Good morning, and a most blessed Thursday to you.
For our devotional today let’s open our Bibles to the Gospel of Luke the 11th chapter. Here we come to a very familiar prayer: The Lord's Prayer.
Now, Jesus has already taught on this in Matthew 6. When we come to Luke 11, this is now many months later. So he's really returned now to the subject. He's responding to a request. Luke 11:1…
He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’
Does that strike you as an odd request? Do we need to be taught how to pray? Yes!
Some examples: Luke 18:10-12
‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.”
In Matthew 6:5 Jesus said…
‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others.
Or again in Matthew 6 Jesus said…
‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.
We need to be taught how to pray. Just as a child is taught language by listening to a parent speaking, and a child learns the words of the parent, so also, we need to be taught about prayer. Without that teaching where would we naturally go? Luther said that as human beings, we are turned inward upon ourselves. And that inward turn upon ourselves can be reflected in our prayers. For example, we can be tempted to have prayers that immediately focus on our problems are challenges; our hopes our desires. But notice what Jesus teaches back in Luke 11:2
He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
The first call is to adore God. J. I. Packer makes a distinction between praise and thanksgiving. He said praise is like when we would turn to someone and say, “You are the most thoughtful person I know. That's why I love you so much.” Compared to, “Thanks for the sandwich.” See, there's a distinction between praise and thanksgiving.
A wonderful example of adoration or praise is Psalm 147:1-5
Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the broken-hearted,
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
That’s just an pouring of praise and adoration. And of course the chief thing for which we praise God for is the gospel; the Glorious good news… that through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ we are forgiven… the glorious news that the tomb is empty and that Jesus is alive and reining.
Should our prayers just be adoration and praise? Of course not.
We see our Lord teaching further into the Lord's Prayer, how we are to come to him in all sorts of different petitions. In fact, the Scripture tells us that we are to pray about everything. So just adoration and praise? Certainly not. But where to start in our prayers? Adoration and praise.
Let's pray. Gracious Heavenly Father, we praise you for the God that you are. We praise you for your goodness. We praise you for your mercy. We praise you for your grace. We praise you for keeping your promises. We praise you for the cross in the empty tomb. We praise you Lord for who you are. Receive our adoration. Receive our praise. In Jesus’ name.
God bless you this week. Encourage someone.