus died, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and then sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers. Ever since that time, all who are believing (present tense) in Jesus Christ with God-given faith have the Holy Spirit living within them.
Yet, not everyone who merely professes the name of Jesus has the Holy Spirit, but only those who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, who have been reborn of the Spirit of God, and who are now walking (in conduct) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
For, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (live in practice) in sin, we are liars who do not live by the truth. It is only as we walk (in conduct) in the light (truth, righteousness) that we are cleansed of our sins, and we have the hope of eternal life with God. So, seek him earnestly!
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
The Great Redeemer
Lyrics by Francis Foster, 1915
Music by Samuel W. Beazley, 1915
How I love the great Redeemer
Who is doing so much for me;
With what joy I tell the story
Of the love that makes men free.
Till my earthly life is ended,
I will send songs above,
Then beside the crystal sea
More and more my soul shall be
Praising Jesus and His love.
He has purchased my redemption,
Rolled my burden of sin away,
And is walking on beside me,
Growing dearer day by day.
That is why I sing His praises,
That is why joy is mine,
That is why forevermore
On the everlasting shore
I shall sing of love divine.
Glory be to Him forever!
Endless praises to Christ the Lamb!
He has filled my life with sunshine,
He has made me what I am.
Oh, that everyone would know Him,
Oh, that all would adore!
Oh, that all would trust the love
Of the mighty Friend above
And be His forevermore.
He is everything to me, to me,
He is everything to me,
And everything shall always be;
I will never cease to raise
A song of gladness in His praise;
Here, and in the world above,
My soul shall sing of saving love;
Life and light and joy is He,
The precious Friend who died for me.
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