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Luke 1:1-38
Luke 1:39-80 Luke 2:1-38 Luke 2:39 - 3:17 Luke 3:19-4:23 Luke 4:14-5:11
Luke 5:12-26 Luke 5:27 6:11 Luke 6:12-49 Luke 7:1-23 Luke 7:24-50 Luke 8:1-18
Luke 8:19-40
Luke 8:40-56 Luke 9:1-27 Luke 9:26-50 Luke 9:51 to 10:24 Luke 10:25-42
Luke 11:1-13 Luke 11:14-44 Luke 12:1-21 Luke 12:22-48 Luke 12:49 - 13:17 Luke 13:18-35
Luke 14:7-35 Luke 15:1-10 Luke 15:11-32 Luke 15:24-32 Luke 16:13-31 Luke 17:1-26
Luke 17:26-37 Luke 18:9-27 Luke 18:31-43 Luke 19:1-27 Luke 19:28-48 Luke 20:1-26
Luke 20: 27-47 Luke 21: 5-36 Luke 22: 1-20 Luke 22:21-34 Luke 22: 35-53 Luke 22: 54-71
Luke 23: 13-43 Luke 23: 43-56 Luke 24: 1-35 Luke 24: 36-53    
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Luke 11:1-13

 

Opening Prayer

 

“…we pray, as we continue.  And remember to pray for the young man, I think he was 39 years old, that ran into them, I think he was drunk, his lights were out, yes, right, killed them both.  I heard the senior pastor’s wife say ‘We didn’t have anything against him, we’re praying for him, that they’re hoping to get a chance to talk to him.  So, that’s a tough ministry.  I heard there’s a lady at Costa Mesa, a few years ago, someone got her in the parking lot of a mall, out in the dark, raped her, and cut her throat, left her for dead.  And she survived after being in critical condition, and they stitched her back together, and she refused to press charges, what was in the paper went and led the guy to Christ, and he comes to the church now.  Frank said, ‘That’s a tough ministry, you wouldn’t want to do one of those more than every ten years.’  Once every ten years, you know, so, it’s a load to think ‘My husband’s gone, my kid’s father is gone, Lord, this person that did this needs your love and needs the Gospel,’ that’s a remarkable load to bear.  So just, ‘Father we settle our hearts, we know you’re overhearing all of this, Lord, and Lord you say death is precious in the eyes of the Lord, the death of a saint.  Lord, these two young men you’ve gathered to yourself, in your sovereignty Lord, we bow the knee, it’s hard for us to understand, Lord.  You know the senior pastor, father, has left behind a wife and children.  Father I pray for those kids, that you put a hedge about their emotions, and Lord, as they grow, that none of this tragedy would keep them from you, Father, that Satan wouldn’t lie to them about your love and your goodness.  Father we pray for your arms, Lord, to be around them, the entire congregation, Lord, that you strengthen them, be gracious to them.  Lord, make us wise, whatever we might do to help, to pray for them, Lord, to minister to them.  And Lord, we are glad in light of these things that you are coming, Lord, that you’re coming, that you’re returning, Lord, to set up your Kingdom, and Lord, that so many things around us in the world that we live in are harking of your return, beckoning us to lift up our hearts, our minds, our heads, because we know Lord our redemption is drawing near.  Lord we pray that in the precious hours that are left, Lord, that by your grace we would be more committed than we’ve ever been Lord, without compromise, Lord, let us walk with you and be sold-out Lord, to serve you Lord, to spend ourselves on behalf of your kingdom, Lord, to discover a new vitality in our own love and fellowship with you.  Lord I pray that for myself, for all of us.  We look to you Lord, make your Word alive to us.  We thank you that we can gather in a public building and sing your praises, study your Word Lord, and encourage one another that we can gather and look for your presence, for your Spirit to minister to our hearts as we’re gathered. And we do that Lord, we settle our own hearts before you, Lord, quickly, for a moment, all of those sins that so easily beset us, Lord, we quickly confess, as we continue.  Lord we just desire to clear the air, that your Spirit might move among us, as we continue, in Jesus name, amen.’

 

“Lord, Teach Us To Pray”

 

Luke chapter 11, I’m going to read the first thirteen verses and then we’ll look at it. “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.  And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.  And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.  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; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?  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. 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.  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.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  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?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer a scorpion?  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?”  Again, we come to this place where the disciples come to Jesus and ask him, ‘Teach us to pray.’  And again, no doubt, they are observing him.  This is the fifth time, I believe, in Luke so far it tells us that Jesus was alone praying.  And we should take note of that.  John the Baptist prayed.  And he was filled with the Holy Ghost [Spirit] before he was born [as Jesus Christ was], set aside for a particular ministry.  And the Bible says he was the greatest prophet that ever lived, of all the Old Testament prophets.  Elijah was a man who prayed, filled with the Holy Ghost, prayed.  Jesus, the Son of God, prayed.  And if they made that part a of their relationship with the Father, how much more need we to pray? 

 

Our Messed Up Sterile Concepts of Prayer

 

And when we talk about that, I think that, know I can speak for myself, and I think a lot of us have years of impressions that have been placed on our minds of what prayer is, and how prayer sounds, and what prayer looks like, and even the position that somebody should be in, if your words are going to reach heaven.  And even maybe the tone of the voice that you should use, if your prayer is serious.  ‘OH FAATHER, WE BESEEECH THEEE, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY GHOST…AH…’  A little Lawrence Welk there.  You know, so many of us grew up in an environment at church that was sterile, and prayer was part of that, part of the liturgy or part of the environment, but that the whole thing was sterile. 

 

Something Was Different About Jesus’ Prayers

 

And they’re coming to Jesus from that kind of an environment, they had been taught to pray, the Pharisees would teach prayers to people that were written out, ‘This is a prayer you pray for birth, this is a prayer you pray for death, this is the kind of prayer you pray for this…’  And it’s the same thing, we’re very sterile.  And they’re coming to Jesus, and it says, “When he finished praying” no doubt they’re observing him,  and they say “teach us to pray.”  And again, you want to note that, because it’s the only place in all four Gospels where the disciples ask him to teach them anything.  And again, imagine that.  Imagine if you’re an art student being with Michael Angelo, and say ‘Teach me to do this.’  Or if you are a musician, and being able to hang out with John Coltrane, and somebody would say, ‘Teach me this.’  You know, imagine these guys being with the Messiah, with God in human flesh, with Jesus.  And isn’t it interesting, they don’t come and say ‘Teach me that walking on water thing.’  Or ‘Teach me how to divide those loaves and fishes, we could go a long way with this.’  Or ‘Teach me how to catch a fish with a coin in his mouth every time.’  Just think of the things that they didn’t ask.  Because, I believe they realized, when Jesus prayed, it wasn’t a sterile prayer, it wasn’t an environment where you go to services and leave and everything is dry and sterile and seems phony.  They beheld him praying, and when he prayed, they knew there was real concourse between him and heaven, they heard the tone of his voice, they saw the tears in his eyes, they heard him pour out his heart before the Father, they knew that something was going on.  No doubt they would hear him talk, and they would watch him pause, and listen, because prayer is not just a monologue, prayer is a dialogue, where we pour out our hearts, and we try to keep the ears of our hearts open, that he might speak back to us.  And from time to time you know that happens, and then we’re saying ‘Lord, is that you?  Or is that the Spirit, is that the flesh, is it the enemy, Lord, is that you speaking to me?’  We’re all growing there, learning what that is like, because he is intangible, we don’t hear his voice audibly, but we know and believe he speaks to our hearts.  And when they watched Jesus, they saw something, and they knew that his healing ministry was borne out of that place, his connection to heaven.  They knew that everything else he did was borne out of that place, which was his connection to heaven.  When he spoke, and even his enemies would come back and say, ‘Never spake a man like this before.’  They knew by observation, this is borne out of his connection with heaven.  So they go to him and they say, “Teach us to pray.”  Now, they don’t say ‘Teach us how to pray.’  That’s important again, because they knew How to pray.  Literally it’s ‘Teach us to be praying, make us pray-ers.  Make us people who pray.’  Not ‘How to pray’, all we need is one more book on ‘How to Pray.’  We buy millions of books on how to pray, and we read books on how to pray.  What we don’t do is pray.  I heard someone say, on the West Coast Chuck Smith always tells me when there’s a good earthquake, church is jammed that Sunday.  And I heard one guy say, ‘The Lord probably hears a lot of unfamiliar voices on those days.’  ‘Teach us to be praying, we see what happens with you.  Teach us to be like that.’ 

 

‘Our Father, Abba, Daddy’---Prayer is based on relationship

 

And Jesus will say to them, ‘OK, when you pray, pray in this wise, ‘Our Father…’  And he begins there.  And then he goes to a parable about a friend, then he goes to the relationship between father and son, or father and child.  Jesus immediately takes this whole idea of prayer and says to them, this is something that is based on relationship.  And if you don’t realize it, you will never pray, you will never be someone who prays.  And again, you and I take it for granted, we’ve said it for years, ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…  we know it.  When they heard this, maybe they expected him to say, ‘When you pray, do it like this, Yahweh-God, or Jehovah.’  When they heard him say ‘When you pray do this, Our Father’, again, that was revolutionary to them.  Because Moses or Elijah or any of the prophets, none of the great men of God had ever looked to heaven and said ‘Father.’  Not only that, remarkably, when they listened to Jesus in Gethsemane, I’m sure at other times again, they heard him say Abba.  And so impressed were they, that that word is not given to us in the Greek.  They don’t even translate it to the Greek word for father, they give us the Aramaic, the Hebrew, the words were similar.  When you go to Israel today you’ll hear the little kids saying, you know here they say Dadda, or Dad or Daddy.  You’ll hear them over there saying, Abba, Abba, Abba.  It is a word of familiarity, it is a word that’s better translated Dad or Daddy.  But because of all the baggage I brought from  growing up in the Church, you know, and stained glass windows, and incense, and Omini and Domini, and we kind of go ‘Oh God’s a big Spook that’s up there.’  It almost seems irreverent for me to say ‘Dad.’  And even sometimes now, I struggle when I’m alone, to say Dad, yet in my own heart I’m saying it.  And it tells us in Galatians chapter 4 and Romans chapter 8 that the very Spirit of sonship, of adoption is in our hearts crying and, and they used the word that he used, Abba, Father.  And they don’t even give us the Greek word for Dad.  And again, if I wrote that verse it would be blasphemous, but God has the right through his Holy Spirit to tell us, yes, in your heart, it may even seem irreverent, but in your heart there’s a spirit of sonship, you’re not just adopted, it’s the spirit of adoption, but it’s more than that, you’re born ones, you’re born into the Kingdom, you have the very nature of My Son [Jesus is saying through Paul], you have the very Divine nature that’s given to you.  So it isn’t just ‘Father’ in a sterile way.  There is within us a cry, and we may verbalize it as Father.  But our wonder, on his throne in glory, what he feels in his own heart, when he hears us say, ‘Dad’ or ‘Abba.’ 

 

Our Artificial “have to’s” of Prayer

 

And you see, we’ve taken prayer, and we’ve made it something else.  You have to pray with your hands folded.’  You ever wonder why?  I mean, is there something that goes on with some power, the Holy Ghost zooming back and forth from…is this what happens?  ‘And you know, you have to bow your head.’  We understand that, he says he bends his knees before the Father, there’s a reverence to that.  ‘But you have to close your eyes when you pray.’  You ever wonder why people tell you these things?  You know, Jesus always looked to heaven.  You know, if you clasp your hands, you’re not fiddling with anything else, that’s why they tell you to fold your hands [he’s saying this facetiously], you stay out of trouble.  You’ve just shut off one distraction.  And close your eyes, you know if you’ve got kids at home you know when you say grace, ‘I saw Josh, he had his eyes open!  How’d you see him!?’ [laughter]  I mean, I love to pray, just looking at the ceiling or looking in the sky.  I love to pray in the car.  You know, the Bible says “Pray without ceasing.”  Now you can’t drive down the street with your hands folded and your eyes closed, because everybody else seems to be driving like that [yes,  with their hands folded around a cell-phone], so you have to be alert, you have to be on your toes.  And I need to pray in traffic, I need to stay sanctified there.  [Something tells me Pastor Joe has a very low tolerance for idiots on the road, and idiots in general J ]  But you know we’ve taken prayer and we’ve sterilized it.  And not only that, then we’ve done things like ‘You have to have a devotional life.’   Well that’s a great thing, I think we should have one.  But we’ve legalized it, every morning, for half and hour, ‘How’s your devotional life?’  Paul compares the Church to the Bride of Christ.  Imagine if my wife and I communicated, ‘Honey, from now on, every morning, from five to five-thirty, we’ll talk.  That’s it, that’s our devotion, 5:00 to 5:30, every morning.’  Now it goes on all day long, the phone rings, I can walk into a Radio Shack and the phone rings, and they say ‘Are you Mr. Focht?’  Somehow she’s got radar, she knows where I am, we’re in communication all day long [that’s the way a good marriage ought to be, if possible, and cell-phones make that possible], that’s a relationship, all day.  And Jesus is beginning to say, ‘If you want to be people who pray, you have to understand what it is, and it has to begin in this place, Our Father.’  And again, I mentioned last week, E.M. Bounds, he writes five volumes on prayer.  And I think you should read them, they’re great [I have a whole section on prayer, a bit shorter than E.M. Bounds five volumes.  I’ll have a link to the prayer section of this site at the end of this sermon transcript].  But before he died he said he wasn’t happy with his prayer-life.  I think that’s a lot of reading to get where he got.

 

The Seven Steps of Prayer---is it a hard-and-fast rule for prayer?

 

And then we do this, ‘Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise’ the seven steps or prayer.  You know what, I’m telling you something, when I pray, I would get to the third step, I’d be confused, forgot where I started, I can’t hack that.  Imagine me telling my kids, ‘No, no, no, you skipped step five, you can’t talk to me, you’ve got to back up, start over again, the seven steps into Daddy’s presence.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, ‘Oh thank you Daddy for paying the gas bill, thank you for the food in the refrigerator, thank you for buying me clothes, thank you for sneakers every week and a half…and enter his courts with praise, ooh, praise you Daddy, praise you Daddy…’  Imagine if I put them through that, you know that’s not a relationship.  And we tend to do that with prayer.  And it’s then 200 pages on how to enter into God’s presence.  If we would just pray, we wouldn’t have to read that.  But we think there’s something in there that we don’t know, that if we do know we won’t have to pray.  We’ll just come into his presence with 200 pages worth of knowledge.  You know, we could just read the Bible, and do what it says.  Prayer is, could easily be translated “Asking, seeking, knocking.”  [see Charles Stanley’s excellent sermon on ‘Asking, Seeking, Knocking’ at: http://www.unityinchrist.comm/prayer/bibleway.htm]  How’s your asking life?  You see, nobody ever asked my kids ‘How’s your conversation life with your Dad?’  Prayer, the reason that in our hearts we cry ‘Abba, Father is because we’re born again. Genuine prayer, real prayer is only the expression of the new birth.  If you are a born again Christian [a person who has the Holy Spirit indwelling them], when you were born again [when you received the Holy Spirit] something began to happen in your heart.  If you’ve raised kids, nobody taught them to say ‘Dadda, Babba, Mine!  No!  Me!’    That’s prayer, begins there, small words.  Then it advances.  ‘Gotta have the keys to the car,’ as time goes on it changes, but there’s a genuine relationship.  Then you say, ‘No! Mine!’ when they ask those questions [loud laughter], that’s the time you switch roles there.  But Jesus says, we have to become as children, not childish, but child-like in our dependence and in our willingness to receive.  And he’s going to tell us as we read through this, prayer is not a process whereby we wear down God in his reluctance, and if he gets tired enough of hearing from us, he’ll finally give in or say ‘Uncle.’ 

 

The Simplicity of Real Prayer

 

Prayer is the process of taking hold of his willingness, and doing that in such a simple way.  I want to read a few things from this little book I have, it’s called “Children’s Letters to God.”  And I like it, because it kind of demonstrates the simplicity I think God probably wishes we would all approach him with.  This is from Anita, “Dear God, is it true my Father won’t get in heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house?’  [laughter]  I’m just going to read a few of these, from little children.  ‘Dear God, instead of letting people die, and having to make new ones, why don’t you just keep the ones you got now?  From Jane.’  This is from Nancy, and these are all in their hand-writing, too, some of it’s cursive, it’s all scribbled, some of it’s printing.  ‘Dear God, do animals use you or is there somebody else for them?’  Here’s one from Neil, ‘Dear God, I went to this wedding, and they kissed right in church.  Is that OK?’  Kids have more sense than we do, I’ll tell you that.  Here’s one from Joanne, ‘Dear God, I would like to know why all the things you said are in red.’  You know, the writing it’s just…  Now do you think God’s saying to any of these kids, ‘No, that’s not the seven steps’?  This is a funny one, from Donny, ‘Dear God, is Reverend Joe a friend of yours, or do you just know him through business?’  [loud laughter]  Here’s one from Darla, ‘Did you really mean, Do unto others as they do unto you?  Because if you did, then I’m gonna fix my brother.’  Here’s one from Robert, ‘Dear God, I am American, what are you?’  Here’s from Joyce, and you can see it’s in crayon.  ‘Dear God, thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.’  Here’s one from Ginny, ‘Dear God, please put another holiday between Christmas and Easter, there is nothing good there now.’  And all the words are misspelled, I mean it’s right in their script.  ‘Dear God,’ this is funny, ‘Dear God, it rained for our whole vacation, and is my father mad.  He said some things about you that people are not supposed to say.  But I hope that you will not hurt him anyway.  Your friend, but I’m not going to tell you who I am.’  [loud laughter]  Here’s one from Bruce, ‘Dear God, please send me a pony, I never asked for anything before, you can look it up.’  Here’s one from Denise, ‘Dear God, if we come back as something else, please don’t let me be Jennifer Horton, because I hate her.’  Here’s one from Rafael, ‘Dear God, if you give me a Genie lamp like Aladdin, I will give you anything you want except my money and my chess set.’  ‘Dear God, please send Dennis Clark to a different camp this year, signed Peter.’  Here’s one from Timmy, age 9, ‘Dear God, I wish that there wasn’t no such thing as sin.  I wish there was no such thing as war.’  Timmy M. age 9.  ‘Dear God, maybe Cain and Abel wouldn’t kill each other so much if they had their own rooms, it works with my brother,’   [loud laughter]  ‘Larry.’   Here’s one from Mark, ‘Dear God, I keep waiting for spring, but it never came yet, don’t forget.’  ‘Dear God, I think about you sometimes even when I’m not praying, Eliot.’  Ahh, and I bet God said ‘Ahh’ too.  ‘Dear God, I bet it’s very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world.  There are only four people in our family and I can never do it.’  [loud laughter]  I bet he wishes we were that sincere sometimes.  ‘Dear God, from Rob.  Of all the people who work for you, I like Peter and John the best.’  I like this one, from Mickey D., that’s D with a period.  ‘Dear God, if you watch in church on Sunday, I will show you my new shoes.’  Here’s one from Nora, ‘Dear God, I don’t ever feel alone since I found out about you.’  Yea, I know.  Teach us, Nora.  From Donna, ‘Dear God, we read Thomas Edison made light.  But in Sunday School they said you did it.  So I bet he stole your idea.’  This is from Charles, ‘Dear God, I do not think anybody could be a better God.  Well I just want you to know, but I’m not just saying that because you are God.’  Last one, ‘Dear God, I am doing my best, Frank.’  It’s in the book.  [applause]  Several years ago, Kathy and I were engaged, in fact, that’s twenty years ago, that’s several.  She was down in San Diego, and I was driving down to pick up her and some other parts of this evangelistic team, and drive back to Portland, and I had this old ’69 GMC Travel-all somebody gave me, it was sitting in a corn field in Florida.  It had 200,000 miles on it, I put in four cans of fix-a-flat and put some cans of oil in it and drove it to San Diego from Florida, and then San Diego up to Portland and back down from Portland to San Diego, back up to Portland.  We got married and drove it from Portland to Philadelphia, back to Portland again, and then from Portland to San Diego, and sold it for two hundred bucks.  But in one of those journeys I’m driving south, and some wires shorted out and were touching the engine block, so what would happen is every time I put the headlights on, it would start to sputter and start to die.  So I would put the headlights on for a second to see where the line on the road was, then I’d turn them out, and I’m driving, then the engine would pick back up again, and I was going fast, I’d flick the lights on to see where I was, and it’d die back down again.  So I finally pulled off and I’m going down this road, and it falls off with this swamp on both sides, so I had to keep turning the lights on, and as I come up to the top of this hill, and I had put the lights on so many times, the engine finally stopped and I rolled up to the top of the hill and right onto these railroad tracks, and right as I ran onto the railroad tracks I heard ‘Eeer, EEEER,’ and the sound ‘Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding’, and I’m like easing across the tracks and there’s this train coming.  Now I did not have the time for the seven steps of prayer, ‘to enter into his gates with thanksgiving.’  My prayer was ‘Oh JESUS!’  That was my prayer.  And an angel just pushed me across the tracks, the back of that thing was five foot away, I thought the thing was going to hit the back of the travel-all as I rolled across.  So there are times, you know.  We have to understand what they’re saying, they’re looking at Jesus, something real is happening, it isn’t seven steps, it isn’t you have to pray in a certain position, it isn’t codified.  What they’re seeing when they look at Jesus is he really has a relationship with God, with the God of Israel, we see it, it’s real when he prays.  ‘Teach us that, teach us to do that, teach us to be that way, teach us to be praying.’ 

 

Now For Those Seven Steps---but they’re not steps, they’re topics

 

And Jesus says, ‘Well we’ll start here, Our Father.’  Now, all of this throughout the prayer is in the plural.  So look around the room, and realize when you pray it, ‘Our Father’ he’s everybody else’s Dad in this room too, everybody whose saved. “Our Father” it’s a family prayer, “which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” you know the prayer, “thy kingdom come,” oh, Jesus wants us to pray for the coming of the Kingdom, and how we do, “thy will be done as in heaven so in earth,”  The first three things we pray for is his Kingdom, his will, and his name.  You know, when you do get there [at the Wedding Feast on the Sea of Glass. See  http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm for an interesting scenario of how we might get there] and begin to talk to God, isn’t it funny, I think sometimes we begin to pray, and we have these earth-shattering things that are on our hearts, and you’re only there for a few minutes and you realize, ‘Well I guess that’s not that important is it, I guess that’s not that important.  And all of a sudden and you start to settle down and realize, ‘Lord, I’m in your presence, Lord, you’re holy.  Lord, what about your will and your Kingdom?’.  And doesn’t that then seem to push aside, ‘Lord, give me a new Porsche?’  Or ‘Lord, you said judgment is not mine, but it belongs to you, so get this person for me, would you please.’  We come there with all of this stuff, and Jesus says, ‘When you come, it’s a relationship, it’s your Father, but you come on behalf of his name, and of his will, and of his Kingdom.’  And see, some people are immediately going to say, ‘Well, I’m afraid to pray for the will of God [in my life], if I pray for the will of God, he’s gonna send me to the Eskimos, he knows I hate the cold, and surely being somewhere you hate must be the most spiritual thing you can do.’  No, Jesus is going to say, ‘No, no, no, no, if a son goes to a father and asks him for a loaf of bread, he’s not going to give him a brick.’  Sometimes that’s what we do, we get into prayer and think ‘OK God, give me the brick, just give me the brick, I know it’s coming.  OK, here it is, your will be done in my life, let the brick fall, I know it’s coming.’  No, no, no, no.  No, Jesus is going to dispel all of that.  You know, his will and his name, his Kingdom is what we long for, it’s home.  It is the place that we will finally encounter, where every fiber in our being agrees with it, with the way that it looks, with the light, with the color, with the smell, with the presence, there’s finally a place that we were made to step into.  And it’s all that we long for, Lord, your Kingdom, your will, your name.  “Give us day by day our daily bread,” personal petition, Lord’s prayer, nothing wrong with praying that.  Some people try to tell us that we are not spiritual if we pray for ourselves.  No, we can pray for that, that God would supply our need, day by day.  “Forgive us our sins”, Jesus knows these are sinners, this family that’s coming to talk to their Father.  Sin, and your struggles should not keep you from coming to him.  Condemnation will keep you from coming to the Father, but not your sin.  If we come, confess our sin, he’s faithful and just to forgive us, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  “Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”  I have a note here, ‘For I am also trying to forgive everyone whose indebted’, you know, it’s on the basis of that.  ‘Lord, my life has been the recipient of your grace, and Lord I long for it to continue to be that way, forgive me, you know I forgive those who are indebted to me.   I know that I am no less in need of your blood than they are.’  “Lead us not into temptation;” into testing, “but deliver us” plural, family again, “from the evil one” your Bible should say.  So, look, when you get on your knees and you’re praying Give us this day our daily bread’, you’re not just praying for you, your family, you’re praying for those in Bosnia, you’re praying for those in Central Africa that are believers that are starving, or those in India that are brothers and sisters, ‘Lord, give us, the whole family of God, Lord, deliver us from the evil one.’  It’s a plea for the family of God.  And it’s a child pouring out his heart before his Father, ‘Father, your Kingdom, your will, Lord, here we are in this world, give us our daily provision, all of us Father, those in Bosnia/Herzegovina Lord, those in Central Africa that are starving, and where there’s war-torn areas Lord, those believers in Iraq this evening, Lord, those in China that are being persecuted, Lord give us what we need today.  Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who trespass against us, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from the evil one,’--- acknowledging our dependence, like any child does.  ‘Dad, can I have this?  Dad, will you do this?  Dad, can I have two bucks.’  My children are never afraid to say to me, ‘Give me this day my daily bread, and my daily cookies, and daily allowance, and the school store, and I need new sneakers….’  They’re not afraid. 

 

You Can Call On God At Any Time

 

“And he said unto them,”  now he’s still teaching them to pray, verse 5, “Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight,”---now midnight was not twelve o’clock the way we think of it, midnight was the middle of the night.  For some of us midnight might not be so bad because we’re still up watching something that’s wasting our brain, this is the middle of the night---“and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?  And he from within shall answer and say,”---you might have a friend like this—“Trouble me not:  the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.  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” (verses 5-8).  ‘Because of his persistence, because it’s a hassle, he will rise up…’  Now what is Jesus saying here?  Is Jesus saying, ‘Don’t go to God when he’s sleeping, because that’s when he’s crabby and he’s going to send you away?  I’m tired, I run the universe all day long, you have to come to me in the middle of the night, why don’t you talk to me during the day?---and Jesus is saying, ‘and bugs God to the point where God finally says, ‘OK, ok, I’ll give you as many loaves as you want.’?  No, no, no, no, no.  First of all he says “a friend”, he’s going to come to a son, prayer is based on sonship, not friendship.  Jesus is saying, ‘Even in the confines of friendship,’ and friends can often be fickle,’ you know, you’ve had some, you know what kind of men they are, hu-man.  And one of the great lessons we learn in the church, is that the church is filled with hu-man beings, and we look up to them, we get saved, and they’re older Christians, and then all of a sudden we find out, they’re still crabby sometimes.  ‘They blow me off once in a while.  They drove by me while I was broken down with a flat tire and looked the other way, I know they saw me.’  ‘They watch football, I thought they were holy,’ and our world is dashed.  We know how friends are [how about immediate family? J].  But you can go to a friend.   Because there’s a relationship there, you might go to a friend in the middle of the night.  And hospitality was a very, very important thing in this age, and scholars are divided against whose…is the guy whose getting out of bed and giving him the bread because of his persistence importunity, or is the guy getting out of bed and giving him the bread because of his own importunity, because he’s hassled---his shamelessness?  You know, by the way, in some of the villages in the Middle East, when a stranger came in, everybody, some of the neighbors brought fruits, some brought wine, some brought olives, some brought bread, and if you were asked to be part of that and you didn’t do that, you know, sometimes they see you the next day and see you in the market place, sput! they spit on you.  ‘You’re giving our village a bad reputation.’  That’s how high hospitality was held.  And Jesus certainly wouldn’t be trying to give his Father a bad reputation.  He’s saying, ‘Even in the context of other relationships you understand, if you have a real friend, you’re not afraid to call him in the middle of the night.’  And you know, it may be a hassle.  I’ve been called in the middle of the night, and I get the call, and I say ‘Yeah, sure, I’ll be right there…’ and I hang the phone up and go ‘I can’t believe they called me, why don’t you call somebody else!’  I hate to disenchant you, but that’s me.  But you’ll do it, even though it’s a hassle.  And he says even in the confines of friendship, that’s a relationship that we understand, he’s not trying to say ‘God is a grump, don’t wake him up,’  Please, when you hear how some of the people interpret these passages, it’s really sad. 

 

Ask, Seek, Knock

 

Look what he says in verse 9, “I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be give you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  “I say unto you”, and here is all of the authority in heaven.  It’s easy for you to remember the order, because it’s Ask, Seek, Knock, if you take the first letter of each word it’s just ASK, A. S. K.  “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  Now let me read to you the tenses, so you understand what Jesus is saying here.  ‘I say unto you, ask and continually ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and continually seek, and you shall find; knock, and continue to reverently knock (remember whose door you’re knocking on J), and it shall be opened to you. (verse 10) For everyone who continues to ask continues to receive, and he that continues to seek, continues to find, and to him that continues to knock it shall continue to be opened.’  What’s it’s saying is, that should be a lifestyle, we should always be asking God.  It’s his resources and his richness, that we can come, any child can come to their father and ask.  My kids are never, they come to me and ask me for some things and I say to them ‘You must be outa your mind.’  And it’s going to say, ‘because I am evil’, it’s going to say that here, ‘even those that are evil know how to give good things to their children.’  ‘You want how much for sneakers?  Whose kinds of sneakers?  You want Jordan what?  If I made what he made I’d buy you his sneakers.’   ‘Ask and continue to ask.’  Seek, you’re looking now for his will.  Knock, you’re asking him to open something up to you.  And continue to do those things.  The idea is, it’s like getting a cell-phone, instead of just being at home where the phone’s in the corner, my parents are 80 and 70, and just two years ago they finally got a phone upstairs.  They still have a phone downstairs in the dining room with the dial on it.  ‘Nothing wrong with that phone, I don’t want to get rid of that thing.’   It’s a rotary phone.  There’s only certain things you can do with a rotary phone.  I finally talked them into getting central air, I said ‘Dad, you’re seventy-five years old, you’re gonna die hot.   Get central air, please.’  ‘But this fan,’ they used to brain-wash me when I was a little kid, ‘Turn this fan on, it’s an exhaust fan, it’s like cool air.’  And I used to think, ‘Man, it feels like an oven, it must be me, I’m only 8-years-old, I’m stupid dad, hot air is coming in here.’  I finally realized he was conning me all those years.  I said, ‘Dad, get central air, please, cool your house off, you’re seventy-five.’  And they finally sprung and got a phone they can carry around the house [cordless, not a cell-phone].  And it’s much better because now you can talk to him at any time.  You know, that’s what he’s saying prayer is about, is you should be continually asking, and be continually seeking, and be continually knocking.  And when you’re driving in your car or walking around, when I’m counseling someone, I’m thinking ‘Lord, this person thinks I know something, please help me know what to say to them.  I don’t know nothing.’  I’m driving in traffic, I’m thinking ‘Lord, help me to remember, this is somebody created in your image and likeness, you just forgot to give him a brain when you made him.  Lord, help me to love them and pray for them.’  I mean, I have to talk to God all the time.  And life has become so busy, I couldn’t just confine my prayer-life to etching out a half-hour somewhere.  I love to get up in the morning, and I love to get up before the kids, and I love to have a cup of coffee and I love to have my Bible, and I find in my own life I do that in seasons, sometimes for three months I’ll end up [getting his prayer in] late at night, sometimes for three months I end up real early, just like in the morning, just like in the morning having that quiet time to just sit there alone and hear his voice, and spend time with him.  And much of my prayer is just from my heart, it’s not even spoken from my lips, it’s communion.  And he goes on to say that now, he says in friendship you understand how to ask. 

 

The Holy Spirit---the major gift told we’re told to ask for

 

Look at verses 11-12, he says ‘Now put it in sonship, “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?”  Of any of you, that is a father, will he give him a stone, ‘Here kid, chew on this.’   What kind of father would give his kid a serpent?  “Or if he shall ask for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?”  Sounds like a few restaurants I’ve been in.  Verse 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?”  Jesus is making a point about you in the natural relationship you have with your kids, and you know, I’m crazy about my kids.  And the thing that blows my mind is, the Bible tells me that God loves me more than I love my own children.  It’s hard for me to receive, nobody’s ever loved me like that.  And I’m growing in that, growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And in my life when I pray, you know, I don’t say ‘Lord, give me this gift, give me the gift of healing…’  When I pray, I say ‘Lord, if I can know anything in this life, let me know with full assurance in my heart and my mind that you love me more than I love those kids.  Let me be a messenger of your love, that bears your love and bears your grace.’   I think, what thing has infected us more greatly than his love and his grace, what have we discovered in the Scripture that’s more important to us than his love and his grace?  You know, what has kept us in difficult times when we don’t understand what he’s doing, but we know who he is, how he is, we know that he loves us.  What has transformed our lives so that we serve him willingly, but his love and his grace.  And he says that here, you understand even in earthly relationships, that your kid can come and ask for anything.  And you don’t give them something spurious or wicked.  “If ye then, being evil,”---in the sense that that’s our nature, fallen nature---“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?”  There’s no formula, it’s ask, it’s seek, it’s knock, and it’s within the confines of a relationship.  ‘Lord, teach us to pray, we watch you when you’re alone on the hillside, we watch your tears, we watch you pour out your heart, and we know that all of your miraculous ministry and all of your teaching, all the things you do, are borne out of that thing.’  And Jesus says, ‘Look, you have to understand, if you’re going to commune the way I do, it’s a relationship.’  And God has put the very Spirit of Jesus within our hearts, crying ‘Abba, Father ‘[cf. John 14].  He says you understand how to ask somebody for something in a friendship, and that’s because a friendship is a relationship, it’s defined, even if they’re grouchy.  And so he says, ‘You ask, I say unto you, continue to ask, continue to seek, continue to knock, because even any of you that are fathers understand that relationship that you give good things to your children.  How much more will the Father give the Holy Spirit.  If you want to pray like I do, for the very Spirit of Christ to dwell in our hearts.’  That’s what we long for, to be Spirit filled.  To have the Light of Christ and the fullness of his glory in our hearts, that nothing else can take away from us.  ‘How much more will he give the Spirit to those who ask him?’  Beautiful verse.  You know why?  Because first of all, there are those in the Church [greater Body of Christ] who say, ‘Better look out, you ask God for his Spirit, better be on your toes, you might get demonic tongues.  He might be there, asking God for his Spirit and all of a sudden going goobly-goobly-goobly-ga.  Something’s going to come out of your mouth and a demon is going to be in there.’  You know what?  What are we saying, that God is like the April Fools guy in the sky?  It’s blasphemous, that is blasphemous to teach people that if you open up your heart to God in heaven he will give you, let a demon get in there and give you something spurious.  Don’t ever listen to that.  It’s a lie, it’s from hell.  Because Satan doesn’t want us to go to the Father and ask to be Spirit filled Christians.  Some will say, ‘Well this is Dispensational, it’s not for today, it was before Jesus died, because once Pentecost came you didn’t have to ask for the Spirit, it just fell on you when you got saved.  When you get saved, you get the Spirit, so you don’t have to ask anymore.’  Yea, when you get saved [for some, asking Jesus into your life by getting baptized and having hands laid on you, as the early Church did], you are placed in the Spirit, in the realm of the Spirit, baptized into the Body of Christ, one Spirit, one baptism.  But as we study the Book of Acts we see them filled more than once, we see them thanking God after they’re beaten, and the building is shaken as they’re filled with the Spirit.  We need to be filled continually.  It says in Ephesians ‘not to be drunk with wine in its excess,’ but the Greek says, ‘be ye being filled with the Holy Spirit.’  Our life experience should be seeking God every day to be filled.  Again, it was Moody who told a woman who said to him, ‘If you were a Spirit-filled Christian, how come you’re always asking to be filled again?’  He said, ‘I leak.’  And a Spirit-filled Christian is not a title, it’s a condition.  And we need to seek him every day for the filling of his Spirit.  And he doesn’t give us spurious things, he doesn’t give us a scorpion or a snake or a stone when we seek him.  And this isn’t something that is Dispensational. It was written in 63 to 68 AD, after Pentecost this was written.  Did the Holy Spirit make some kind of mistake, giving us a false hope that we should ask God for his Spirit?  I ask him to fill me every day with his Presence.  And as I see Satan heightening his activity in the world that we live in, I think, ‘Lord, heighten your activity in my heart, Lord, give me a greater filling than I’ve know, a greater empowering Lord, a greater sense of your Presence, a greater communion with you.  Father fill me, fill my life with the Spirit of your Son.’  And how willing he is to do that, even beckons us to ask, as we read this. 

 

 

What do you mean, Yeah, you don’t even know what I’m thinking.  We can’t do this.  Because verse 14 is a question posed to Jesus, and he answers it all the way down to verse 28.  You know how he does that sometimes.  You just ask him a simple question and he gives you ten verses of an answer, so, I’m glad he does that.  You can see there, like the little kid says, ‘Everything he says is in red.’  Long answer, you see it there.  Let’s end here.  Let’s have the musicians come…[transcript of a connective expository sermon given on Luke 11:1-13 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links:

 

Good Charles Stanley transcript on prayer, plus prayer section of this website:

 

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prayer/bibleway.htm

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