“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord teach us to pray…’” (Luke 11:1).
Jesus modeled a life of prayer by praying, and they saw the results. They put two and two together and came up with power. They saw the relationship between His prayer life and His miracle life and made the request.
He had taught much about prayer—about persistence, faith, a generous Father, and how to use prayer to move mountains. Did the disciples learn to pray? Indeed—and they turned their world on its head.
In answer to their request, Jesus gave them a model prayer. He said, “When you pray, say, ‘Father’” (Luke 11:2). That surprised them. Too close, too personal. They didn’t speak the name of God. Now Jesus was telling them to call Him what children call their dad. But Jesus had a reason, and they would come to understand. We are servants of the Lord and children of our Father. As servants we own nothing. As children we are given all things. Good posture for prayer! Then Jesus gave them important items to ask for—that God’s name be hallowed, that His kingdom come, that we receive daily what we need, that we are forgiven and forgive, and that we not be led into temptation.
Jesus next told a story. He said, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him” (v. 5,6). Bad time (midnight), bold request (three loaves of bread), big need (I have nothing). Although he called him his friend, the guy on the inside was not friendly. He said four things that amounted to “NO!” “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked. My children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.”
Most people would have left after the first statement, almost everyone after the fourth. But desperation trumps defeat. He would not be refused, and his persistence won the battle—and the bread.
The verse that follows suggests just that: “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 most people who ask receive…” Not exactly. It says, “For everyone who asks receives” (v. 9,10). Jesus doesn’t exaggerate!
Then He closes His teaching on prayer by focusing not on the persistence of the pray-er but the faithfulness of the One we pray to. In the same way that a child asks for fish at mealtime and never entertains the thought that he might be tricked, so we can expect only good things from the Father when we ask. How bold are you? How persistent? Asking proves you are a child. Asking persistently proves you are desperate. Desperation fuels powerful prayer. God is the rewarder of those who seek Him. The Holy Spirit is the answer to all our deepest needs. And the Father loves to give the Spirit. Ask Him now!