Lord, Teach Us to Pray

First Sunday/First Principles

Sunday Morning Sermon
October 1, 2017
Luke 11:1 – 13
John McKeel

Prayer

Prayer is as old as man, as universal as religion and as instinctive as breathing. It is practiced in some form by men of all faiths. Prayer springs from the heart with a need. It is man’s acknowledgement of a Being greater than himself and yet, I dare say, most of our prayer lives are sadly deficient.

The average Korean minister spends three hours every day in prayer. The average American minister spends eight minutes. Most of us spend more time brushing our teeth rather than grooming our souls.

“I don’t have time to pray.”

  1. When a family member becomes critically ill, we suddenly have time to pray.
  2. Susannah Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, had nineteen children! But she found time to pray.

The Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.

  1. Curiously, this is the only thing they specifically asked Jesus to teach them.
  2. There are many kinds of prayers in the world, but they tend to be:
    • Ritualized
    • Prescribed
    • Long
    • Meaningless repetition
    • Prayers that were to impress men rather than express their heart felt needs
  3. Perhaps the followers of John and the Pharisees each had their own “brand” of prayer.
  4. What was it that impressed these hard-working men about the prayers of Jesus?

The Model Prayer

“He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

Jesus, Luke 11:2-4

Beginning with God

  1. Jesus us taught us that prayer begins with a relationship: God is our Father.
    • This dispels fear
    • Encourages hope
    • Removes loneliness
    • Provides resources (Ephesians 1:3)
    • Demands obedience.
  2. “Hallowed be your name”
    • “There is a sense in which we should take our shoes off our feet whenever we use the name,” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
    • God’s name stands for his whole being.
    • The prayer to hallow God’s name means to make him known to the whole world.
  3. “Your kingdom come”
    • Some people have argued that this prayer is no longer relevant since the Kingdom has already come.
    • The truth is “Yes” and “No” (see Hebrews 2:5-9).

Relying on God

  1. “Give us each day our daily bread”
  2. “Forgive us our sins”
    • Our forgiveness isn’t conditional.
    • It is a condition of asking God — God will hear our prayers because we listen to him.
  3. “Lead us not into temptation”
    • God doesn’t tempt us, James 1:13
    • It is a prayer that we will not succumb to temptation.
    • It is a prayer that God lead us through temptation.

Excuses

After giving us the model prayer, Jesus deals with two big excuses: “God’s mind is already made up so why pray?” (vv. 5-10) and the unspoken belief that God is actually very harsh and unapproachable (vv. 11-13).

  1. “God’s mind is already made up – that’s why we pray ‘Thy will be done.’”
    • Jesus taught God’s door is never closed (vv. 5-8).
    • This view limits God!
      1. One of God’s laws is “gravity” and yet airplanes fly.
      2. Further, God doesn’t just set one door before us, He loves us so much that he places many opportunities in front of us.
    • There is a corollary that turns lack of prayer into an act of faith: don’t pray, endure! Yet the same person will visit a doctor when they are ill or put on a coat when it is cold.
  2. “God is actually very harsh and unapproachable.” To which Jesus responds, “God is our Father” (v. 11-13)

Conclusion

Prayer is actually the expression of a relationship. How is your relationship with God?

Published by

John McKeel

John is a teacher, author, adventurer, and the minister for GCC - the Groton Church of Christ.

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