“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’
‘He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.‘
Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
‘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.
‘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 11:1-13
When the disciples ask Jesus how to pray, He gives them a word-for-word example to use, then He tells them a story, and finally He finishes with analogy and examples.
Prayer is simple
The Lord’s prayer–His example of how to pray–is simple and straightforward. It is a prayer that we can repeat word-for-word or use as a guide to craft our prayers. Jesus rebukes flowery prayer for show (Matthew 6:5) and ritualistic repetition (Matthew 6:7). Prayer is meant to be humble and to the Lord. It does not need to be eloquent, but rather is the petition of a child to their father.
Prayer is bold
Jesus tells the story of a guest coming late in the night and their host going to a neighbor and requesting food on behalf of their guest. The purpose behind this example is to demonstrate the “shameless audacity” we should have in prayer. We are to go to the Lord with the boldness of a midnight request. We need not be embarrassed or timid in supplications, but instead we are to be shameless and audacious. We do not delay and we ask whatever it is that we need. After telling the story Jesus says,
“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.”
God is good
As we pray our simple and bold prayers, Jesus reminds us that our heavenly Father is good. He uses a comparison of the “lesser to the greater,” by demonstrating that even sinful human fathers can give their children good gifts, “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
If even broken human parents can give good gifts, how much more so our all-powerful and perfect Father?
God does not give “snakes” or “scorpions,” He gives good gifts. The gift of the Holy Spirit, His personal and permanent presence in us, is a gift that is indescribably good, far beyond our understanding. He has already given us Himself, “will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
In our own simple way we can boldly, with “shameless audacity” bring our prayers to God and trust His goodness. If it would be a good gift for us–a perfect gift (James 1:17)–He will give it at the right time and in the right way. He is the perfect Father and has already given us Himself.
Don Sunukjian gave a message at the Moody Founder’s Week conference that dealt with this topic in a powerful way. The link is below.