Sermon #721                                                                         Luke Sermons


      Title:               Teach Us To Pray

      Text:               Luke 11:1-4

      Subject:          Our Master’s Instruction About Prayer

      Tape #       W-84b



I cannot imagine a subject about which I am less qualified to preach and give instruction than the matter of prayer. It is a subject about which I must frankly confess, “I know very little, in reality.” I know a great deal about the subject in theory, but little in experience. I wish I could stand here and tell you otherwise; but that is not the case.


I suppose there have been more of those silly “How To” books written about prayer than about any other aspect of worship. If you should run across one, I highly recommend that you run away from it. Such books are always detrimental, never helpful.


Without question, every heaven born soul prays. Prayer is the cry of our hearts to our Father, the breath of the new born child, the panting of the believer’s heart after God, the constant dependence of faith upon the God of all grace.


Yet, I have no doubt, every child of God often cries out to the Lord Jesus Christ in his soul, like that unnamed disciple of whom Luke speaks in our text, “Lord, teach us to pray.” That is the title of my message. It is, unless I am utterly deceived, the cry of my heart. I trust it is yours, as well.—“Lord, teach us to pray!


Let’s read our text together.


(Luke 11:1-4) "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying[1] in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When[2] ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”


Few passages of Scripture are so often quoted and about which men and women are so commonly ignorant as this. Almost any child can recite what is called by most, “The Lord’s Prayer.” The words are memorized early and recited often. Sometimes, the words are even sung. Yet, I do not doubt, there are very few who have any idea what is here taught.


The Son of God only on two occasions verbally taught us how to pray, here and in Matthew 6. Luke is not simply repeating what Matthew said. These were two distinct occasions. The instruction in Matthew 6 is part of our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount in Galilee. Here our Lord was with his disciples in Judea. There, the instruction was part of his sermon. Here his instruction is in response to the request of one of his disciples, after the Savior himself had been engaged in prayer.


One of his disciples" said, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." Verses 2-13 give us our Savior’s answer to that request. Today, we will look at our Lord’s instructions in verses 2-4, line by line. If we can get just a portion of what is written in theses three verses, our time spent here today will be profitable to our souls forever.


These brief, simple lines are a mine of spiritual treasure. To expound them fully is impossible. Volumes have been written on just these brief lines. Yet, there are treasures in this deep mine that have not yet been brought to the surface. I make no pretense of being able to bring out the richest diamonds or largest nuggets. When I am done there will be much, much more left unsaid than is said. But I want, by the Spirit of God, to show you what I know to be the most prominent and most important things here taught by our Savior.


Today, I want to show you how the Lord Jesus taught his disciples to pray. Let me make just two or three statements by way of introduction. Then we will look at the Master’s instruction about prayer line by line.


1.      This is not “The Lord’s Prayer,” but “The Disciples’ Prayer”The Lord’s prayer is found in John 17. Our Lord Jesus did not, should not have, and could not have prayed for divine forgiveness! He had not yet been made sin for us! He had no sin to be forgiven.


2.      This is not a prayer to be memorized and recited, but a model and representation of how we are to pray and for what. Here our Lord, knowing that we do not know what to pray for as we ought, helps our infirmities. Here he teaches us what we are to pray for and how to do it.


NOTE: Never do we find the disciples reciting these words as a prayer. In fact, the only other reference made to them is in Matthew 6. And here our Lord Jesus deliberately avoided giving us an exact replica of what he said in Matthew 6. The first three petitions are the same. The rest is worded very differently, though the meaning is the same. And the doxology found in Matthew 6 is here omitted altogether.


3.      In these few, short statements, our Lord Jesus teaches us all the vital aspects of prayer. Our prayers should be simple, sincere sagacious, spiritual, and short, avoiding everything like pretense, formality, and show.


Proposition: In prayer we simply spread before God, our heavenly Father, the great desires and needs of our hearts, trusting him to fulfill those desires and meet those needs by his grace for the glory of his name.


What are the great desires of the believer’s heart? What are the great needs we have, which cause us to wait in utter helplessness before God. Let’s look at these few verses, by which our Lord teaches us how to pray, line by line.


I.        Our Father, which art in heaven.”


We are not to pray to saints or angels, but to God our Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of glory, who is in heaven.


A.     Our God and Father is the Father of all men as our Creator (Acts 17:28).


(Acts 17:22-31) "Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. (23) For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. (24) God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; (25) Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (26) And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; (27) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: (28) For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. (29) Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. (30) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (31) Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."


Because he is the God and Father of all men by creation, it is proper for all men to praise him and pray to him. – We never forbid any to pray!


B.     But, God is the Father of his elect in a very distinct and very special sense(Col. 1:20-22).


(Colossians 1:20-22) "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (21) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled (22) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight."


We are the children of God by adoption, by election, by regeneration, and by faith. Do you trust the Lord Jesus Christ? If you do, it is right for you to call God Almighty your Father, and to come to him as such in prayer. (Heb. 4:16).


(Hebrews 4:16) "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."


·        We pray to God Almighty in heaven, as our Father!

·        We pray as the children of God, both individually and collectively.


NOTE: Nothing unites hearts like mutual prayer! – “Our Father!”


II.      Hallowed be Thy Name!”


The name of God represents all his attributes by which he reveals himself to us. His name represents his Being, all that he is! When we say, “Hallowed be thy name,” we are simply praying, like the Lord Jesus did, “Father, glorify thy name” (John 12:28).


A.     God created the world for his glory (Rev. 4:11; Pro. 16:4).


(Proverbs 16:4) "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil."


(Revelation 4:11) "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."


B.     All providence works for his glory (Rom. 11:36).


(Romans 11:36) "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."


C.     God’s object in saving sinners is his glory (Ps. 106:8).


(Psalms 106:8) "Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known."


D.    The object of Christ in his death was, above all else, the glory of God (John 12:28).


(John 12:28-32) "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. (29) The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. (30) Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. (31) Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."


It is the heart desire of every believer, above all else, that God’s name be honored, magnified, and glorified (Ps. 35:27; 40:16; Ps. 70:4; 1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Pet. 4:11).


(Psalms 35:27) "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant."


(Psalms 40:16) "Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified."


(Psalms 70:4) "Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified."


(1 Corinthians 10:31)  "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."


(1 Peter 4:11) "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."


III.   Thy Kingdom Come!”


Our first concern is and must be the glory of God himself. Our second concern is for the kingdom of God. We seek, in all our prayers, that the Lord God will be pleased to establish and enlarge his church and kingdom in this world. (Ps. 122:6-7).


(Psalms 122:6-7) "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. (7) Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces."


To pray “thy kingdom come” is simply to pray, “Lord, save your people, establish your kingdom in this world.”


A.     We pray for the kingdom of grace to be filled (Rom. 11:26).


(Romans 11:26) "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."


B.     We pray for the kingdom of glory to be established (2 Pet. 3:13).


(2 Peter 3:13) "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."


NOTE: Our concern is for the kingdom of God, his sheep, his people, his elect, his church!


IV.  Thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth.”


Prayer is not us trying to get God to do our will. Rather it is a voluntary leaving of our will to his will. “Our truest happiness,” wrote J.C. Ryle, “is perfect submission to God’s will.”


A.     We want to obey God’s revealed will.


B.     We want all men everywhere to surrender to and obey God’s revealed will.


C.     But here, our Lord is teaching us to sincerely and heartily surrender everything to and earnestly desire that God’s will be done in this world exactly as it is in heaven, knowing that it is! (Eph. 1:11).


(Ephesians 1:11) "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."


D.    The fact is, we simply don’t know what to pray for as we ought.


Most of our prayers, I fear, are accurately described by James in James 4:3.


(James 4:3)  "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."


Thank God, even in our prayers, he overrules the evil that is in us and done by us for our good and his glory (Rom. 8:26).


(Romans 8:26)  "Likewise[3] the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."


NOTICE: In all that we have seen thus far, the concern of true prayer is altogether spiritual. Our Lord Jesus teaches us to pray for the glory of God, the people of God, and the will of God. He teaches us to submit all things to those things!


V.     Give us day by day our daily bread.”


What an instructive word this is! We are to seek God’s providential supplies for ourselves and our brethren. – “Give us.” We seek our daily food as a gift from God, knowing that if we have bread to eat we are fed by the hand of God.


Here we are taught to seek no more than is needful for us. Bread,” not gold, just bread! And we are taught to seek no more than our “daily” provision of bread! “Give us day by day,” or as our Lord told us in the Sermon on the Mount, “this day our daily bread.”


NOTE: As we look to our God, our heavenly Father, to provide the needs of our souls, we must also look to him to give us daily bread for our bodies. We acknowledge our entire dependence upon God for life, and breath, and all things. We ask Him to take charge of us, and provide for us in all that concerns this world. This is the prayer of Solomon under another form, "Feed me with food convenient for me." (Pro. 30:8.)


VI.  And forgive us our sins.


We must especially remember this. Our Lord here teaches us to constantly acknowledge our sinfulness and constantly seek forgiveness through his blood. We are to confess our sins continually, not in the ear of an earthly priest, but in the ear of our Father in heaven, seeking forgiveness by the merit of our great High Priest who is in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9).


(1 John 1:9) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."


Our sins are here compared to debts, which we have incurred. They have made us debtors to God, who demands of us both righteousness and satisfaction.


A.     Christ fully paid our debt!


·        He brought in righteousness by his obedience.

·        He satisfied justice by his death – Atonement!


B.     God freely forgives our debts through the merits of Christ.


C.     We constantly need forgiveness because we constantly sin; and we constantly have it through the infinite, perpetual merit of Christ’s blood!


Without question, every child of God is fully justified and forgiven of all sin before God. But it is the life of true faith to apply daily for fresh supplies of all our grace. Though full forgiveness is ours in Christ, we want it constantly, and our Father delights to hear us cry for it, constantly confessing and acknowledging both our sin and our faith in his dear Son for the forgiveness of our sins. Though washed, we need daily to wash our feet. (John xii. 10.) -- We make no excuse for ourselves. We plead nothing in our own behalf. We simply ask for the free, full, gracious mercy of our Father in Christ Jesus.


VII.            We must never forget the next line of this sentence – “Forgive us our sins; for we forgive everyone that is indebted to us.”


This is the only line in this passage that our Lord expands and explains. He does so because this is the part we are most apt to overlook – (Matt. 6:14-15 cf 5:23-24).


(Matthew 5:23-24)  "Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; (24) Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift."


(Matthew 6:14-15)  "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (15) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."


Our Lord is here teaching us that if we unforgiving, we are yet unforgiven. If we are not gracious, it is because we have not yet experienced grace.


There is one great blessing in being wronged by another.—Injuries done by another give us opportunity to imitate our great and gracious God in forgiving those who wrong us.


Without brotherly love our prayers are nothing but noise, the hollow echoes of empty hearts! If we cannot forgive, we have not been forgiven!


VIII.         And lead us not into Temptation!”


As long as we are in this world we are liable to temptation. As long as we are in this body of flesh, we may be drawn away of our own lust, enticed by our own nature, tempted and overcome by the snare of Satan.


Here our Savior says, “You need to be constantly aware of your weakness and Satan’s strength. You need to be constantly aware of your helplessness, so that you will constantly look to me for help.” Prayer, in its essence, is the conscious spreading out of my helplessness before God!


NOTE: Wise people seek to avoid danger. And we ask God who rules all things to keep us from the danger of temptation. May he who orders our steps order them away from temptation!


IX.  But deliver us from evil.”


J. C. Ryle wrote, “We include under the word evil, everything that can hurt us, either in body or soul, and especially every weapon of that great author of evil, the devil. We confess that ever since the fall the world ‘lieth in the wicked one’ (1 John v. 19.) We confess that evil is in us, and about us, and near us, and on every side, and that we have no power to deliver ourselves from it. We apply to the strong for strength. We cast ourselves on Him for protection. In short, we ask what our Saviour Himself asked for us, when He said, ‘I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil’ (John xvii.15.)” – “Our Father…Deliver us from evil!


·        The Evil That is In The World!

·        The Evil That is In Our Hearts!

·        The Evil One who Seeks to Destroy Us!

·        All The Evil That is the Result of Sin!


Blessed be His Name, our God will Deliver us from Evil! (Jude 24-25).


·        In this World (1 Cor. 10:13).


(1 Corinthians 10:13)  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."


·        In Death (John 14:1-3).


(John 14:1-3)  "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (2) In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."


·        In the Resurrection (Eph. 5:25-27).


(Ephesians 5:25-27)  "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."


(Jude 1:24-25)  "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen."


[1] Our Savior, the God man, spent much time in prayer.

[2]When,” not “If.” – All who are born of God also pray.

[3] In the same way that God the Holy Spirit causes us to groan within ourselves, as we live in expectation of the glory awaiting us, helping us to ever live in hope of that glorious day called, “the manifestation of the sons of God” and “the glorious liberty of the sons of God,” so he groans within us and helps our infirmity in prayer, because we simply do not know how to pray.

1 This message preached at Danville (Sunday PM – 02/10/02)—Laird Street Baptist Church (Sunday PM – 02/17/02)—Mid-South Baptist Church, Merigold, MS (Sunday AM – 04/24/02)—Bethel Baptist Church-Spring Lake, NC (Sunday AM 06/09/02)—