Pentecost 10
August 12, 2001
Luke 11:1-13
"The Lessons of Prayer"

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INTRODUCTION: There is a universal need to increase prayer knowledge and power. John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. Jesus' disciples asked for a lesson on prayer.  We pray but we are not satisfied.  As Paul says, we do not know how to pray, as we ought. This begs a number of significant questions for us to ponder.  How do you approach God in prayer? What is proper to ask of God?  Is petition appropriate?

These and many other questions plague our minds. Since prayer is reputed to be a means of power, we feel the need of improving our prayers because our prayers do not produce power. This morning lets see how we can increase the effectiveness of prayer.  Consider Jesus' teaching regarding prayer:

1.   The place of prayer - v. 1 - "He was praying in a certain place."

Though we can pray anywhere, certain places are more conducive to prayer. Jesus had His places; mountains, Gethsemane. Where do you go to pray? Choose a place that is isolated, so that you may concentrate and think clearly. Go to a place where it is just you and the Lord together. There, open up your heart to your heavenly Father.

2.   Petitions - vv.2-4 – “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation.”

The Lord's Prayer. Prayer is more than a mystical experience. Its more then meditation. It's more then merely "talking to yourself". Prayer includes petition based on needs. For what we should ask; consult the Lord's Prayer.

3.   Persistence - vv. 5-10 – And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say to him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine is come to me from a journey, 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 arise 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.

The parable of the persistent friend. The man gets up and gives his friend bread because he was insistent in asking. Note the progressive persistence in v. 9 "Ask - seek - knock". All the Savior asks of us is to be persistent in our prayers. Keep on praying, keep on seeking, keep on asking, keep on knocking. In due time the Lord will answer your prayer.

4.   Presents vv. 11-13 – “And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him 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? “

God is not reluctant to give gifts. He does not have to be persuaded to help.  As a father gives only good gifts, God gives the same to His children!  Of all the gifts, the Holy Spirit is the best!

Conclusion: Persistence in prayer, it’s well worth it. The Lord knows your needs. Yet, He invites us to come to Him to open our heart to Him, and to offer to Him our supplications and petitions knowing according to His will and timing He will answer our every need.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +