Luke 11:1-13-Jesus teaches the disciples to pray. On numerous occasions the disciples had observed Jesus as He prayed. And, they had recognized the importance of prayer that He had in His own life. So now, they ask Him to teach them to pray like He does.
He teaches them what to pray (:1-4)
- Begin by recognizing that God is holy. The word “hallowed” comes from the Greek word “holy”. It is because of His holiness, sovereignty, and power that He is capable of answering the requests you are about to make…it is important to remember this if you are going to actually anticipate an answer.
Holiness, Holy, Holily:
akin to A, Nos. 1 and 2, which are from the same root as hagnos (found in hazo, "to venerate"), fundamentally signifies "separated" (among the Greeks, dedicated to the gods), and hence, in Scripture in its moral and spiritual significance, separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred.
(a) It is predicted of God (as the absolutely "Holy" One, in His purity, majesty and glory): of the Father, e.g., Luk 1:49; Jhn 17:11; 1Pe 1:15,16; Rev 4:8; 6:10; of the Son, e.g., Luk 1:35; Act 3:14; 4:27,30; 1Jo 2:20; of the Spirit, e.g., Mat 1:18 and frequently in all the Gospels, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Cor., Eph., 1 Thess.; also in 2Ti 1:14; Tts 3:5; 1Pe 1:12; 2Pe 1:21; Jud 1:20.
(b) It is used of men and things (see below) in so far as they are devoted to God. Indeed the quality, as attributed to God, is often presented in a way which involves Divine demands upon the conduct of believers. These are called hagioi, "saints," i.e., "sanctified" or "holy" ones.
This sainthood is not an attainment, it is a state into which God in grace calls men; yet believers are called to sanctify themselves (consistently with their calling, 2Ti 1:9), cleansing themselves from all defilement, forsaking sin, living a "holy" manner of life, 1Pe 1:15; 2Pe 3:11, and experiencing fellowship with God in His holiness. The saints are thus figuratively spoken of as "a holy temple," 1Cr 3:17 (a local church); Eph 2:21 (the whole Church), cp. Eph 5:27; "a holy priesthood," 1Pe 2:5; "a holy nation," 1Pe 2:9.
"It is evident that hagios and its kindred words... express something more and higher than hieros, sacred, outwardly associated with God;... something more than semnos, worthy, honorable; something more than hagnos, pure, free from defilement. Hagios is... more comprehensive... It is characteristically godlikness" (G.B. Stevens, in Hastings' Bib. Dic.).
The adjective is also used of the outer part of the tabernacle, Hbr 9:2 (RV, "the holy place"); of the inner sanctuary, Hbr 9:3, RV, "the Holy of Holies;" Hbr 9:24, "a holy place," RV; Hbr 9:25 (plural), of the presence of God in heaven, where there are not two compartments as in the Tabernacle, all being "the holy place;" Hbr 9:8, 12 (neuter plural); Hbr 10:19, "the holy place," RV (AV, "the holiest," neut. plural), see SANCTUARY; of the city of Jerusalem, Rev 11:2; its temple, Act 6:13; of the faith, Jud 1:20; of the greetings of saints, 1Cr 16:20; of angels, e.g., Mar 8:38; of apostles and prophets, Eph 3:5; of the future heavenly Jerusalem, Rev 21:2, 10; 22:19.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=G40&t=NASB
- Ask Him to establish His kingdom here…not just in the world, but in your heart. By doing this, I am actually submitting my life to Him over which He can rule.
- Ask Him to provide what is necessary for daily life. This is the recognition of God’s awareness of our personal situations, circumstances, and needs.
- Ask Him to forgive you of your sins. As I submit my life to God, the first thing He is going to deal with is anything that would inhibit my relationship with Him from developing further…that means sin.
- Ask Him to help you to forgive those who have sinned against you. This is the clearest evidence of a changed life. The Spirit of Christ is so active in me, that my attitudes toward others is a reflection of the attitude of Christ toward me. And if I truly believe that God forgives me when I sin against Him, then that same forgiveness should be expressed by me towards others. So much so, that it is stated as a fact, not an option. Forgiveness is not an option in the Christian’s life.
- Ask Him to keep you from temptation. The word “temptation” can speak of sinful spiritual enticements and it can also speak of situations that present physically difficult, trying times (which can also lead to temptation to not trust in God). For some, this is a difficult verse since they cannot understand why a holy God would intentionally lead His people into a situation in which they have the potential to sin. However, two points help us to resolve this dilemma. First of all…God will never lead His people into a situation with the intent of them sinning. However, He will lead us into a situation where we have the opportunity to be faithful to Him and in so doing to bring Him glory, and to mature spiritually. Remember, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted (Luke 4:1-2, not so that He could fail and sin, but so that He could be faithful and learn obedience, Hebrews 5:7-9). It could be that Jesus had told His disciples about this encounter with temptation and now expected them to make the connection between His being led into temptation and being delivered…and their being led into temptation and delivered. Second, Matthew (6:13) helps us to understand the complete thought that is conveyed here. He wrote, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew gives us the complete thought. Luke introduces the thought to us…and expects us to finish it on our own. We could paraphrase the verse as, “And do not lead us into temptation; but on the other hand, deliver us from it.”
He teaches them how to pray (:5-10)
- Jesus tells a story about a man who goes to his neighbor to borrow some food when a friend unexpectedly shows up. The neighbor is initially unwilling to even get out of bed to help. But after the man continues to pound, and pound, and pound on the door…the neighbor finally gets out of bed and gives him everything he has asked for…not out of the kindness of his heart, but out of the interference with his sleep. The lesson is that we are to keep praying persistently…until we have an answer.
“Persistence” (NASV)…“denotes "shamelessness, importunity" (a, negative, n, euphonic, and aidos, "shame, modesty"), and is used in the Lord's illustration concerning the need of earnestness and perseverance in prayer, Luk 11:8. If shameless persistence can obtain a boon from a neighbor, then certainly earnest prayer will receive our Father's answer.” (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G335&t=NASB, Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).
If this neighbor (who was seemingly uncaring about the man’s dilemma) would answer his request, how much more so will our loving Father answer our requests.
- The words “ask, seek, and knock” in verse 9 are all present tense verbs. He is telling them that they are to do these things. But, the key to answered prayer is to not stop doing them. So, in verse 10 the same words are all participles…”ing” words…meaning that you are to do so, and you are to keep on doing so. To paraphrase verse 10…”And I’m telling you, that everyone who asks and doesn’t stop asking…he will be given what he is asking for; and everyone who seeks and doesn’t stop seeking…he will find what he is looking for; and everyone who knocks and doesn’t stop knocking…will have the door opened for him.”
- Question: Are we supposed to pray persistently because God is not aware of our needs and we have to make Him aware and then virtually impose our will on Him? We are to pray persistently…because persistent prayer causes us to evaluate those matters more closely that we are bringing before God. As we pray and seek God’s answer…we should assess the matter that we are praying about and ask if what we are requesting is in God’s will. Also, as we are praying, we should be refining our prayer, being more specific and definite about what we are asking…so that when the answer is given (1) we will recognize it as an answer from God and not just assume it was a matter of circumstances lining up in such a way that what we had been praying about just happened to come about. It will be so precise of an answer that we can see the direct connection between the prayer and God’s answer and God will receive glory. And, (2) we begin to make prayer a serious pursuit of our Christian life and not use it like some kind of magic formula that we chant and expect an answer. We are persistently, continuously praying and seeking God about a matter. As important as the matter that we are praying about is…it is even more important in that it offers an opportunity for me to spend sustained time in conversation with God…getting to know Him and love Him more and more as I seek His will concerning the matter that I am praying about. Ultimately, prayer is not so much about me getting what I want from God…as it is about God putting what He wants into me.
He teaches them what to expect when they pray (:11-13)
- First, we are to expect to receive an answer from God. Sons expect that much from their earthly fathers.
- Second, we are to expect to receive the right, best answer from God. Sons expect their earthly fathers to give them what is good for them.
- Third, we are to expect to receive an answer from God that is in keeping with the very best gift that He will ever give us…the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Even earthly fathers, who are sinful men, know how to give a gift that is in keeping with the values that they have taught their children. God knows much better than us how to answer our requests.
Luke 11:14-23-Jesus casts a demon out of a man, and then is accused of doing so by Satan's power. The people then demanded a sign from Heaven. Jesus explains that if that were so, then certainly the power of Satan would be divided and he would wind up defeating himself, but this is not what has happened. Jesus says that He does so by "the finger of God". Does this mean that all God has to do to defeat Satan is lift His little finger! God created the Heavens with His fingers (Psalm 8:3). Jesus tells them that while Satan certainly is strong (:21), He is much stronger (:22) and will overcome him and remove what power he has. They have to make a decision to either believe in Him and be a part of His work for the Kingdom; or, to not believe in Him and in doing so to be opposed to Him. There is no middle, passive ground. You are either with Jesus, or against Jesus.
Luke 11:24-26-Jesus explains that it is not enough just for a demon to be cast out. That is not the end of the story. A new resident must move in...God. If He doesn’t, then the dwelling is empty and the demon may return. Jesus says that the demon “passes through waterless places seeking rest”. He is using a human analogy to explain a truth of the spiritual realm. There is a need of demons that is somehow met when they possess a human. Just like water meets a human need…in a similar way when a demon possesses a human it meets this need of the spiritual realm. The demon may leave…but will return to see if the dwelling (human) is unoccupied. If so, the demon will move back in.
Today, people often speak of having a positive mental attitude, etc. But this is not enough. While this may provide some physical, earthly relief…there is a spiritual realm that is unfazed. In fact, while to a degree, a person may be able to exert his will and not succumb to evil, or to demonic seduction, Satan is more wily and subtle than we realize. While we may think that we have gained control over our life by our own will power…Satan now has the element of pride and ego to use against us. At just the moment that we feel satisfied and smug about our accomplishment, we provide Satan with an even greater opportunity to attack us…an even greater vulnerability than before. If we are to truly have substantive, lasting change in our life…there must be a spiritual regeneration. This is the work of the Holy Spirit as we submit our lives to Him.
Luke 11:27-28-Jesus says that those that are truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and put it into practice.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to pray...as You taught the disciples. Oh, Father, that even the power of Your little finger would rest upon my life, would be enough for me. Please, Lord, fill me completely. I give my life totally to You.