The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Jenny Slater.

Luke 11:1-13

Jesus' teaching on prayer

11 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.'

2 He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

‘"Father,[a]
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.[b]
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]
And lead us not into temptation."'[d]

5 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, "Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him." 7 And suppose the one inside answers, "Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up and give you anything." 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity[e] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

9 ‘So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Reflection

These passages struck me about the way we approach prayer, especially compared to what the disciples would have been used to. Jesus is teaching them a model, a way to pray. This is the second time we see this prayer, slightly differently, after reading it in Matthew 6 9-13. I think the differences show that the prayer was a model, but it wasn't a strict formula, or precise set of words they had to go by. So neither do we. It's a starting point, making sure we have our foundations right before then moving on and building our prayer and petitions to God.
I love the audacity of the man in the second part, that he doesn't seem to care what time it is, he just needs some bread and so he's going to go and get it, irrespective of time or how annoying that might be. Jesus uses this parable, I feel, to show us that we should be audacious and bold in the way we ask for things. In the culture at the time the neighbour would've actually been the one the disciples would scoff at for not responding to his friend in need as the culture was then. It wouldn't matter that it was late, he was compelled by duty to get up and give the man some bread. So how much better is it to not act out of duty, but out of love and grace for the person at the door. This is what Jesus wants to do for us! He's glad we come to him, passionate and bold about the things we pray for, not just relaying words, but truly have a shamelessness in what we seek.

So, Lord help us to be shamelessly bold and passionate in everything we pray for!

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