How to pray?
Luke11:1-13; BCBC/IOUC; 5/30/2021; Rev. Paul Wang
You might say that how to pray is a common question, so there is no need to talk about it. Of course this is wrong! Why? We all know we need to pray, but there are divergent opinions on how we should pray. Luke gives us a new perspective in today’s Scripture, allows us to see the mystery. Let’s look at the first point:
Pray to Father
To regard God as the Father means to regard God as our Father in heaven. This is a great revelation brought to us by Jesus Christ. First, disciples request. Does Jesus need to pray? Who is he praying to? The disciples will inevitably have a doubt, right? Don’t know what to do? There is a mouth under the nose, one word: ask! That’s why when Jesus finished praying in the first verse of Luke 11, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1) We know that first it was John the Baptist who taught his disciples how to pray. Now they see their Master also praying, of course they are curious! What is the difference between Master’s praying and John’s praying? I believe that this move comes from the Holy Spirit, and the purpose is to teach us about God’s view of Father, which is our Father in heaven! We can pray to God our Father!
Second, instruct with authority. Obviously, God values the God’s view of Father very much, and even asked the Lord Jesus to hand’s-on to us personally and teach us to pray word by word. In the second verse, Jesus said, When you pray, say:… It’s like parents tell their children to learn to speak, and the children learn to speak. This is the language of the kingdom of heaven, even the chosen Israel do not know it. When we pray today, we say: “Our Father in heaven”. We must know that this means the price our Lord paid for the incarnation and the sacrifice of his life on the cross. Whenever we call God as our Father in heaven, we are connected to the sacrificial love of the head Christ Jesus. Would you cherish the title when praying to God the Father?
Lastly, concise and comprehensive. In order to focus on the revelation of the God’s view of Father, Luke even cut the length of the Lord’s Prayer. The last sentence: “for yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” Luke simply cut it! In Luke’s Lord’s Prayer, the focus is on praying to God the Father. This does not seem to be a big deal to us as a Chinese. We are more attach to relationships. We are more accustomed to master. A teacher for a day is a father for life. Or the king is the father, and even the local officials of lower level are also known as the magistrate. But this familiarity affects the feeling of shock brought about by the revelation of Jesus Christ. We should enter into the feelings of the Israelis at that time to receive the shock brought by this revelation to the chosen one! Let’s look at the second point:
How to pray? Pray to God the Father! Of course we can pray to any one of the Trinity, but Luke’s revelation today tells us that praying to our God Father is the first choice and the first priority. This is related to the order of the position of the true God of the Trinity and the words of Jesus. First, constantly praying. I’m already asleep, and I’m taking the child to sleep, most of us don’t want to get up and open the door. Who is so ignorant? Knock on the door at midnight, so annoying! Is itt so? But if this person doesn’t give up and keeps knocking on the door, what will happen to you? Hey, buddy, just a few cakes! just a few loaves of bread! We are so hungry, I will pay, is that ok? There is a baby in your family, but I have a baby too! Please open the door for me, I’ll leave after I eat, okay? You are not my friend, you are not relatives to me, why do I need to give you bread? After a long time, if you drag it on, you don’t have to sleep anymore. Why not just get up and open the door, just give them a few loaves of bread, and send them away!
Second, earnestly praying. You see, these people not only knock on the door for a long time, but they are also ask sincerely, and it is not easy to refuse them! Yes, although we may not know each other, but we are familiar with each other. What’s more, there is a Chinese saying: strangers at the first meeting but friends at the second, isn’t it? Who hasn’t had a time when needs help? Next time when you pass by my date’s yard in Zaozhuang Shandong, no worries for food. My mother’s baked flatbread is delicious, you guys just come and eat! Today we are really exhausted and happened to walk to your finca. Isn’t this also predestined by fate? I don’t know if it’s elder brothers, elder sisters, or old men young men, let us put some food in the stomach, we will leave after eating, okay? Even if you are in bed, your wife will urge you to get up. Hurry up and open the door for people, it’s not a problem to be hungry! At this point, I think you’ll just get up and open the door, won’t you?
Lastly, God is waiting for you. What is Jesus talking about? Verse 9: “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. (Luke 11:9) “Do you understand? No? Do not understand? Okay, let me say it again, verse 10: “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:10) “Don’t understand? No way? So obviously, Jesus meant to say, I’m waiting for you! I’ve been waiting for you to pray to me, don’t you know? You just ask, I will give it to you! Since the creation of heaven and earth, my mercy and love, are clearly visible. Do you still not understand me? Let’s go to the third point:
Maybe we don’t really know God so well. Does Jesus’ crucifixion have anything to do with me? He is the Son of God. Does he hurt when people crucify him? Does he really understand my weakness and needs? First, father’s love is as great as a mountain. Is there any father among us? A father is the one who takes the responsibility in a household. When the wind and rain came, he stood up. He faces the upcoming difficulties. The father will stand in front when the danger is coming. What Jesus meant was to understand the feeling of the Father from the perspective of a father. Although it is not completely equal, a similar feeling can still catch the grab, right? Of course, what matters is our faith. Do you believe that Heavenly Father is love? Do you believe that Heavenly Father loves you?
Second, love for the son. If you can’t feel the love of Heavenly Father, you might as well think about your father. Does he love you? Which father does not give the best to his children? The child is hungry and asks you for a cake. Will you give the child a stone? If your son asks for a fish, will you give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will you give him a scorpion? Of course, we can’t split hairs. Now the days are evil, people’s hearts are corrupted, and we can find some unqualified fathers. The Father loves the Son, Jesus Christ, but, for the sake of loving us, he gave up his one and only beloved Son and let him die on the cross. This is love, and it is love that transcends all things in the world.
Lastly, the Holy Spirit’s presence. God’s love goes far beyond that. He does not only give us daily food and drink. He gave his one and only beloved son, Jesus Christ, to die on cross for us! Is that all? No! Together with the Son, He even gave us the Holy Spirit as an ever-present help! How to experience the Holy Spirit? He has always been in us, and we must experience and receive by faith! Sometimes we know how to decide and what to do when we share prayer items at prayer meetings. This is the proof of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Well, prayer is a lifetime effort, and we will always experience something from it. Luke’s view of prayer places great emphasis on praying to Heavenly Father, how about you? Luke also encourages us to pray with deep love, because God is love. It is fascinating to respond to God’s love with our love. Of course, pray in faith is the principle of biblical revelation!
Lastly, I would like to end today’s sermon with this scripture, Philippians chapter 4 verse 6 to 7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Let us pray ……