Luke 11:1-13

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

March 28, 2001

:1  And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

prayingproseuchomai – to offer prayers, to pray.  Present participle.

ceasedpauo – to make to cease or desist; to restrain a thing or person from something; to cease, to leave off

teachdidasko – to teach; to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses; to impart instruction; to explain or expound a thing

to pray – The disciples doesn’t ask, “teach us how to pray”, but “teach us to pray”.

Jesus had already taught His disciples these principles concerning prayer back in the Sermon on the Mount (Mat. 6).

But for some reason, this time the disciples are motivated by Jesus’ example of prayer and want to know more.

They apparently had also been impressed by John’s disciples’ reputation for praying:

Lu 5:33  And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise [the disciples] of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink?


Your example is important

Sometimes as we are trying to teach others, the ideas we are trying to communicate don’t quite seem to get through.
But when they see us actually doing the thing we’ve been talking about, and we do it over and over and over again, sometimes our example gets through.

:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say,

What Jesus is giving us is a pattern of prayer.  He’s not giving us exact words that we are to repeat over and over again like a ritual.  Jesus had taught –

(Mat 6:7 KJV)  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

And so we have the “Lord’s Prayer” which some like to call “The Disciples’ Prayer” because it is how the Lord taught the disciples to pray.


Learn by doing

The best way to learn to pray is to pray.  Learn to pray when you are alone.  Learn to pray when you are with others.  Learn to pray when you are at church.  But above all, pray.
Don’t be afraid of stepping out.  You’ll never break the ice until you try.
It is my greatest desire to make Wednesday nights be the easiest place in the world for you to try and learn to pray.


Prayer is speaking

It is not some kind of religious bunch of hocus-pocus.  You are talking to someone.  You are “speaking” to God.

:2  Our Father which art in heaven,


Who are you talking to?

It is God, our Father in heaven that we are talking to.
We aren’t just saying words out into the air.
We aren’t addressing it to “whomever hears this in heaven”.
We are talking to God the Father.
I believe that we need to remember just how awesome our God, the Creator, it.
(Eccl 5:2 KJV)  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
When we realize whom we are talking to, the result is humility.
(Luke 18:10-14 KJV)  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. {11} The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. {12} I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. {13} And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. {14} I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Sometimes we are like the Pharisee who “prayed thus with himself”.  We’re only talking to ourselves, or worse yet, we are really trying to impress those around us.

It’s especially hard when you are praying in a group to keep the focus of your prayer to be addressed to God.  Sometimes we are more concerned about getting a message across to someone, sometimes we are trying to impress others by giving them an idea of how spiritual we are.

Address your prayers to God.

Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary, Bill Moyers, was saying grace at a staff lunch, and the President shouted, “Speak up, Bill! I can’t hear a thing!” Moyers quietly replied, “I wasn’t addressing you, Mr. President.”

I think that when we are in a group, it’s good to speak up and speak clearly so others can agree with you in prayer, but you’re not speaking to them, you’re speaking to God.

:2  Hallowed be thy name.

hallowedhagiazo – to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow; to separate from profane things and dedicate to God; to purify.  Aorist passive imperative.  “Let Your name be holy”

We need to treat God’s name as holy, as different.

The Jews had a concept of this.  As they copied the Old Testament manuscripts, instead of writing out the actual name, Yahweh, they felt they were too unclean to be able to even mention let alone write God’s name, and so they would write the consonants of “Yahweh”, but they would pronounce “Adonai”, or, “Lord”.

Though I don’t think we ought to be afraid of saying God’s name, I think we could use a little more awe and reverence towards God’s name.

:2  Thy kingdom come.

come – Aorist active imperative.  “Let Your kingdom come.”

We are looking forward to God’s kingdom being established on earth.  We are looking forward to the return of Jesus to the earth.

I think we see this prayer beginning to be answered in:

(Rev 8:3-6 KJV)  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. {4} And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. {5} And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. {6} And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.

:2  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

This phrase is not found in the modern translations (Greek textual differences)

be done – aorist passive imperative.  “Let it be done”

willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

Let Your will be done as in heaven also upon the earth


Submit to God’s will

There are people who teach that it lacks faith to say, “Not my will, but Yours be done”.  Yet, that is exactly what Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane.
The true purpose of prayer is to get God’s will done on earth, not yours or mine.
John wrote,

(1 John 5:14-15 KJV)  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: {15} And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

I think that one of the processes that occur in prayer is a sort of sifting.
As we honestly place our requests under the control of God’s will, we can find out that our request is not His will.  As we bring our request into the light, we find that our request has all sorts of mud and yucky motives coating it.  As we wash off our request in God’s Word, we can find that there’s really nothing left.
Sometimes the process of praying helps us to understand what God’s will is and what it isn’t.

:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

givedidomi – to give; to give something to someone; to grant or permit one; Present active imperative.

dailyepiousios – “for the coming day” (Robertson)


Ask for your needs

Some people feel that it’s too selfish to ask God for their own needs, yet this is exactly what Jesus taught us to do.
Usually we just worry about our needs.  But Paul said,
(Phil 4:6-7 NLT)  Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. {7} If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

God’s remedy for our anxiety is prayer.  If I worry a lot, I need to learn to pray a lot.  I need to learn to put these requests into God’s hands.


Get to the point

Sometimes I kind of get the idea that we spend a lot of time trying to inform God about our situation instead of asking.
What are you asking God to do?

:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.

forgiveaphiemi – to send away; to bid going away or depart; to let go, give up a debt, forgive, to remit

every onepas – individually; each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything

indebtedopheilo – to owe; to owe money, be in debt for; that which is due, the debt


Get right with God

When I have sin in my life that isn’t cleaned up, it will hinder my relationship with God.
(Psa 66:18 KJV)  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
(Isa 59:1-2 KJV)  Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: {2} But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
One of the things that will naturally occur if I am ACTUALLY praying to God, being aware of His presence, is that I will become acutely aware that I’ve got sin that needs to be cleaned up.
Prayer is a time to get right with God.
John writes,

(1 John 1:9 KJV)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Don’t worry that you just asked for forgiveness three minutes ago, do it again!


Get right with others

If we are going to expect God to forgive us, we need to be also forgiving others.
Jesus said,
(Mat 6:14-15 KJV)  For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: {15} But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
He also said,
(Mat 5:23-24 KJV)  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; {24} Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Sometimes I’ve hurt others and I need to seek their forgiveness.  Before I come to God, I ought to get things right with others.

Sometimes I’m holding off forgiving others.  Learn to forgive.

:4  And lead us not into temptation;

lead useisphero – to bring into, in or to; to lead into

temptationpeirasmos – an experiment, attempt, trial, proving; the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy; an enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the outward circumstances

God does not lead people into temptation.  God does not tempt us.

(James 1:13 KJV)  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

A better translation would be, “Do not allow us to be led into temptation”, or “keep me away from the place of temptation”.


Be prepared for temptation

I think that part of this involves learning to have a mindset that I’m aware that I’m going to face temptations today.  I’m in a much healthier place if I’m willing to acknowledge before God that I know I’m weak.

:4  but deliver us from evil.

Not in the modern translations (Greek manuscript differences)

deliverrhoumai – to draw to one’s self, to rescue, to deliver

evilponeros – full of labours, annoyances, hardships; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad; the evil one

:5  The Friend at midnight

:5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;

a friendphilos – friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well

midnightmesonuktion (“middle” + “night”) – midnight

lendchrao – to lend (not as a business transaction with interest, but as a friend)

:6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

:7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.

troublekopos – a beating; a beating of the breast with grief, sorrow; labour; trouble; to cause one trouble, make work for him; intense labour united with trouble and toil

childrenpaidion – a young child, a little boy, a little girl; infants; children, little ones

I cannotdunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

Don’t be too tough on this neighbor.  In those days the whole family slept together.  You know how hard it is sometimes to get the kids to go to bed.  Now the kids are finally asleep and this guy shows up and wants you to do something that might wake them back up.  In addition, people in those days often had their animals sleep in the house with them as well – the cow, the chickens, etc.

:8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

importunity anaideia – shamelessness, impudence; the opposite of aidos - a sense of shame or honour, modesty, bashfulness, reverence, regard for others, respect


Learn to keep asking shamelessly

There are going to be times when we are tempted to quit praying for something because we are afraid we’re just wasting our time, or worse yet, we’re wasting God’s time.
These are the times we need to keep asking.
Abraham did.  When Abraham found out that God planned on destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, he became concerned because his nephew Lot was still living in Sodom.  So Abraham began to ask God …
(Gen 18:23-33 KJV)  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? {24} Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? {25} That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? {26} And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. {27} And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: {28} Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. {29} And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. {30} And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. {31} And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. {32} And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. {33} And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

Abraham realised he was acting kind of brashly with God, yet he kept asking.

The Canaanite woman did.  Her daughter was being tormented by a demon.  She needed Jesus’ help …
(Mat 15:22-28 KJV)  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. {23} But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. {24} But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. {25} Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. {26} But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs. {27} And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. {28} Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Even though she was told by Jesus’ followers to go away, she kept at it.  Even when the Lord gave her a reason why He could not help, she kept asking.  In the end, Jesus rewarded her for her faith.

:9-11  Keep Asking

:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

askaiteo – to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require.  The verb is a present active imperative – the idea is to ask continually, keep asking.

it shall be givendidomi – to give.  Future passive indicative

seekzeteo – to seek in order to find; to seek i.e. require, demand; to crave, demand something from someone.  The verb is also present active imperative – seek continually, keep seeking.

findheurisko – to come upon, hit upon, to meet with; to find out for one’s self, to acquire, get, obtain.  Verb is future indicative, it will happen.

knockkrouo – to knock: at the door.  Verb is present active indicative, keep knocking.

I think the idea of the parable is still going here, the idea of the friend knocking on the door.

it shall be openedanoigo – to open.  Future indicative.

:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

every onepas – individually; each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything


Do I get everything I ask for?

This is all still under the context of learning to pray for God’s will to be done.
If I am persistent in asking for the things that God wants, I will see them happen.
I think it is also very possible that we may not be receiving all that God wants for us because we have stopped asking.

:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?

:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

These are very, very silly pictures.

:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

evilponeros – full of labours, annoyances, hardships; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad

All of us human fathers are “evil”.  We are sinful.

goodagathos – of good constitution or nature; useful, salutary; good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy; excellent, distinguished; upright, honourable

giftsdoma – a gift

how muchposos – how great; how much; how many

moremallon – more, to a greater degree, rather

shall give – future active indicative

that askaiteo – to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require.  Present participle – continuous action.


Ask for the Holy Spirit

The greatest gift is the Holy Spirit being upon you.
It is God’s will for you to have the Holy Spirit’s power.
So ask.
You shouldn’t be afraid of what God is going to do for you when you ask for the Holy Spirit.  You don’t need to be afraid of opening up your heart to the Spirit of God.