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Praying Disciples

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Prayer

PRAY - Now Find with me in your Bibles, Luke chapter 11 and READ with me what we know traditionally as “The Lord’s Prayer” but really and truly it should be called The Disciple’s Prayer. We will also read the subsequent parable on prayer.
Luke 11:1–8 CSB
He was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.” He said to them, “Whenever you pray, say, Father, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone in debt to us. And do not bring us into temptation.” He also said to them: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his friend’s shameless boldness, he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
For many of us prayer is like the National Anthem before a football game. It gets the game started, but simply has no connection with what’s happening on the field. It’s a Courtesy. - Tony Evans
For many of us prayer is like the National Anthem before a football game. It gets the game started, but simply has no connection with what’s happening on the field. It’s a Courtesy. - Tony Evans
Illustration: This past Tuesday, Joanna and I were on the way to Cape to get VBS supplies at Lifeway. I looked down at the gas gauge and told her to remind me to stop for gas as soon as we cross the River into town.
She kind of nervously asked me if we were gonna make it that far.
I nonchalantly quipped back, “Yeah we are good the need fuel light is not even on yet.”
God meant for prayer to be a part of every day and everything of our life, not just saved for liturgical moments or traditions - “God is good, God is great.”
I think, however, if we were honest, we would say that more often than we would like to admit, those two illustrations describe our attitudes regarding the need for connecting our lives, our church, doing the Lord’s work and prayer.
We are taught from many verses of the Bible that prayer is intentional communication with God. When a Christian prays, he/she should assume in faith that God is powerful enough, willing enough, and gracious enough to hear and respond to the prayer.
I see here in this chapter of Luke a recognition by Jesus’ disciples, or at least one of them, that prayer is something more significant than just a courtesy. Through the repeated example of their Rabbi/Master and even from watching John teach his disciples, they became aware of the great:
I think, however, if we were honest, we would say that more often than we would like to admit, those two illustrations describe our attitudes regarding the need for connecting our lives, our church, doing the Lord’s work and prayer.
I see here in this chapter of Luke a recognition by Jesus’ disciples, or at least one of them, that prayer is something more significant than just a courtesy. Through the repeated example of their Rabbi/Master and even from watching John teach his disciples, they became aware of the great:

Privilege of Prayer

They began to recognition there must be something very important about getting alone and talking to God. They saw what a privilege they could be part of in praying.
Take note now the irony in this. Take note of how odd this must have been for a bit. Jews prayed but still felt that Yahweh was not a very personal deity. Abba - was not a word utter by most Jews when praying to Yaweh - yet Jesus reveals to the apostles and to us, something absent from the Jewish prayers of His day, an intimacy true Christ followers can have with God the Father, just as Jesus maintained.
Mark 14:36 CSB
And he said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.”
Mark 14:36
Apostle Paul, the Hebrew of Hebrews, reiterates the fact of that available intimacy.
Galatians 4:6 CSB
And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”
and
Romans 8:15 CSB
You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”
****We must see how Prayer is such a great privilege from the word Abba. In Jesus telling us to call Yahweh/Jehovah - Father, He is putting us to equality with Himself, not in becoming deities, but in becoming part of the family - children, equal in God’s love for us, and it demonstates our security in the family. The Father is not going to disown Jesus, thus those in Christ will never be disowned. Loved as Jesus was loved, and having the same access to the Father as Jesus had.
So, understanding the great privilege of prayer and witnessing Jesus getting alone and praying often, the disciples wanted to learn how to do it well. They saw his actions were the result of His prayer life. This is the only request found in the Gospels asking Jesus to give a teaching lesson. This suggests maybe that followers of Jesus should want to be known best as prayerful people, people characterized by their relationship with Him. That is how the 1st Century church was known in their culture.
Acts 2:42 NASB95
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Pattern of Prayer

Notice, however, their request in v. 1, teach us TO pray, not HOW to pray. The perfection of our praying will come through the practice of our praying.
Also, notice Jesus suggests to them a pattern to use whenever they are praying, making the assumption they already were praying.

Pattern of Prayer

The pattern is a simple outline of, “A classic definition of Christian prayer is “an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies”
The pattern is a simple outline of, “A classic definition of Christian prayer is “an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies”
Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Prayer. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1745). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Do you see the pattern here in vs. 2-8
Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Prayer. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1745). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Proclamation - Regarding God
Provision - Requesting from God
Provision - Requesting from God: our food and his forgiveness for life now
Protection - Receiving from God
In this pattern Jesus teaches us that all our praying must begin with a focus on the Person and Character of God not on our concerns. Then we must concern ourselves with God’s sovereignty and Kingdom not worrying about our personal security and comfort. Jesus proves to us our greatest need is that of daily forgiveness, not just at the time of our salvation. Then and only then should we seek our temporal support and spiritual protection (from temptation, never from trials). The reason many Christians do not pray in this pattern is they know that praying regularly such a prayer will move them out of their comfort zones into a hostile world in need of God’s people penetrating the darkness to build His kingdom.
That could be the reason for God through Apostle Paul telling us our greatest need is to pray because it is our weapon of offense and protection of defense against Satanic attacks. Turn with me in your Bible to and Ephesians 6
Ephesians 3:14 NASB95
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
Ephesians 3:14–16 CSB
For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit,
Eph 3:14
Eph 3:14
Ephesians 6:10–18 CSB
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:10-18
What about you? Do you pick up your helmet and sword and pray at all times in the Spirit? Do you pray more for God’s Kingdom to come or for your comfort to be kept?
What about you? Do you pick up your helmet and sword and pray at all times in the Spirit? Do you pray more for God’s Kingdom to come or for your comfort to be kept?
Notice the request in v. 1 though was, teach us TO pray, not HOW to pray. It is more about the:
Notice the request in v. 1 though was, teach us TO pray, not HOW to pray.

Practice of Prayer

Also, notice Jesus suggests to them a pattern to use whenever they are praying, making the assumption they already were praying persistently. The perfection of our praying will come through the practice of our praying.

Parable of Prayer

Jesus being the master teacher, illustrates the primacy of the prayer connection between us and God with a humorous but poignant parable. From it we should take the truth that practice may not make perfect but still needs to be often.
The parable teaches us 2 duties given to us in similar situations of people in need.
1 - Meet a perilous problem head on through the persistence of prayer.
God calls upon you to be an intercessor, to stand in the gap between Him and a person in need, petitioning Him to provide a solution to the problem. Pray earnestly and persistently for others far more than you do for yourself. Notice back in the pattern, Jesus said to pray “our bread” and “our sins.” Prayer in its proper form is never selfish.
Lesson here as well is - we must never play at prayer, when praying for our needs or others needs. If we do not want it enough to be persistent, then we must not want it very much. What does that say about how often and how long you pray for the lost souls of this county and country and world?
2 - Be the purveyor of God’s provisions as an answer to persistent prayer.
The Bible says in:
Philippians 4:19 NASB95
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
He sovereignly designed His kingdom and His church so that other believers would be the means thru which he keeps that promise, so in turn He expects you to be the answer to another believer’s prayer when made aware of it by Him.
Jesus uses this parable to teach the requirement you have in prayer, and to give a promise about our prayers. The requirement - Our prayers, for others and self must be persistent, and the promise is, God is always ready to give. He will answer if you will pray without ceasing.
Jesus uses this parable to teach the requirement you have in prayer, and to give a promise about our prayers. He will answer if you will pray.
Conclusion: Tony Evans explains our privilege of prayer in a manner that also illustrates the result of our persistence in practicing prayer.
The Peril - The inability of the person to satisfy the need
Illustration: If I put a million dollars in your physical bank account, you are a guaranteed millionaire. But if you don’t know how to write a check, that which is guaranteed cannot be enjoyed. Too many of us who’ve got bank accounts full of God’s blessing are forgetting to write out and sign our checks. WE forget to draw from that spiritual reservoir, or we don’t understand how to draw from that spiritual reservoir to live the successful Christian life.
The Persistence
The answer to everything we are concerned about in our life, in our community and country, and here at our church is sitting right now in heaven. It is sitting there waiting on us to persist in coming before God to change the circumstance or change us and our attitude.
Determined Prayer of a Christ Follower is always met with a
Christian prayer involves a struggle of wills in which the pray-er (you) attempts to persuade God, all the time seeing prayer as a divinely given means whereby the pray-er (You) can participate in God’s agenda.[1] Sometimes our agenda is not in line with His, and only prayer will bring the two in line together.
Definite Answer from Christ when that Christ Follower is committed -
[1] Okholm, D. L. (1996). Prayer. In Evangelical dictionary of biblical theology (electronic ed., p. 622). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

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