Teach Us to Pray

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There have been many sermons on the Lord’s Supper. In the early church, such notables as Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Tertullian, Cyril of Jerusalem, and Cyprian published expositions of the Lord’s Prayer. Later the greatest of the ancient theologians, Augustine, followed suit. The poet Dante devoted the eleventh canto of his Purgatorio to the Lord’s Prayer. Meister Eckhart, the medieval Dominican mystic and theologian, used the categories of the Lord’s Prayer to sum up scholastic theology. Martin Luther preached a volume of exposition on the Lord’s Prayer. And the famous Westminster Catechism of the Presbyterian churches bases its last nine questions on the Lord’s Prayer. Millions of hours of intense study have been devoted to these verses by centuries of successive genius.[1]
  [1] R. Kent Hughes, Luke: That You May Know the Truth, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 402–403.
We find that the Lord is praying, and the disciples want to be taught how to pray. It is fascinating that you can ask the Lord anything as he is sitting right beside them, and they want to know how to pray. This is a common expression of many Christians that they want to be taught prayer. They want to pray better or feel like the way they pray is wrong or not fulfilling.

But what is God teaching in this text about prayer?

There are basic facts found in this text. We are to pray to God the Father. In his Greater Catechism, Luther asked, “How is it [God’s Name] hallowed amongst us?” Answer: “When our life and doctrine are truly Christian.” For Jesus, he gave up his life on the cross, obeying the Father’s will. How do we hallow his name as Father? With our lips both privately and publicly.
In this text, we pray for the kingdom to come. We pray for our daily nourishment. We ask the Lord to forgive us of our sins as we forgive others who have wronged us. We ask the Father for strength when temptation comes to glorify God in our struggles with sin.
But this section in vv. 5-13 answers some lingering questions about prayer that will help you and me understand the importance of prayer in our lives.


Let’s say you had a long day, everyone is asleep, and you are about to fall asleep when the doorbell rings. It’s an old friend that you haven’t seen in years who is a family friend but is in need of some food. You don’t have any, so you decide to go to the Lead Pastor’s house because they have a full refrigerator all the time. Let me remind you it’s close to midnight at this point. As Americans, this is not normal behavior, but not many people would like being wake up in the middle of the night for just some food.
The culture was big on being able to host for your guests. What you read in verses 5-8 goes on both the person asking for bread and the person being asked had a responsibility to provide for their guest. The persistence or shamelessness of the man will get up and give him as much as he needs.
Suppose a grouchy friend can be forced by his friend’s persistence to give what he should; how much more will our loving God respond to our persistence in asking for what we need? When we pray according to his standards and purposes, we can be bold.

Ask, Seek, Knock

There is an earnestness here from these words in ascending order. Why would someone pray with this much earnestness?
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 
Hebrews 5:7, ESV
I think your prayer life reveals how much you believe God will answer. I think your prayer life reveals how much you trust God with the struggles and needs of your life.

Good Gifts

Verses 11 and 12 aren’t difficult to grasp. Any good parent will not give their child something that will cause them harm. We can affirm that every parent is sinful. They are not perfect. They make mistakes, and they don’t raise their kids perfectly. But Jesus says in verse 13, “If you then, being evil, 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?
This should remind us what a blessed people we are. God gives good gifts, and we should expect Him to give good gifts. We are able to pray to him boldly, making our needs known to the Lord. We should pray passionately following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and others like Jacob, Nehemiah, and Paul.
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