Luke 11:1-13 (ESV)
1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
5 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, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 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’? 8 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. 9 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. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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!”
For this month’s Prayer Guide, practice using the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4) as a guide to spur you into prayer for yourself, for the church, and for our friends and neighbors from Monday-Wednesday.
That’s the first feature of the prayer. We are to address God as “Father” (cf. Matt. 6:9). A “father” is an authority figure, so there should be an appropriate reverence for God as we approach Him in prayer, but a “father” is also an endearing figure, so there is a sense of intimacy as well. This is a particular privilege for believers. John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive [Jesus Christ], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Only those who believe in Jesus Christ for salvation are given the right to become children of God.
While, there are Biblical examples of praying to God the Son (Acts 1:24; 7:59; cf. cf. 2 Cor. 12:8; Rev. 22:20), and historical examples of praying to God the Spirit , the predominant Biblical pattern is to pray to God the Father, through the Son (John 16:23-24), and in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26-27). Two verses in Ephesians captures this Trinitarian nature of prayer. Ephesians 5:18-20 says that we should “be filled with the Spirit … giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 2:18 says, “For through [Jesus] we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” When we pray, we get caught up in the communion and communication of the Triune God Himself. We are in the throne room of God the Father, speaking through Jesus our Mediator, in the Spirit of God who is by our side.
“Hallowed Be Your Name”
The name of God represents God, it stands for who He is, so to pray, “hallowed be your name,” is to pray that God would be “honored as holy.” “Holy,” means “set apart,” or “consecrated.” Therefore, prayer is not about manipulating God for our purposes. It’s not about therapeutic catharsis. Its purpose is to glorify God. Many religions see humanity’s relationship with God as a patron-client relationship. You offer your prayers, you make your sacrifices, in order to secure the goodwill of your patron and acquire the services of deity for yourself. God exists to answer to us, to make much of us. We are the center of His universe. But Christian prayer teaches precisely the opposite. God is special; we are ordinary. God is holy; we are common. We answer to God, we exist to make much of God. He is the center of our universe!
“Your Kingdom Come”
The kingdom of God is the realm of God’s dominion. It refers to God’s rule. So where there is a people who are ruled by God, submitted to Him, there you encounter the Kingdom of God. This prayer, then, is for the culmination, or fulfillment, of God’s promised rule, that’s God’s kingdom program would be worked out in every corner of the earth, that God’s rule of justice and righteousness would be extended over every area of life. What would it look like for God’s Kingdom to come to fruition in your life, in our church, and among our neighbors?
“Give Us Each Day Our Daily Bread”
It is God who sustains us, so we must come to God for both physical and spiritual provision. A petition for to “Give us each day our daily bread” assumes a “daily” companionship with God. We don’t just seek God in crises, we seek God everyday. This prayer for “daily bread” has in view God’s provision of manna for Israel in the wilderness. Exodus 16 tells us that when Israel was going through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, they had no food to eat, and that God provided bread from heaven called manna, daily with the dew of the morning. The point of it was that God wanted Israel to live daily by faith, and look to Him daily for provision. Pray that God will keep your eyes fixed on Him daily for provision, and pray for your physical and spiritual needs today, as well as on behalf of the church and our neighborhood.
“And Forgive Us Our Sins”
As sinful people who are not yet perfected in the image of Christ, we will fail to hallow God’s name, seek God’s Kingdom, and depend on God for daily bread, so it should be the habit of the Christian to confess sins and seek God’s forgiveness. We are to ask God for forgiveness our sins, and the reason why we are able to approach God and seek His forgiveness is that “we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”
Earlier in Luke 6:31, Jesus commanded us, “as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Then, in Luke 6:37-38, Jesus further explained, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.” The implied subject of these passive verbs is God. If we do not self-righteously judge and condemn others, God will not judge or condemn us. If we forgive others, God will forgive us. God will treat us the way we treat others, not because our good works is the basis for our salvation, but because our good works is the evidence of our salvation. This is why we are commanded in Ephesians 4:32 to “forgiv[e] one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” It’s because God has already forgiven us that we are to forgive one another. God’s forgiveness is the basis for our forgiveness. For this reason, when we don’t forgive others, God will judge us as unforgiven people. Are you withholding forgiveness from someone in your heart? What sins is the Holy Spirit convicting you of that you can confess to God today?
“Lead Us Not Into Temptation”
The prayer for pardon from sin flows naturally into prayer for protection so that we might be kept from further sins. God never tempts us to sin (James 1:13) but because He has the power to fortify us and guide us away from sin, we should pray to Him in this way. It’s an admission of weakness, an admission that apart from God’s intervention on our behalf, we are powerless to withstands the temptations that come our way. Pray for spiritual protection for yourself and for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for protection from the temptations that lead them to their besetting sins.