Proper 12

Pentecost--Focused  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:19
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Lord, teach us to pray.
“Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). Each rabbi had a particular way of petitioning God, and Jesus’ disciples are aware that John had taught his disciples how to make petition to God. What has become so familiar to us is actually remarkable: “So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: “Father” ’ ” (Luke 11:2).
What is surprising to discover is how seldom in the Old Testa­ment—the Bible Jesus and the disciples knew—God is called Father. It’s actually only about 15 times. Yet, I’d be willing to bet that we call God “Father,” at least that many times a week—or at least a month—especially as we pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven”? Well, it’s because of Jesus’ teaching in our text today . . . and because of who God is . . . and what Jesus has done.
Jesus Teaches Us to Petition God as Father Because Our Father Is the Giver of All Good Things.

Petition God as Father

Luke 11:1–4 NKJV
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”
Calling upon God as Father can only happen when the Father first bestows sonship.
Jesus is able to address God as Father because of his eternal relationship as the only-begotten Son of God.
But by teaching the disciples to call God their Father, Jesus is placing them in that same relationship.
Only Jesus can teach them and us to pray this way, because Jesus is the one who takes us, sinful, wayward children, and makes us God’s children again. We call God Father because Jesus has reconciled us to him by his death on the cross. And now, by faith in Christ Jesus, God the Father adopts us as His children.
It makes sense that the Old Testament saints—even the prophets—would seldom call upon God as Father before the veil of separation was taken away by Jesus’ death.
But now, by his blood, Jesus does invite us to petition God as Father.
When we petition our Father, we do so first by noting who he is—his name—and what he does—reign as King.
Next we pray for daily bread—both physical and eschatological. We enjoy table fellowship with God; Jesus’ disciples on earth are united with the Father in heaven!
We pray to our Father for forgiveness, the essential sustenance of spiritual life. It is only because of forgiveness—for the sake of the crucified Son—that fallen humans may call on God as Father.
Finally, we petition our Father not to bring us into temptation—that is, that we not succumb to temptation.

The Father will answer your prayer.

Luke 11:5–8 NKJV
And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.
The story that Jesus tells next describes a situation the first-century audience would recognize as compelling.
You see, rules of hospitality required the entire community to assist in entertaining a midnight guest. No one would refuse such a request.
But even if someone wished to refuse, he would supply what was needed just to avoid shame.
Our heavenly Father is always honorable and generous.
He does not need to be shamed in order to supply what we need.
Because of who he is, the holy Father, for his name’s sake, will answer our prayer for bread, a symbol for all his gifts.
This doesn’t mean, however, that our Father as some divine genie, who grants every wish. You see, there is a difference between wants and needs.
In our OT reading today, Abraham asked God not to destroy the city in order to spare the righteous. God did spare the righteous, but He also destroyed the city and the evil within.
Likewise, God’s divine will will be accomplished, while taking care of our needs at the same time.

Be persistent in prayer.

Hebrews 4:16 NKJV
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Keep asking! Keep seeking! Keep knocking!
Be bold. Because you are now God’s beloved children, you can enter into His throne-room anytime.
God is not hard to rouse or reluctant to give. He is eager to give. He loves you!
Even human fathers, who are sinful, know how to give their children a fish or an egg. How much more will our heavenly Father, who is good, give to us!
Especially will the Father give the Holy Spirit to his children who ask.
Jesus’ teaching here is the first promise to the disciples that the Holy Spirit will be given to them.
This grand promise—that the Father gives the Holy Spirit through Jesus—assures a gracious answer to every prayer.
The Father loves you so very much, and wants to hear from you and me. This prayer encapsulates everything we need. This is Jesus’ answer to the prayer, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” It’s a perfect prayer.
Luther’s Small Catechism’s introduction to the Lord’s Prayer says: “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” “When you pray, say: ‘Father.’  ” “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.”
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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