Types of Prayer
In Luke 11:1-9, we have one of the most complete teachings on prayer to be found anywhere in the Bible. In this passage, we are introduced to several kinds of prayer. We find here what is commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer. It is also recorded in Matthew 6, but in a different context. In the Matthew passage, we have the “motivation” for prayer. There, Jesus teaches us not to practice our piety before people so that they admire us. Matthew’s focus is that our seasons of prayer should be admiration of our Heavenly Father.
In the Luke passage, I think even the setting or location is significant. Bethany seems to have been a special place in the life of our LORD. It was a small town on the Mt. of Olives, just outside of Jerusalem.
· His friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus (whom He later raised from the dead) lived there.
· Simon the leper, in whose house Christ would be anointed, lived there.
· When Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He spent the night there.
· It was just outside of Bethany that Jesus ascended back to heaven.
I get the feeling that Bethany was a place where Jesus felt He could relax. I think there was a garden in back of the house, and that Jesus went there to pray. I picture that the disciples were impressed with the intimacy Jesus had with his Father and they may have longed for that kind of prayer life themselves because they went to Him and asked Him, “LORD, teach us to pray.”
My desire is that prayer becomes a top priority in our lives personally and in the church, as a whole. I believe that, for that to happen, prayer must be a priority in my own life.
In giving His disciples what has come to be known as the LORD’s PRAYER, it was not His intent that it would be something to be prayed over and over again – not that that would be a bad thing, if it came from the heart.
Rather, I see Him sharing with them the components of prayer and I think it was as follows –
· Prayer should begin with praise and a recognition of the Person of God – “Hollowed be Thy name.”
· Prayer should express solid expectation – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”
· Prayer should reveal petition – “Give us this day our daily bread.”
· It should go without saying, that confession should be a part of our praying – “Forgive us our sins.”
· There should be a strong element of trusting in God’s ability to protect us. — one paraphrase I like, puts it like this – “Don’t allow us to come into the place of testing, but deliver us from evil.”
In Luke 11:9, we have Jesus saying to His disciples, “And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you.”
As I look at that verse, I see three different kinds of prayer or praying. There are three key words and each is followed by a promise from our Lord. Jesus said –
· Ask – and you will receive.
· Seek – and you will find.
· Knock – and the door will be opened to you.
It seems to me that the word “ask” speaks of petition.
The word “seek” has to do with devotion. We are seeking the LORD more than anything else.
Then, the word “knock” speaks of intercession.
Dear brothers and sisters – Jesus taught His disciples that it is okay to ask God or petition Him for certain things. The Bible says that He already knows what we need. In Matthew 6:8, Jesus said, “Do not be like them (the pagans), for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
God is our loving Heavenly Father and as a father, He enjoys giving His children what they need. Listen to what He commands us in John 16:23-24,
“In that day, you will no longer ask Me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. Until now, you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
I find great joy in my heart when I have prayed in agreement with God’s word and His will, and He answers that prayer. It is a real adventure.
In John 16:27, Jesus reveals to us why this petition praying works. “For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.”
God loves us and He loves to give good things into our lives, if we ask Him. Listen to what Jesus tell us in Matthew 7:11, “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 good gifts to those who ask him!”
Have you considered any of the good gifts God has given to us? One of them is the gift of redemption and reconciliation. In 2 Corinthians 5:19, the Apostle Paul wrote, “that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. What a gift – our sin can be forgiven and we can be restored to a harmonious relationship with our Heavenly father – through trusting in Christ. As God’s redeemed and restored children, we can come in the name of Jesus and ask for the things we need. He frequently gives us more than we need because we love and believe in His Son. Don’t be afraid to petition your Father in heaven. (To be continued.)
Trusting in Him,