Stories with Luke Week 18:

Our Father

Pastor Terry Inman

08-27-17

 

When I was a kid it was a little easier asking my mother for five bucks than my father. She was a little less intimidating to talk to, even though most of time, she would say go ask your father.

 

In chapter eleven Jesus shows us how to talk to Our Heavenly Father. I have often heard our friends of the catholic tradition refer to the Lord’s Prayer as the “Our Father”. I thought that title was a bit strange until I took a closer look at this conversation with Our Father.

 

Luke begins the story with, “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11.1 NIV)

 

Prayer was as natural as breathing for Jesus. In the Hebrew culture prayer was an expression of theology or ones beliefs. The Lord’s Prayer is an expression of faith. It is how we communicate in the Kingdom. Jesus prayed “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Prayer is how we connect with our King and His Kingdom.  

 

This is not the first time Luke mentions Jesus in prayer. (Luke 3:21-22) As Jesus was praying at his baptism the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit descended and an audible voice from heaven affirmed, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” How’s that for answered prayer!

 

Here Luke says, Jesus was praying at a certain place. When we pray in our time and space a portal opens in another place. Heaven opens, God’s Spirit comes, Our Father responds. I love you, I’m happy to hear from you.

 

This should tell us something about how “Our Father” feels when we talk to him. We should never feel distant or intimidated! He’s a loving Father!

 

Jesus provides access to the Kingdom. Let us then approach God's throne (kingdom) of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb. 4.16 NIV)

In (Ch. 6.12) Luke mentions, that Jesus went out on a hillside alone and spent the whole night in prayer. The next day he made a crucial decision. He designated twelve of his followers as His apostles!

Our Father wants to help us make good decisions. Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Prov. 3.5-6 NLT)

 

Do you need some fatherly advice? Do what Jesus does consult Our Father. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1.5 NIV)

 

The second time God affirmed His son was on the MT of Transfiguration. Again “Jesus was praying” In Ch. 9 Luke says, his face was altered, and His clothing looked like white lightning.

 

Apparitions of Moses and Elisha joined Him in a conversation about his travel plans back to His Father. Peter, James and John frightfully found themselves covered in a glory cloud. Then the Father responded again, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."

 

God talks when we pray. It’s highly unusual for it to be audible. But he does want us to learn to listen and discern his typically inaudible voice.

 

It was the common practice for Jewish scholars to instruct their students in methods of prayer. So it was only natural that one of the disciples would ask, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

 

Notice the disciple did not say teach us how to pray, he said, “teach us to pray”. That’s why Jesus doesn’t do an extensive teaching on prayer, he just prays out loud. He talks to Our Father in short intimate, respectful, meaningful and practical praises and petitions.

 

Mathew’s gospel gives us a little more background on this occasion. Before he modeled this kingdom prayer. Jesus told his disciples not to pray like the hypocrites who paraded their prayers in public.

 

Man’s attention is their only reward. Jesus said, “Closest” or private prayers are seen and rewarded by our unseen father. Public prayer is not wrong it’s just harder to avoid turning it into a religious performance.

 

Jesus also said, don’t babble—don’t carry on like the pagans who think that more words get God’s attention. “Don’t be like them”, Jesus said, “your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matt.6.5-8 NIV)

 

Sometimes we talk to God like he’s clueless and we have to tell him all about the problem and how to fix it. Who do we think we are talking too?

 

We are not talking to a religious idol we are taking the creator and sustainer of the universe. He made us, He loves us, and He knows us. He knows everything! It’s OK to tell Our Father how we feel or what we need but just keep in mind we are telling Him something He already knows!

 

Luke’s version of the prayer is a bit more condensed than Matthew’s.

Mathew follows the Lord’s Prayer with a conversation about forgiveness. This accounts for his use of the phrase “forgive us our debts” instead of Luke’s “forgive our sins”. Jesus forgave our debts. When we release people from what we think they owe us, we are also freed and forgiven.

Luke concludes this prayer with ‘Jesus parable about persistence. We will comeback to that story, but for now let’s reflect on the actual prayer.

 

Jesus initiates His prayer with endearing and respectful words.

“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.

Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. (Luke 11.2 NKJV)

 

Jesus was God’s one and only Son. We are His adopted children. Jesus death paid all the adoption fees. So we have the same good Father. “You received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8.15 NIV) That’s how Jesus address him.

Abba (dear) Father is an Aramaic term of endearment. It’s like saying dear daddy or papa! A child’s first words are often aba or dada.

 

At the end of this prayer Jesus tells a story about a man with surprise quests. He is out of bread so he wakes up his neighbor’s household.

 

It was expected of the whole community to assist with hospitality. However it was an imposition to wake up your neighbor’s family all seeping in one room, in the middle of the night. But his tenacity got a response. The neighbor gave him bread. Why? This need was critical.

On the surface it looks like if you just disturb Our Father long and loud enough he will reluctantly give you what you need. The context here suggests this parable is a comparison or contrast to a human response.

 

It may be our obligation to help someone in need. It may be inconvenient but we may respond reluctantly if pressed hard enough. Our Father willingly responds to us not reluctantly but radically and graciously!

 

So Luke says just ask! “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11.9-10 NKJV)

 

Our prayers never inconvenience God.He’s open 24 hours. He doesn’t say go away its midnight. He says, just seek, and keep on seeking and keep on finding. Knock, keep on knocking and the door will continue to open.

 

Here’s another comparison Jesus makes. “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 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!” (Luke 11.11-13 NKJV)

 

Our greatest need is for God’s presence and power. He gives us His loving, guiding empowering presence by gifting us with His Holy Spirit!

God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Rom. 5.5 NIV)

 

We are talking to a very gracious and generous Father. This is why Jesus approaches His Father with such honor. “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11.2 NKJV)

 

Hallowed means “may your name be held holy”. May your reputation be revered and respected. The first five commandments are all about honoring Our Father. Number four says, “Don’t misuse the name of the Lord your God. (Ex 20.7 NLT) This is not just about swearing. It’s about deep reverence for our Father. It’s His Kingdom and It’s His will we seek!

The blessings of His kingdom are a priority over any of our earthy needs. This is why Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matt.6.33 NLT)

 

When we pray like this we are praying from heaven to earth not earth to heaven! Ask Him to reveal His will. Agree with it and it will happen here!

 

Is it OK to ask for provision? Absolutely. That’s what the parable was all about—asking for bread? “Give us day by day our daily bread.” Luke 11.3

Bread was baked hot and served daily. They didn’t have preservatives.

 

Just like we need bread to be sustained everyday, we need the fresh bread of the Kingdom everyday. Job 23.12 says, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” Jesus is the bread of life.

Jesus said man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Are we in His word or starving spiritually?

 

Just as we are dependent our Our Father for daily bread we also need His forgiveness and protection from evil. “And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” (Luke 11.4 NKJV)

 

Receiving and giving forgiveness is critical to kingdom life. This is not the one time pardon we receive at our Spiritual birth. This is maintaining our relationship with Our Father and His family. John wrote this to believers.

 

If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1John 1.8-9 NIV)

        
The prerequisite for receiving this forgiveness is giving forgiveness!

 

Again in Matthews account, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matt. 6.14-15 NIV)

 

Let’s keep our record clear with God and others! Is there someone we may need to forgive. Maybe we can’t talk to them. We can talk to God.

 

Finally Jesus is not saying God leads us into temptation. James claims God tempts no one. We are enticed and trapped by our own desires. (James 1.14 NIV) This word “temptation” here may be better translated, testing. Don’t let our testing be the occasion for temptation and sin. We are weak and vulnerable. When were being tried keep us from falling prey to Satan.

 

This is what the Father did for Jesus in the wilderness! He delivered him from evil. David said, He prepares a table in the presence of my enemies!

When we consult Him in our suffering, He protects us from evil.  

 

Our Father is someone we can talk to all the time about everything. Talk often, talk intimately, talk respectfully, and talk confidently. Listen quietly for his answers and his affirmations.

 

Let’s pray the Our Father together…

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name.

Your Kingdom come. Your will be done.

On earth as it is in heaven.

 

Give us our daily bread, And forgive us our sins,

For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.

For yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever! AMEN