The Gospel of Luke - Part 48: Learning from the Lord — Luke 11:1-4
(These notes are based on lesson notes prepared by Rob Mahon for connection class leaders at Hoffmantown Church.)

Review:

Over a month ago, we finished the study of Luke Chapter 10 where Jesus taught His Disciples and us the traits that just naturally show in true followers of Jesus. We saw that:

A.   Disciples Labor
B.   Disciples Love God
C.   Disciples Love People
D.   Disciples Learn

If we are truly followers of Jesus, we are hard at work doing His work, we love God and show it, we love people and practice it, and we are active learners of God’s Word and His teachings. Remember that we ended that study with the event where Mary was seated at the feet of Jesus, learning from Him while her sister Martha was ticked off because Mary was not helping her prepare the meal. We concluded that after Jesus’ death, we are pretty sure that Martha wishes she had spent that time at the feet of Jesus instead of in the kitchen, fuming. We need to make sure our learning from Jesus is a first priority, more important than just being busy with religious stuff.

This morning we continue with Jesus’ teaching in Chapter 11 of Luke.

Learning from the Lord:

Whom do you learn from? Who shapes your thinking and values? To one degree or another, we are all social "chameleons" — we take on the "coloring", the characteristics of the people who are closest to us. God recognizes that we are strongly influenced by those who are close to us. This can have a positive or negative effect on our lives.

Proverbs tells us:

He who walks with wise men will be wise,
   But the companion of fools will suffer harm. —Proverbs 13:20
Paul writes,   Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” —1 Corinthians 15:33

Of course, the strongest influence on our lives should be Jesus. But we need to recognize that this won't just happen naturally. We need to be committed to spending a lot of time with Him, in the Scriptures, listening to Him, watching Him, learning from Him. Luke 11:1 demonstrates this with His disciples. As they watched Him pray and listened to Him, they developed a deep hunger to have the same quality, the same depth in their own lives.

With each subject Jesus addresses in this chapter, let's pray, "Lord, teach us about this subject so that we can become more like You."

Jesus said:

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. —Matthew 11:29
Paul tells us
...which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. —1 Corinthians 2:13
This verse in The Message translation says:
We don't have to rely on the world's guesses and opinions. We didn't learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we're passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way. [The Message]
In Luke Chapter 11 we will see Jesus teach us:
A.   To Be Prayerful
B.   To Be Powerful
C.   To Be Pure

So let’s start with how Jesus is teaching us:

A.   To Be Prayerful:

Praying is one of those things we all agree on its value but few of us demonstrate a commitment to it. The truth is that what we do is true measure of how important we consider prayer.

Jesus' life was always consistent with His teaching. He taught about prayer but most of all, He modeled the importance of prayer. There are at least 25 passages in Luke that tell of Jesus' example and teaching concerning prayer (see handout).

Jesus prayed at every major event in His life: His baptism, His temptation, His selection of the Twelve, His crucifixion, even on the cross. But prayer was also a lifestyle with Jesus. He prayed at every opportunity, even making opportunities by getting up early or praying all night or just leaving the crowds to pray.

Jesus' Pattern for Praying:

It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’ ” —Luke 11:1-4
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.”

I wonder who made this request. Whoever it was, he probably spoke for all the disciples. As they watched and listened to Jesus praying, they realized how much they needed to learn about prayer, how little they really knew about how to pray, even though they had seen people pray in synagogues and the temple all their lives.

Notice, too, that both John the Baptist and Jesus had reputations as men of prayer and both taught their disciples how to pray.

Richard J. Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, says:

Real prayer is something we learn. The disciples asked Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray.” They had prayed all their lives, and yet something about the quality and quantity of Jesus' praying caused them to see how little they knew about prayer. If their praying was to make any difference on the human scene, there were some things they needed to learn. It was liberating to me to understand that prayer involved a learning process. I was set free to question, to experiment, even to fail, for I knew I was learning.

Whose example are you following, in the way you pray, in how often and how long you pray and in what you pray for?

Most Christians imitate the people around them rather than really following the lead of Jesus and imitating Him.

To learn more of what Jesus taught about prayer, look at the list of verses in the handout. Listed is every reference to Jesus and prayer in Luke.

In answer to the request to teach them how to pray, Luke tells us, referring to Jesus:

And He said to them, “When you pray, say..." —Luke 11:2
Luke condenses the example prayer that Jesus left for us. Let's look at the more familiar version found in Matthew 6:9-13. We will use the Matthew passage since it is more complete. Mathew recorded that Jesus said:

Pray, then, in this way: "Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]" —Matthew 6:9-13

Jesus starts by saying: Pray, then, in this way. —Matthew 6:9

The wording here is really important. Notice that Jesus doesn't say, "Pray this prayer". Instead, He says, "pray in this way". The purpose of this prayer is not to be memorized and repeated.

Remember what Matthew 6:7 says, quoting Jesus:

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. —Matthew 6:7
The purpose of this prayer is to provide a pattern, to provide principles for us to learn and follow as we pray, not to give us something to recite like a chant. Let’s see what we can learn about how we should pray from each phrase in this passage. First let’s recognize:

The Person of God:

Jesus told them, and tells us:

Pray, then, in this way: "Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name". —Matthew 6:9
We see that He is our heavenly Father

There is a story about a Sunday school class of youngsters who had some problems repeating the Lord's Prayer, but they didn't lack in imagination. One child prayed, "Our Father, who art in heaven, how'd you know my name?"

That is not quite what Jesus said.

Jesus said, our Father who is in heaven…

The privilege of having God as our heavenly Father is something that comes only through the work and teaching of Jesus. Of the over 600 times the word father is used in the Old Testament, there are only eight references to God as Father. In contrast, there are over 260 references to God as our Father in the New Testament! John 1:12 tells us:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God. —John 1:13
Only those who believe in Jesus and receive Jesus into their lives are “children of God” and have the incredible privilege of having God as their heavenly Father.

Jesus starts with this truth — that when we pray, we pray to “our Father”.

What are some things that a Father-child relationship with God implies?

There are two words translated “Father” in the New Testament. The first, and by far most commonly used, word is the Greek word, πατερ [pater]. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, the word “pater” comes “from a root signifying ‘a nourisher, protector, upholder’.” That is a great picture of God!

But there’s another word used for God as “Father” in the New Testament: it’s the Aramaic word “Abba”. It’s found just three times in the New Testament, but it adds an important dimension to our understanding of God as our Father:

And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” —Matthew 14:35-36

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God... —Romans 8:15-16

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” —Galatians 4:6
For us to understand Abba Father, we sometimes translate it as Daddy. When Becky or Kathy leads our prayer time, I always like it when she talks to God as Daddy and thanks Him for the privilege of calling Him Daddy.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says: “‘Abba’ was a common way young Jewish children addressed their fathers. It conveyed a sense of familial intimacy and familiarity. The Jews, however, did not use it as a personal address to God since such a familiar term was considered inappropriate in prayer. Thus Jesus’ use of Abba in addressing God was new and unique. He probably used it often in His prayers to express His intimate relationship with God as His Father.

Of all His names, Father is God's favorite. We know He loves this name most because this is the one He used most. While on earth, Jesus called God "Father" over 200 times. In His first recorded words Jesus explained, "Didn't you know that I must be in my Father's house?"

Remember when His family left Jerusalem on their way back to Nazareth and discovered that they had left Him behind, they returned to Jerusalem and found him in the Temple.

And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” —Luke 2:49
In his final triumphant prayer he proclaims,
And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. —Luke 23:46
Then we see that God is our holy Father. In this teaching on how to pray Jesus adds:
“...hallowed be Your name.”
The word “hallowed” is from the Greek word 'αγιαζο [hagiazo]. It’s from the root word 'αγιος [hagios], meaning “holy”. Webster’s Dictionary says that “hallow” means “to make holy; to regard as holy; to honor as sacred”.

With this phrase, Jesus reminds us here that God is a holy God. 

John MacArthur says that “hallowed” means “to attribute to God the holiness that already is, and always has been, supremely and uniquely His”

Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. —Matthew 6:9
When He puts these two phrases together, Jesus gives us a balanced view of God. He teaches us that the intimacy of having God as our Father is balanced with the reverence we should have for God because He alone is perfectly holy. Knowing that God is holy can protect us from failing to show the awe, the reverence, the worship that is due God. He is not “the Man upstairs”. He is the One and only God, infinitely and perfectly holy. The Purposes of God:

Jesus continued:

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. —Matthew 6:10
Jesus now moves from the personhood of God to the purposes of God. We tend to focus on God fulfilling our purposes rather than our being here for His purposes.

We need to Pray for His kingdom. The theme of the “kingdom of God” was a major part of Jesus’ teaching. There are over a hundred references to God’s kingdom in the Gospels. Maybe the simplest definition of God’s kingdom is that it is wherever Jesus is King.

Think about that. God’s kingdom is wherever Jesus is King.

John MacArthur tells us that the Greek word for kingdom is βασιλεια [basileia]. He says it “does not refer primarily to a geographical territory but to sovereignty and dominion”.

To pray for the Lord’s kingdom to come has a couple of implications. In the long term, it means that we pray for Jesus’ return and the establishment of His kingdom forever on earth. But for now, it means that we pray for the expansion of God’s kingdom on earth — that for more and more people, Jesus will be their king.

Jesus suggests that we pray: "Your kingdom come..." Here are two practical applications of this prayer in our lives:

Dan Fields in "Doing Life Together" says: “The call of Jesus is not a call to build buildings or to build organizations or to build programs . . . Rather, He has called us to follow Him and build community. For this is how the kingdom of God is built — not brick-by-brick, but heart-by-heart and life-by-life. (Dan Fields)

“Heart by heart and life by life” — Jesus wants all of us to not only be praying for this to happen, but to be actively working toward this goal.

What can we do to help His “kingdom come”? — Pray for His will

So what can we learn from this phrase in the Lord’s prayer, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”?

In heaven, everything is done according to God’s will. And that’s His desire for life on this planet as well.

Jesus modeled this prayer for us Himself in His darkest hour before the cross when He prayed,  “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” —Luke 22:42

George Mueller, a 19th century evangelist, said: "Ninety percent of knowing God's will is to be willing to do it no matter what it is."

Are you putting God's desires ahead of your own?

Let’s stop here and pick up the prayer instruction that Jesus teaches us next week. Read Luke 11 again and also go back and re-read Matthew 6:9-13.