This study is based on Luke 11:1-8, “1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 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. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”
1. From the beginning why is Jesus telling this parable? What is the disciples asking?
- They were asking Jesus to teach them how to pray.
- So Jesus launches into a familiar discourse that is famous around the world – the Lord’s prayer.
- The version of the Lord’s prayer that is most famous is found in Matthew 6:9-13, “9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
- Just before the Lord’s prayer Jesus gives some thoughts on how we should pray.
- Matthew 6:7-8
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
- Don’t use vain repetitions. Don’t just keep repeating the same prayer and the same words over and over again without any meaning.
- Many people repeat the Lord’s prayer verbatim word for word – sometimes without much thought.
2. So how we should pray? What does the Lord’s prayer teach?
- “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”
- First thing to pray for: We should start by addressing the Father, and at the end we address Jesus because He is the connecting link between us and the Father.
- “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”
- Second thing we should pray for: the second coming of Jesus (thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth).
- We often start our prayer with our own requests, but what if it is not what God wants for us? We got to pray in this way so that God’s will can be done.
- “Give us this day our daily bread.”
- Third thing to pray for: daily bread.
- Spiritual – bread of God – bread from heaven, word of God.
- Physical – someone who does not have food, the needy, someone that is not rich.
- “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
- Fourth thing to pray for: forgive us of our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
- This is where the rubber meets the road of the Christian.
- “And lead us not into temptation”
- Fifth thing to pray for: lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
- You got to leave the place where there are temptations for you if this is your prayer.
- If we truly pray this prayer as it truly is and understand it at a deeper level, our lives would be very different. We would be seeking for God’s will instead of our own.
- However, this is not the main point of the lesson.
- Jesus gives a parable back in Luke to illustrate about prayer.
Luke 11:5-8 – basic outline of the story
- So a friend comes to another friend at what time? Midnight.
- And what does he ask for? Three loaves of bread.
- Why? Because he has another friend who has come to visit him last minute and he himself has run out of food. So that’s why he goes to his friend at midnight.
- What does the other friend reply though? He basically says No, don’t disturb me. The friend was not willing to give the three loaves of bread to him.
- However, eventually the friend ends up giving. Why? What does the Bible say?
- Because of his importunity, he ends up giving him as much as he needs.
3. What does the word “importunity” actually mean?
- It doesn’t mean because of his unfortunate circumstance. The friend does not give him the loaves of bread because he feels sorry for him.
- What does it mean? It means shamelessness.
- It means that because his friend kept asking and was persistent and was shameless about asking, he ended up giving it to him.
- How did we know he was shameless? He came at midnight. He wasn’t shy about the time as to how late it was. He just came anyways.
4. Who is represented by who in this story? Who is the one knocking on the door, asking for the bread?
- It represents us, humans because we are the ones that need to learn the shamelessness of asking. One that is a Christian because remember that Jesus is teaching them about prayer.
5. Who is the neighbor with his children all asleep?
- God. Though God will not turn us away, but God is trying to fit into the story. The person in the house represents God the Father.
6. Who do the hungry friends represent?
- People who don’t have God’s word in their life yet. The bread is the one that is supposed to be given to them. How do we know this?
- Because the friend is asking for bread. What does bread represent in the Bible? The word.
- Matthew 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
- Matthew 4:4
- So the friend that is asking is a Christian that is desperate to share the word of God with his friends.
So let’s consider the big picture of this parable:
- We are asking God for the Bible so that we can give it to others.
- But why does God seem like He does not want to give it to us?
- He wants to try your importunity, your shamelessness. How desperate do you want it? How desperate are you to get this so that you can give it to other people?
7. When you keep repeating what you want when you are desperate, it is different than a vain repetition. Why?
- Because vain repetition is without meaning. Shamelessly asking until you get it is with a purpose. It is not a vain repetition but a desperate cry for help.
- Have you ever asked God like this before?
- When you teach and when you preach? Try asking God like this.
- When you study and read the Bible, do you desperately cry out to God that you might understand so that you can share it with others?
- Sometimes when we read the Bible and we don’t understand it, maybe we just close the Bible and just move on. Or maybe sometimes when we don’t understand it we just say to ourselves, “Oh well, I’m sure the pastor can answer it for me when I see him.”
- It is a very different attitude. We shouldn’t lean on the arm of flesh. We can go directly to God for help.
- HOWEVER, He sees how desperate we are. He sees how shameless we are in asking.
I want you to consider something else:
- The person asked for how many loaves of bread? Three loaves.
- Can you think of three pieces of the word of God? Where do we see three portions of the word of God in the Bible? The three angels’ messages!
- Also, what time did the friend ask? Midnight.
- What do we understand about midnight in the Bible?
- Matthew 25:6
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
- The midnight cry!
- The time just before the second coming of Jesus.
- Matthew 25:6
- This parable is very much related to the day and time in which we live.
- So what’s the main lesson? We must learn to shamelessly ask.
However the lesson is not finished yet. Jesus has yet a bit more to say:
- Luke 11:9-12
9 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. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
- There are parts of these verses that are familiar to us. Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.
- However, there is one word that keeps repeating over and over again throughout these verses. What is it? Ask.
- It is repeated in every single verse. Ask, ask, ask.
- We must SHAMELESSLY ask!
8. But what should we ask for?
- Luke 11:13
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?
- We should shamelessly ask for the Holy Spirit.
- Three pieces of bread – the three angels’ messages.
- Midnight – the midnight cry.
- Holy spirit – the latter rain.
- If we are to be ready, we got to be asking shamelessly.
Many of us don’t know how to pray, and it’s not because we don’t pray. But we either don’t mean it or we don’t do it. If we are to pray for Your Kingdom to come, the second coming, we must learn to ask shamelessly. Be persistent in keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
- Jesus said that we would do greater works in the last days that He Himself has done.
- Why? Because He would go to the Father and ensure that we can do it. But how?
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
- Jesus said that whatever we ask, He would do it.
- Nowadays the way we apply this promise is we ask for help in our studies, help in our work. Help for our finances. Help to find a life partner. Help to get a good deal with our car and house. Help for many things – which in and of itself is not wrong.
- But it seems that the reason Jesus’ kingdom has not come, is because we are praying for the wrong things and we are not learning to shamelessly ask.
- Many of us shamelessly ask God to bless us with riches and wisdom. We will beg.
- But we find it hard to beg for the one thing that Jesus has absolutely promised He would give if we learn to ask. What is it?
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
- We must learn to ask for the Holy Spirit – the greatest blessing that Jesus can give us today.
- Let’s learn to pray for the Holy Spirit so that we can do the work of God today. That His will would be done on earth just like it is done in heaven. Which means that work must begin with us today.
- We got to learn to shamelessly ask.
In closing let’s turn our Bibles to 2 Kings 2:1-4, “1 And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. 3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. 4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.”
- This is the chapter where Elijah is taken up to heaven. Word gets out that he will be going to heaven. He was in Gilgal and he goes down to Bethel. He goes down to Jericho as well. And each time he tells Elisha to stay but Elisha refuses. As long as Elijah is alive, he would stick right there with him.
Elijah represents Jesus going up to heaven. Elisha represents us. And as they are walking, Elijah asks Elisha what he wants.
- 2 Kings 2:9
And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
- Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
- Isn’t that an amazing request? Isn’t that what we call shamelessly asking?
- If what Elijah has is enough to get him to heaven, shouldn’t we just ask for the same amount? But no, Elisha asks for a double portion!
- So what does Elijah reply?
- 2 Kings 2:10
And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
- Elijah says if you see me go up to heaven, then you request will be granted.
- Now if you are Elisha, what would you do from then on? I would NEVER let him out of my sight again, not even for a moment. Everywhere Elijah does, Elisha would go. Doesn’t matter where. Just go. Just make sure you don’t lose sight of him.
- What does this mean? You got to keep Jesus near you every single minute of your life. Never let Him out of your sight.
- And if we can do that, Jesus will give us a double portion of His Spirit.
Let us not put so much focus on earthly things. Let’s make sure we never let Jesus out of our sight. Let’s learn to pray. Learn to keep His word before us constantly. Remind ourselves to keep our eyes fixed on Him at all times. Let’s learn to put God in front of us every hour. Let’s ask that we can be like Christ. It’s not that we are doing bad things, but in the midst of all that we do, do we remember Jesus?
Unless we learn to pray shamelessly and consistently, the Holy Spirit will never be poured out. Jesus will never come again. So, we got to learn to pray. It is so simple, but it is so difficult for many of us. Sometimes it feels like there is no progress with our prayer, but we need to endure. We got to learn to pray. We must. We got to ask for something only God can do, ask for something big. Let’s learn to ask shamelessly for the latter rain, a double portion of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had.