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The Lord’s Prayer, Part 3

In the last post, we began looking at the context of the Lord’s Prayer in Luke’s Gospel. We saw how the incident with Mary and Martha sets us up for a right attitude in prayer—to come humbly with the intent to listen to the Lord. Following the Lord’s Prayer, we find two parables. Jesus gave these parables to remind us about God’s character. As we come to him in prayer, we need to think rightly about him.

The first parable is about a man who has an urgent need late at night and who goes to his neighbor for help. But his neighbor refuses to help him with lame excuses. It’s important to realize that in that culture and day, it was unthinkable for this man not to help his friend. Jesus’ point is clear: God is not like this neighbor who feels inconvenienced by his friend. God cares deeply for us and will help us! Jesus assures us further with the words, “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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)

The second parable consists of a series of rhetorical questions: “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!” (Luke 11:11-13) By way of contrast, Jesus urges us to recognize that if we, who are sinful, know what it means to be kind to our children, then how much more will our heavenly Father do so!?

Our heavenly Father delights in answering the prayers of his children. That doesn’t mean that we always get what we ask for, but it does mean that he will always respond by giving us what is best for us and will bring him glory. This isn’t double-talk! For if we stop and consider our relationship with God and his kindness, love and compassion for us, we ultimately want what he wants. We desire his glory. We want for us what he deems best, because he knows best.

In the next post, we’ll begin looking more closely at the Lord’s Prayer itself.

©2011 Rob Fischer