“Teach Us To Pray” 

Notes from Jaimie Villacorta

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

Luke 11:1-4

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: “‘Father,[a] hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.[b]

Give us each day our daily bread.

“Gives us our needed bread day by day.” – Interlinear Bible -Hendrickson, Jay P. Green, Sr. Editor


Forgive us our sins,

for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c]

And lead us not into temptation.[d]’”

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 11:2 Some manuscripts Our Father in heaven”
  2. Luke 11:2 Some manuscripts come. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
  3. Luke 11:4 Greek everyone who is indebted to us”
  4. Luke 11:4 Some manuscripts temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”

Matthew 6: 7-13

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today our daily bread.


12 And forgive us our debts,
   as we also have forgiven our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
    but deliver us from the evil one.[b]

Footnotes:

  1. Matthew 6:13 The Greek for temptation can also mean testing.
  2. Matthew 6:13 Or from evil;” some late manuscripts one, / for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.



What is the Bible? What or who does it reveal? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in this revelation? (Gen 1-3; Ex 3; 14:1; 2 Sam 23:2; Jer 11:1; Ezek 39:1; John 6:35; 1 Cor 2:13; 2Tim 3:16-17; 2Pet 1:12-21; 1 John 1:1-3)

Understanding that there are exceptions – I think for far too long we, the church, have practiced theology and biblical interpretation like evolution looks at human existence:  We have been interpreting and teaching the Bible with a “missing link” perspective.  In our endeavor to be true to the “Word” we have taught and are being taught to focus so much on the message that we have neglected to a great extent to testify about The Message Giver who reveals himself through those passages.  The hope is to understand the “true” meaning of the message spoken to the original listeners/readers so that in turn we may speak in a relevant way to our listeners today.  Therefore, we comfort ourselves in the thought that we have done our homework, we found the intended message of a particular passage and we delivered it as such.

In the Western World, we call this Hermeneutics; which is the literal, historical, and contextual interpretation of the Scriptures.  The intent is that, if we follow this process, we will find the “true meaning” of the passage as it was delivered to the original audience.  I get that, and to be clear, I believe that the hermeneutical process needs to be done by all preachers and teachers.  We should at least have an educated basis of what we are talking about.  I have heard many preachers that are very skillful at this, they delivered great messages, and God in his mercy use it powerfully.  Let’s say that we can really find the “true” meaning of the message or at least close to it – From God’s perspective, was that message only intended for the original audience? Or was it also intended to transcend time?

I think the shortcoming is that as preachers and teachers we have neglected to testify of the living and self-revealing God of the message.  God is actively revealing himself intimately to His people today.  So, both God and His Word transcend time into the present and ultimately into the future.  Yes, the message does not change but the way God reveals Himself through the Scriptures may differ from individual to individual.  I will expand about this thought next time I teach.  I think there is a misunderstanding between a “concept” found in the passage and how God reveals/illuminates that concept to the individual.  And, how such experience is shared in public.

Here is some food for thought:

1 John 1:11That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

1Timothy 3:16 “16 Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”

This tells me that God is living, He reveals Himself in very tangible ways, He appears to His people, etc. Do we believe that God can actually show up in our midst? Do we believe that God wants to show up in our midst?

I think we can rationalize this verses all we want; the truth is that we have not seen with our eyes, we have not touched with our hands; when was the last time God has appeared personally to you or me so that you or I can testify? What then, I believe God can, He does and He will continue to reveal Himself to His people in the manner that Paul and John wrote.  However if this type of reality is not happening in our lives yet, we can at least study the Scriptures with those lenses.  God is actively involved in both worlds simultaneously and He wants us to take part in it.  The Bible is where our belief is authenticated by God’s story, experienced by identification, illuminated by the Holy Spirit which ultimately will leads us into an incarnate like reality of God’s Word. In other words, I believe the Word of God is not meant just to be an external record about God but that it is also meant to become infused in our being in such a way that God and we are truly one just as Jesus is one with the Father. – Isn’t that what Jesus prayed for in John 17; that we may be one with the Father just He was?

Outside of studying and following the hermeneutical process to find the “intended message”- when I read a passage, I read it through the lenses of at least five core belief areas I gathered from my studies of the Scriptures:

  1. I believe the Scriptures are the words of God. If so, the Scripture (passage) is a true record where God breaks into human history. It is a scene where the Divine tangibly interacts with His creation and vise-versa.
  2. I believe that God not only reveled Himself in the past but that He reveals himself today and He meets us where we are at. If God reveals Himself, how does the passage reveal God? Or How is God revealing Himself in this story? What is God trying to reveal of Himself to me now.
  3. I believe that God wants an intimate relationship with people and takes the first step towards that meeting and as He does that the human condition is also revealed.  I look at humanity in two ways:  The present reality of their condition and the Pre-fall reality (Context of Creation – the ideal). How God’s interaction with people affect human behavior? How this interaction reveals God’s behavior? How it reveals people’s behavior?
  4. I believe that the Holy Spirit is actively involved in guiding us, revealing God to us through life(the visible qualities of God), illuminating the Scriptures to us (Kingdom realities) and showing us the invisible qualities of God through creation. If so, Holy Spirit please Help Me!  Help me to discern what you are trying to tell me first and at the same time help me to articulate you want me to say through what I have just learned.
  5. I believe that God speaks to and through us directly not just through His Word. If so, God help me to listen!

Why is the practice of the “hypocrites” something Jesus did not want His disciples to do?  Is all public prayer wrong? Why or why not? What do you suppose is the reason the one disciple asked Jesus to teach them to pray “just as John taught his disciples”? Is the disciple’s philosophy of prayer any different from that of the hypocrites; why or why not?   (Mat 6:5-8; 8-13; Luke 11:1)

Matthew 6:5-8 – “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Luke 11:1-2One 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: “‘Father,[a] Our Father in heaven”

hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.[b]May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

  • Jesus makes a distinction between those who call themselves God’s people and those who really are God’s children.  He said “but. . . when you pray . . . do not be . . . go into”
    • The hypocrites were praying for their own selfish desires (reveals their hearts)– it is also a reflection of their pious acts based on a religious culture that is distorted by a lack of knowledge of God.
    • I don’t think Jesus was saying that public prayer was wrong but there is a time a place for it.  All we need to look at is the OT in which there are many examples of acceptable public prayers before God. 
    • To a certain extent, I believe the One Disciple’s request, though motivated by the right heart, may have been similar to that of the hypocrites.  Not that he was being a hypocrite but he was from the same cultural background as them; his understanding or philosophy of prayer was misplaced. He asked Jesus to teach them how to pray just as John (the Baptist) taught his disciples. How many of you remember when you first came to the Lord. . . do you remember how you first prayed?  How you ever heard someone in the church pray and said to yourself, wow! I really would like to pray like that!  DO you still feel like that today, after all these years?
  • Jesus, of course, does not rebuke him.  He instead verbally gives him a guide on how to pray.  But most importantly Jesus reveals the Father with what He does not say.  The fact the Jesus did not rebuke him reveals the Father’s love and embrace even though the disciple did not really yet know who the Father was.
    • He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father,[a] Our Father in heaven”

hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.[b]May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

  • Jesus switches his philosophy of prayer from an impersonal “learned” practice to a relational Father and son context.  To pray to your Father implies knowledge of the Father.  Not only knowledge but intimate knowledge.  You are now part of the family.  And not just any family, but a royal family; and not just a royal family but a royal family with a kingdom that influences both the natural and the supernatural.  Family is where one is nurtured, developed, formed to be effective in life.  Whether one realizes it or not to belong to the Family of God means we are no longer just part of this world but of another world which requires its members to function in both. Thus, we realize that I we are sons and daughters of a Father who has authority over everything in existence – authority over both the seen and the unseen – wow! God is revealed as a gentle caring and loving Father and yet as an overwhelmingly powerful Supreme Being that astonishes and shocks all of Creation into awe – Hallowed be your name!
  • Talk about Authority – didn’t we just heard about “authority” last week? The only thing I wanted to highlight about authority here is that it is part of the package of belonging.  It is part of not just knowing about God, but knowing God.  You have authority because you are a son or a daughter of God. This type of authority is authentic, it is not bought, or earned, nor a matter of words, it should be reflected in our lives; this was the authority that Jesus reflected. It was an authority of the Father, the Father He knew through relationship.  He did not need to say “I have authority” but exercised the authority that was readily available.  Therefore, “Your kingdom come” is the similar to saying “your will be done” because you cannot have one without the other nor without authority to implement it.
  • PRAYER is the relational and intimate engagement with our Heavenly Father who is the Supreme Authority of both the physical and spiritual worlds.

What are your thoughts about “. . . gives us this day our daily bread? (Luke 11:3)  Is it only speaking about physical provision, or literally bread, or is Jesus telling us something more?  Why or why not?  (Due 8:3; Mat 4:4; 6:11; Luke 11:3; 11-13; John 4:32-34)

  • Give us each day our daily bread. (Luke 11:3-4)

“Gives us our needed bread day by day.” – Interlinear Bible -Hendrickson, Jay P. Green, Sr. Editor

  • The bulk of Jesus’ ministry was really to those who were in need.  In fact, he had to, in more than one occasion, literally feed them bread and fish (Lk 10-17; Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:32-44).  However, is this verse really only speaking about bread – literally? Maybe so, but let us consider a couple things as well.
  • First, I think Jesus had a way of using language in so many levels that we still do not fully understand.  He said he was the Son of God and yet the Son of man.  He taught that is not about power but about “Power” (Peter with the sword), it is not about bread but The Bread (He said “I am the bread of God,” Jo 6:32-35), he said “destroy this temple and I will raise it up” – in other words is not about this temple but about The Temple (talking about his own body),  He was talking of things between the two worlds (the World where he is from and this world).  When He was up here, they were down here, and when He was down here they were just lost; etc. 
  • Before we conclude about the object of the need, I want us to focus about the source of the provision and then we’ll come back and talk about the “daily bread.”  When Jesus answered the tempter in Mt 4:3-4 and said “’Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” he was quoting Deut 8:3 “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”  How did he get from “manna” to “every word that comes from the mouth God”?
  • John 6:32-35 “Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “from now on give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
  • In the context of the Lord’s Prayer, to Whom is the disciple praying to? The heavenly Father!  We already talked about the Father’s nature and the extent of His Kingdom – it is a Kingdom that reaches both this world and the Spiritual world. 
  • Luke 11:11-13 says “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 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!” How and why did he get from real food (fish and eggs) to the Holy Spirit?  In this case the provision is the Holy Spirit Himself.
  • The “daily bread” need here is met according to the resources available to The Giver.
  • So, if we ask only with this world in mind then lets have our fill with the bread or resources that are available from this world.  But if we are asking for our daily need from the spiritual kingdom then it is not by bread alone but by every word from the mouth of God, through Jesus’ provision with the help of the Holy Spirit. 
  • I am not saying that we do not pray for our needs here (for we are still living on this world) but that our expectation in prayer regarding God’s provision is inherently connected to Who God is and His kingdom; and neither God nor His Kingdom are of this world.  That is, once we belong to the Family of God then we have access to resources from both worlds.
  • In this context then: PRAYER is a relational, fluid and ever-available avenue for God’s provision to fulfill our need “day by day” wherever we find ourselves engaged in (Supernatural or natural).

What are your thoughts about “. . . lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one? (Luke 11:4) Reflecting on Jesus’ temptations; How are Mark and Luke different than Matthew in recording this story? Why do you think Jesus was “led” into the desert? (Mt 4:1; Mk 1:12-13; Lk 4:1-2; Acts 20:22-24; 21:4, 10-14; Ro 1; Gal 6:1-10; Jam 1:13-14)

  • Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. (Lk 11:4)
  •  I am not going to spend too much time on part “a” of this verse.  “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” 
    • The only thing I want to mention here is something Pastor Mat has already spoke about a few weeks back.  That is, our relationship to the Father will also affect our relationship with those around us. 
    • In other words, our understanding of the Creator will directly affect our relationship with the rest of creation. If we have a healthy understanding of the Creator, we ought to have a healthy perspective to each other (creation).  Romans 1 speaks about what happens if we don’t know the Creator, we will misunderstand who God is and we will have a distorted understanding of creation as well.  Also, there is obviously a lesson on forgiveness as well which we can talk about another time.  If you are interested, read Gal 6:1-10 in regard to forgiveness, restoration and even the opportunity for temptation when dealing with those who have sinned.  That should give you enough food to chew on for now.
  • To start, James 1:13-14 is very clear that God does not tempt us; so, there is no doubt it. 13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”
  • When we read Lk 4:4, Jesus said to pray “. . . lead us not into temptation . . .”  How do we interpret this? It is not explained! Nor it seems to fit with the rest of the context of this passage.  Why should we pray for God not to leads us into temptation if He is the Father – Family? So, to make sense of this, we need to look at other places where “temptation” or the opportunity of temptation may occur in the light of God’s leading.
  • This is a difficult verse to interpret; in fact, when you research it you will find it is subject to debate among scholars – there are several explanations. 
  • Again, I believe this is one of those things that Jesus spoke about “it is not about leading but it’s about being led” – huh? That went right above our heads, it just flies over us and we don’t even recognize it. 
  • Remember I said that I was going to explain a little more about how God reveals or teaches us today a concept that many times is misunderstood because we deliver it as a prescription for everyone.  No worries, I will explain it a little more when we wrestle with the crucifixion story in a few weeks. If you think that I am really off tonight, wait until you hear me speak about the crucifixion!
  • So, for tonight’s purpose, I am sharing with you this concept as a testimony of how God explained it to me – so that I may understand it. It is a personal testimony that with the help of the Holy Spirit it may also help some of you understand it.  How God helps you understand this concept may differ or He may use different circumstances to do it.  How I explain it, you will not find it in this text; however, what I can tell you with certainty, is that the concept is there.
  • Matthew 4:1-2 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3
  • Mark 1:12-13 12At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert,13 and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
  • Luke 4:1-2 “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil . . .”
  • Do you see a difference in those three accounts?  Both Luke and Mark say that Jesus was led into the desert . . . where He was tempted by the Devil”
  • Also, remember that temptation can come in two ways:  from external influences and internal ones.  Jesus faced external temptations. Namely by the Devil.
  • This is how I understood this.  In the context of the Lord ’s Prayer; because we belong to the Father’s Family, we have through prayer the availability to enter with authority into the Kingdom of heaven and all that it brings with it. Notice I said that we enter with authority.  That is, we have God’s permission and He expects us to enter the Spiritual realm through prayer. Make no mistake the Devil and his thugs are spiritual beings and they roam between the two worlds and they will fight to destroy you in wherever realm they find you. Just to spark your curiosity:  know that prayer is not the only means God has for us to enter the Spiritual World (God can and has translated people into the heavenly realm, another less desirable way is through death – these are some of the authorized ways.  Know that there are unauthorized ways to get into the spiritual world and these don’t come from God though for now they are permitted)
  • In this context then: PRAYER is the relational, fluid and ever-available platform whereby guided/led by the Spirit we will find ourselves engaged either passively or combatively in unison with what God is doing in either realm (The Kingdom of Heaven or the kingdom of this world). 
  • Though the Spirit guides us to where God intends us to be to accomplish His will in and through us, at this time in history, we may face temptation motivated both internally and/or externally depending on the context of our lives.