Jesus Teachings Luke 11:1-13

Readings for this week September 14 – 18
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Jesus' Teaching - New

Day 1  – A Prayer to Grow Into

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 11:1-2, Romans 18:26-27
The disciples come to Jesus, asking to be taught how to pray. They had witnessed Jesus’ pattern of living and recognised the central place prayer played in his relationship with God. They also recognised, as the Apostle Paul would later write, that “We do not know what we ought to pray for…” Jesus responds with a prayer that spans the cosmos and the details of the human condition. In honouring the glory and majesty of God it does not deny the pain and hunger of our reality. In directing our prayer to “Our Father” it evokes intimacy and tenderness, alongside God’s greatness and power, before which we can only bow in submission. Jesus’ prayer asks us to acknowledge these two truths and hold them in tension.
It is a big prayer. It is rather like a cheeky youngster dressing up in his big brother’s clothes, trying them on for size, imitating the older brother and somehow, in the process, learning what it is like to be the older brother (NT Wright). In a sense it is a prayer we must grow into, owning it before it fits; developing a holy boldness as we grow in maturity and understanding.
Three possible ways of using this prayer:
1.    As a framework. Taking each clause as a heading, under which we bring God our praise and adoration, our concerns and needs and our confessions.
2.    As the orthodox Jesus Prayer. Repeat each line slowly, methodically, matching our breathing, until it becomes a part of us. Yes this takes time and is difficult for those of us leading busy lives – but perhaps we are the very ones who need this centering prayer the most!
3.    Prayer for each day. Take one clause for the day. Monday – Our Father, hallowed be your name. Tuesday – Your kingdom come… and so on. Make each phrase the lens through which you view the world, inviting God to change your perspective.

Questions to Consider
How can I make this very familiar prayer, Jesus’ prayer to me, fresh and real?

Prayer
Lord Jesus, teach me to pray, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

 


 

Day 2  – Our Father

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 11:1- 2, 2 Samuel 7:8 -17
It has been said that in this prayer Jesus first introduces addressing God as ‘Abba’, Father. While there is certainly a new level of intimacy and direct access, the concept of God as Father was deeply embedded in the history and hopes of Israel. In sending Moses before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:22-23) God names Israel as his son, his firstborn, instructing Pharoah to release his people so that they might worship him. For Israel, therefore, God as Father was the hope of liberty. Those who knew only slavery were now to be called sons. Likewise in his promises to King David and the Messiah who will come from his line, God says, “I will be his Father and he shall be my Son”. In beginning this great prayer with “Father…” Jesus is pulling together these great promises. It is about intimacy, yes. But it also carries a kingdom meaning: revolution, liberty, and hope.
For Jesus’ first hearers, his intention is to call them to prepare for a new Exodus, a new release from bondage. Praying “Father…” is to place our hope in the coming kingdom. It isn’t just a familiar “Hi Dad…” this is a signing on for the kingdom of God. It is aligning ourselves with the God who seeks justice for all, liberty for those bowed down, and forgiveness for those who stand estranged.
Jesus wanted people to see who his Father was by watching how he, Jesus, worked in the world. This is the purpose of this prayer for us also. “Our task is to grow up into the Our Father, to dare to impersonate our older brother, seeking daily bread and daily forgiveness as we do so; to wear his clothes, to walk in his shoes, to feast at his table, to weep with him in the garden, to share his suffering and to know his victory. As our Saviour Jesus Christ has commanded and taught us, by his life and death, even more than his words, we are bold, very bold –even crazy, some might think – to say ‘Our Father’”(NT Wright).

Questions to Consider
What is the significance of “Our Father” rather than just “My Father”?

Prayer
Father God, thank you for the privilege of being able to come to you, and call you Father. Help me understand that our name embodies who you are, and also all that you have promised your people, Amen.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

 


 

Day 3  – Kingdom Come

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 11:1-2
In Matthew’s record of Jesus’ prayer it reads “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This isn’t a form of resignation to the way things are here on earth, hoping only for something better in an other-worldly heaven one day. No, this is believing and asking for God’s reality (heaven) to be integrated into our reality (earth) – let it come, let it be here and now.
Jesus is also asking us to view the world as if through binoculars. To see the beauty of creation and the love the Creator has for all that is his. But also to see the marred and broken state of creation and the deep grief this brings the Creator. “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” is to bring both pictures together; love and grief culminating in the cross. We are praying for the redemption of the world, the putting right of all things.
Your kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven. Each one of us is a piece of this earth, jars of clay. Does our prayer include asking for the kingdom to come in this piece of earth? For the kingdom to come in us, right where we are now? This is where this big prayer gets really personal. “Your kingdom come” is about holiness – what I do, how I speak, how I sort out my priorities, how I treat others. To pray the prayer must result in living the prayer. This is difficult when we still see so much suffering and injustice, but this should not cause us to push the reality of God’s will off to some hazy future. We pray to see the world as God sees it, to love it and wrestle with its complexities, all the while trusting that God is at work alongside us.

Question to Consider
Am I tempted to give in to a resigned hopelessness about this world?
How is it possible to hold love and grief together?
What is one specific area or issue I can pray for and/or get involved with to see God’s will come in this world?

Prayer

Father thank you that you love your creation. Help me hold the tension of reality as I see it and the hope of how you wish to restore it to your perfect design, Amen.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

 


 

Day 4  – Daily Bread – for Stomach and Soul

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 11:3
For many of us greed outstrips grace and we arrive at “Give us each day…” too quickly. Long before we have taken time to name the relationship “Father”, and the acknowledgement of his holiness “Hallowed be your name” become our first priority our minds are filled with a shopping list of requests. Nevertheless, as Jesus assured his disciples, “your Father knows that you need …”Luke 12:30 and “how much more will the Father give good gifts to those who ask Him” Matt 7:11. In Cranmer’s Liturgy, as part of the communion service, is the beautiful prayer: “Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid.” How does it feel to come to God all desires known? Do I feel this is a promise? That God already knows my hearts and understands me? Or do I feel it as a threat? Nothing is hidden from God and I am ashamed of what my heart desires. If the later, one may try to define ‘daily bread’ in only spiritual terms, as food for the soul. But God knows and respects our practical, concrete needs. There is no suggestion of annihilating our desires. Rather as we openly bring them before our Father, within the context of the earlier parts of Jesus’ prayer, we can ask for our desires to be satisfied in ways that honour God, in his way and his time. God knows our desires and longs for us to bring them to him in prayer “in order that they may be sorted out, straightened out, untangled and reaffirmed” NT Wright.
As this happens we will also be able to see beyond our own needs and pray on behalf of the hungry, looking out on our needy world. This is what it means to be a part of a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), offering ourselves as representatives of this world, and standing alongside others.

Question to Consider
How easy is it for me to ask simply for what I need?
How easy is it to distinguish between wants and needs?
Do I think God is interested in things like dental bills, blocked drain and exams?

Prayer
Thank you Father that you invite me to ask for my needs, trusting you know best how to meet them. May I look beyond myself and bring the needs of others before you also, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

 


 

Day 5 – Forgiven and Forgiving

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 11:4
Our culture isn’t too good at talking about forgiveness. Instead we champion ‘tolerance’ which at best is a watered down version, a way of sweeping real issues under the carpet. In Jesus’ culture oppression and exile were the direct result of sin. So Jesus’ message of kingdom, God’s rule and liberty, was a message of forgiveness of sins. In all he taught and all he did, Jesus lived the message that forgiveness was possible. In fact, being part of God’s kingdom was only possible because of the reality of forgiveness. While there is the danger of always seeing yourself as the prodigal son crawling home, begging for forgiveness from a stern father, the opposite danger is to disregard the seriousness of sin altogether. Within the framework of Jesus’ prayer the need for, and offer of forgiveness, finds an appropriate balance. Using Jesus’ image of a banquet, it is like being welcomed to the table by our Father, as beloved children. But it is only right to wash before a meal, putting everything out on the table that needs dealing with, so that true fellowship can be enjoyed.
“Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” Here our prayer spills over into our living. Accepting forgiveness is to claim the central blessing of Jesus’ kingdom. Living as a kingdom person necessitates living out that same blessing towards other. This isn’t merely an extra bit of moral teaching to live up to. If we fail to forgive others, as we have been forgiven, it’s like cutting off the branch you sit on. It’s saying that we don’t really believe the kingdom of Jesus has come at all. It’s denying the very basis for our existence as Jesus’ followers.

Question to Consider
When has forgiveness been hard for me? Either asking for it or offering it.
In asking for forgiveness and offering forgiveness to others, Jesus seems to be making a strong bond between prayer and living. Discuss.

Prayer
Father God, thank you for your welcome and acceptance. Thank you for the opportunity to deal with anything that would hinder our relationship. Help me offer forgiveness willingly to others even when it is hard. Lord, teach us to pray, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)