Today marks the end of our class on prayer. I’m so glad you took the time to join Shereen and me as we walked through the Lord’s Prayer with you these past 10 weeks. I’m also grateful to those of you who participated throughout the class by joining in our discussion. As promised, I will be drawing from among all the participants for a winner of our grand prize. I’ll announce that name in next week’s blog.
In Luke 11, Jesus finishes his instruction on prayer with the following parable:
Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11: 5-13 (NLT)
We delight in giving our children what they need and what they want. Yet as good parents we don’t always give our children exactly what they ask for. Sometimes, in our greater wisdom, we know what they want could hurt them, so we say, “No.” Sometimes they aren’t mature enough for what they’ve asked to have—i.e. to drive a car, to own a cell phone. So we say, “Wait.”
Have you ever noticed how much waiting there is in the Bible?
- Abraham and Sarah
- the children of Israel waiting for deliverance from Babylon and entrance into Promised Land
- Jacob for Rachel
- Hannah for Samuel
- David for his kingdom
- Joseph in jail.
Why do you think that is? Could it be waiting is God’s way of growing our faith? Helping us mature?
So what can we learn about prayer from this story? Jesus invites us to be persistent—to come boldly with our requests. He also reminds us once again who it is that listens to our prayers. The one hearing our requests is not some Genie in a Bottle obligated to grant our every wish. Nor is he a cranky neighbor who may or may not choose to answer based solely on his own comfort. Our God is a loving, all-knowing Father who delights in giving His children good gifts.
Trust in that.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
GOING DEEPER (for personal study)
Before you leave this study take a moment to review. Watch the following video: . Then jot down each section of the Lord’s Prayer and summarize what you learned about prayer next to each one.
“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.”
DISCUSSION (please share your answer with all of us by leaving a reply we all can read)
What is your greatest “take-away” about prayer after having taken this class?