This teaching on Luke 11 verses 3-13 was given by pastor Barry Forder on 26th March 2023 at Calvary Chapel Portsmouth.
In Luke chapter 11 we have one of the most detailed teachings on prayer in the Bible. In the first part of this study, we looked at the first part of the ‘Disciple’s Prayer’. After watching Jesus pray, probably on a number of occasions, one of His disciples plucked up the courage to ask Him to teach them how to pray. Jesus’ prayer life was different to anything they had seen before; it was not merely a religious observance or ritual, it was a conversation, not with a distant God, but with One whom Jesus called ‘Father’!
Was it really possible to have that kind of intimate relationship with the Divine? Can a mere man approach a holy sovereign God and expect an audience?
These are valid questions, yet the answer is that not only can we approach God as a loving heavenly Father, but He actually encourages us to!
Paul Billheimer, in his book, ‘Destined For The Throne’ states: “ That [God] will do nothing in the realm of human redemption, since its inception, outside this scheme of prayer and intercession, is indicated by God’s many pressing invitations to prayer in His Word. He not only invites us, He entreats and importunes and He urges. He even begs us to exercise this privilege.
- Ask, I ask you to ask;
- Seek, I entreat you to seek;
- Knock, I urge you to knock.
Evidently, He will do nothing without our prayers” – Paul Billheimer (Destined For The Throne p45)
Billheimer goes on to say: “The fundamental importance of this scheme of prayer in God’s economy is further emphasised by God’s binding Himself unequivocally to answer. God’s promises to answer prayer cover such a broad spectrum as to constitute a veritable carte blanche, bearing the authority of His own signature. It is as though God handed us His sceptre and begged us to use it within the constraints of His will”.
This is staggering to try to comprehend! God has entrusted the Church with the most powerful force in the universe – Prayer – and has effectively given us a blank cheque signed in His name “to use it within the constraints of His will”.
In our previous study we considered the first half of the ‘Disciple’s Prayer’, which is all about God – taking the focus (intentionally) off ourselves and our own (perceived) problems and needs and setting our minds on the ‘things above’ (Col 3:2). We are told to focus on:
–1) Our Father – that God is a loving and gracious Father
–2) Our home and future in Heaven,
–3) God’s reputation (Name) and faithfulness,
–4) The fact that He has promised to right every wrong and judge all injustice when His kingdom comes upon this Earth,
–5) That while we are awaiting that, everything He allows in our lives is for the purpose of setting us apart for Himself, that He might truly be our God and we as His adopted and much-loved sons…
Once we consider these things, so much of what we would ordinarily pray for now evaporates! As Oswald Chambers so rightly said: “Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him — what an impertinence worry is!”
As we move into the second part of this prayer, where the focus shifts to our needs, we should remember that:
- God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love… (Heb 6:10)
- God already knows the things you have need of before you ask! (Matt 6:8)
- He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think! (Eph 3:20)
- He is able to supply all your need! (Phil 4:19)
- God hears the cry’s of the righteous! (Ps 34:4,15)
- He has undertaken to provide for us! (Matt 6:30)
- He tells us not to be anxious (Phil 4:6)
So why even pray about these things? Because God want’s us to commune with Him. Through prayer we learn to trust Him more and more. We learn to rely on Him, depend on Him, enjoy Him!
Give us this day…
Bread speaks of both our physical and spiritual needs, but note the source of this bread: we are to ask that God give us…
This bread is a gift from God! It cannot be gotten from man. Just as the Manna God gave the Children of Israel in the wilderness, so ‘my God shall supply all your need’ (Phil 4:19).
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst”. (John 6:35). God already knows the physical and practical things we have need of (Matt 6:8), and tells us not the be anxious or worry about our clothing or food.
“Take no thought for your life.” “Be careful about one thing only,” says our Lord—“your relationship to Me.” Common sense shouts loud and says—“That is absurd, I must consider how I am going to live, I must consider what I am going to eat and drink.” Jesus says you must not. Beware of allowing the thought that this statement is made by One Who does not understand our particular circumstances. Jesus Christ knows our circumstances better than we do, and He says we must not think about these things so as to make them the one concern of our life. Whenever there is competition, be sure that you put your relationship to God first” – Oswald Chambers,
Our prayer should be “Give me this day Jesus – the Bread of Life – , for if I have Jesus, I’ll have everything I need!” He will never leave me nor forsake me! (Heb 13:5).
“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)
Forgive us our sins…
When we pray this prayer, we look to something already accomplished, for Christ is the propitiation (payment in full) for our sins and the sins of the whole world! (1 John 2:2). Yet we need to continually avail ourselves of God’s forgiveness when we sin. We cannot enter His presence with unconfessed sin in our hearts (Psalm 66:18). But we have the great assurance that “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. (1 John 1:8-9)
The Greek word used here is ‘aphiemi’, which carries the idea of looking forward, yet it is in past tense!
When we pray this, a transaction takes place: Our debt is placed on Christ’s account; His righteousness is imputed to ours.
As we forgive…
- If you live by grace, you will be saved by grace.
- If you live by the law (and judge others that way – exacting from others the debt they owe you), you will be judged by the law.
–See Matt 18:23-35
None of us can stand before God except by His grace. We have been forgiven an insurmountable debt. We are to forgive those who have wronged us the small debt they owe us.
Lead us not into temptation…
- We need to pray this daily!
- Never think you have conquered the flesh life.
- “Make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom 13:14)
- Don’t give a foothold to the Devil (Eph 4:27)
- The deliverance was accomplished at the cross, but has to be claimed continually.
- Only through the indwelling Holy Spirit can we have victory over the flesh life
- “Walk in the Spirit and you will not gratify the lusts of the flesh” (Gal 5:16)
- …but the prayer is: ‘don’t let me go into situations or circumstances whereby I might be tempted’
- ‘Don’t let me become discouraged’.
- “But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6)
Deliver us from evil…
- This prayer is asking God to bend our wills in line with His (not get us out of holes we dig!)
- We are to set our minds on the things above!
- We are to constantly be in fellowship with:
- 1) The Holy Spirit
- 2) Other believers
- We are to hide the Word of God in our hearts
- We are to meditate on:
- His Statues,
- His Testimonies,
- His Precepts,
- His Commandments,
- His Judgments
Ask, Seek, Knock…
Jesus concludes this teaching by stating two hugely important things. Firstly, we are to ask, seek and knock, expecting our prayers to be answered, and we are to ask for the Holy Spirit, whom God will not refuse to any who ask. This second point is posibily one of the greatest undiscovered secrets in the Christian life. Those who take Jesus at His Word and ask for the Holy Spirit will never be the same again, for they will discover His transforming power and strength and be equipped for the work of ministry.
Regarding the first point, Paul Bilheimer says: “That [God] will do nothing in the realm of human redemption, since its inception, outside this scheme of prayer and intercession, is indicated by God’s many pressing invitations to prayer in His Word. He not only invites us, He entreats and importunes and He urges. He even begs us to exercise this privilege.
- Ask, I ask you to ask;
- Seek, I entreat you to seek;
- Knock, I urge you to knock.
Evidently, He will do nothing without our prayers”.
“The fundamental importance of this scheme of prayer in God’s economy is further emphasised by God’s binding Himself unequivocally to answer. God’s promises to answer prayer cover such a broad spectrum as to constitute a veritable carte blanche, bearing the authority of His own signature. It is as though God handed us His sceptre and begged us to use it within the constraints of His will”
Persistence in prayer is necessary because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against a malevolent enemy who seeks to discourage and hinder the Church from actively engaging in her divinely appointed role… that of prayer; specifically, intercessory prayer.
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.