<>< The 11th Chapter of the Gospel of Luke begins with the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray. <>< By now, they had been with Jesus long enough to know Him as a “man of prayer.” They would have witnessed Him in prayer in many different circumstances as they walked together across the holy land watching Him heal, and teach, and serve, and love. Indeed, Jesus himself was a walking talking answer to prayers for everyone He met … and still today, for all who meet Him.  The disciples had seen the power that Jesus held and shared, and they had surely noticed the correlation between what Jesus was able to do and His time spent in prayer to His Father. They wanted what He had! So, of course they would finally ask Him one day, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Luke 11:1) And Jesus did! He began by teaching them the “what” of prayer. This is the prayer we today call “The Lord’s Prayer.” Jesus taught them to begin by acknowledging the relationship you have with the source of the power you seek: “Father, hallowed be your name.” But the word for “Father” that Jesus uses is the most intimate and personal form, “Abba.” Begin by directing your prayer to the one who knows you best … and loves you most … your Creator … your true “Daddy.”   Then pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom, for this is why Jesus came and this is your eternal calling … to be a part of the building of the Kingdom of God on earth. “Your kingdom come” is you pronouncing to God that all that is good and right and just in this world – in other words, all the things you should really pray for – come from the coming of God’s Kingdom.  Next, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray for their daily sustenance. “Give us our daily bread” has a powerful double-meaning: the physical bread that sustains our strength in this world and the spiritual bread of eternal life that is the body of Christ in the world today. This “daily bread” double portion is all we need to do everything God will ever ask us to do. Desiring anything more than this becomes a distraction to the work of building the Kingdom.  The one thing that Christ offers us that only He could, is to be forgiven of our sins and wiped clean by the blood of the lamb. But that offer of forgiveness must be received – and its reception in our hearts must be done in a way that leaves it all to God’s grace, and none of it to our efforts. And therein points out the need for prayer: for us to receive this grace-given gift requires God’s help, and then for us to share it with others in exactly the same way it was given to us, again requires God’s help. So, pray this, Jesus says: “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” Jesus wants us to understand – we can only receive this forgiveness “as” (in the same way) we offer it to others.  In closing, Jesus says to pray for protection from the temptations of life. Jesus came here to be “one of us”, and He experienced life and all its trials just as we do. He is the answer and the remedy for this life and all its struggles, challenges and hardships. He came, He confronted, and He conquered. And he offers us that same “way” of life here and now. So now, let us be as beggars and ask of God … let us be as seekers and search for God’s Kingdom … and let us become lost to this world, so that we may knock and open the door to a new one.  All for the glory of God <>< Pastor Bob <><