Read Luke 11:1-13
In this portion of Luke, Jesus had just returned from a private time of prayer when He was approached by one of His disciples. "Lord, teach us to pray," the disciple said. Reading from the New Living Translation of the Bible, here’s Jesus' answer...
"This is how you should pray: Father, may Your name be honored. May Your Kingdom come soon. Give us our food day by day. And forgive our sins – just as we forgive those who have sinned against us. And don't let us yield to temptation." Luke 11:2-4 (NLT)
This prayer starts off with God's holiness, moves to God's faithfulness, touches on His forgiveness, and ends with His protection. The Amplified Bible concludes this portion by saying, "And bring us not into temptation but rescue us from evil." In essence, to take a stand against evil, selfishness, and unforgiveness should be a matter of prayer. And because the evil one is like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8) with an insatiable appetite, to stand against him requires strength. Divine strength. Strength of which our human nature just can’t get enough. Which leads us to another important point made by Jesus. This time we find Him stressing the point of persistence.
"For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened." Luke 11:10 (The Amplified Bible)
Persistence. God expects it of us. Invites it from us. If only we weren’t so lazy in our attempt at prayer. It’s kind of like the little girl who, after days of trying, finally learned how to tie her own shoes. Only, instead of being excited, she broke into tears. Her father asked her, "Why are you crying? You finally tied your own shoes! That's great!" "I know," she sobbed, "but I'm gonna have to do it for the rest of my life."
Coming to God, asking Him for what we need isn't a one-time event. And it’s not to be done reluctantly. Look at verse 10 again, but this time from the Message version of the Bible. Using everyday language, Eugene Peterson plainly addresses how we are to approach God.
"Ask and you'll get; Seek and you'll find; Knock and the door will open. Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. Luke 11:10 (The Message)
Be direct. Ask for what you need. God is just waiting to hear from you. To quote the old Star Trek TV show, prayer is to boldly go where no man... deserves to go. But to go anyway. Because we know we've been invited.
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