FOR AUDIO VERSION CLICK HERE.We come now to Luke 11. One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say: "'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'"
Jesus was a man of prayer. He was praying when the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove (Luke 3:21). He began His ministry with a 40-day fast in the wilderness (4:1-15). Other times He withdrew into the wilderness to pray (5:16). Then before choosing the 12 He was up all night praying (6:12). Just before Jesus asked that famous question, "Who do you say that I am?", He was praying (9:18). Just before He was transfigured He took Peter, James and John up on the mountain to pray (9:28). And He was praying here at the beginning of our text in Luke 11:1.
The example of Jesus praying so much is a powerful one. The reason the disciples wanted Him to teach them how to pray is because they witnessed Him in prayer so often. If Jesus, their teacher and master, feels the need to spend time in prayer, then how much more do they need to pray? Or, how much more do we?
Then Jesus said to them, "Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' And suppose the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened. "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Jesus gives them one of the most vital ingredients to praying effectively. The ingredient? God, your Father, will answer your prayers. You can count on it. In fact, you are to pray believing that He will.
Then Jesus amplifies on what a disciple's role is in praying. In addition to praying in confidence that you will receive what you ask for, you are to keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. And if you do, He will give you what you ask, you will find what you seek and the door will be opened to you. This is one of the most beautiful promises Jesus makes and it's all for the asking, seeking and knocking.
I know what you're thinking, "Yeah, but what if this or that." If your mind is anything like mine, it races to a whole list of excuses for unanswered prayer. Yet Jesus makes it clear that we are to pray, believing and God will answer our prayers.
I must close with the only thought that makes sense to me on prayer. I come back to it often and repeat it to myself for comfort. PRAYER DOESN'T NEED PROOF; IT NEEDS PRACTICE.