Teach Us To Pray – Part 3

Teach Us To Pray – Part 3

I’ll tell you, I love hearing the church sing, amen?  To hear you lifting praises to God just brings joy to my heart.  To have Graham and Marsha leading us every week and all the others who sing it certainly helps us take all the stresses of the week and everything that we brought in here, everything we’ve been focusing and it  that just helps us focus our attention on the Lord as we sing those praises. So I’m grateful for the worship this morning, certainly.

This morning, let me invite you to open your Bible to Luke 11. We’ve been in Luke 11 verses 1 through 4 for several weeks now, Luke 11:1-4. We certainly believe that the Bible is God’s Word. We believe it can teach us and train us and guide us. And so what I’ve been saying for the last several weeks is we want to get into God’s Word, so that God’s Word gets into us, so it can flow out of us as we serve Him each and every day. We do believe that the Bible is inspired by God and it is perfect and holy for us this morning.

The passage we’re looking at, Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray.  He has modeled it.  They have watched Him do it. They have seen Him do it.  The only request the disciples ever make, the only teaching request that they ever make to Jesus is this one. Lord teach us to pray.  Don’t teach us how to cast out demons. Don’t teach us how to preach. Don’t teach us how to do evangelism. Don’t teach us how to study the Bible. Teach us how to pray.  Because they know, if they learn how to pray all that other stuff will fall right into place, right into place.

So as we start this morning as you turn to Luke 11, I want us to take just a moment and think about how needy you and I are.  Have you ever thought about that? When I was a youth pastor there was a we got close to camp.  And I relied heavily on my secretary to do most of the paperwork for me. And so, as we were getting close, I remember this one day I would go down and I would say, hey, I need this, or hey, I need this and like for the 4th time I walked down and said I need this and she goes “you’re just a needy person today aren’t you?”  But that got me thinking, I really am any person now.

A lot of people don’t like to be called needy.  Alpha, who did help do our food this week for VBS and the ladies who did the snacks, fantastic. They did a great job with all the snacks. Yeah you can give them a round of applause so.  Ralph was there too, Ralph’s here too and Steve, sorry, forgive me, I’m forgetful.  Alpha, the lady who is in charge, come to find out, was the preschool director where I went to preschool.  Small world.  Now how did we figure this out? Because I was a preschool dropout.  No joke.  So how did we figure out since she didn’t really remember me by looking at me or my name, but how did she remember me?  As the child who cried every day for two months because I was needy.  I needed my Mama.  Well, I just needed something.  I was needy. We’re all needy people and you’re like, well, we grow out of it. You know, of course, when we’re born, we’re needy.  We need people to feed us. We need people to change us. Babies have it made in life.  They have all their needs met and it’s fantastic, but you know, we grow out of it and we get to be a teenager like I’m not needy and I’m not dependent. I am independent.  16 years old, you get your license and you think you are the most independent person on the world, right?  Anybody with me, teenagers?  You with me?  You can’t wait to be 16, right? Because you want to be independent and go wherever you want to go. But you know what you learn at 16.  You’re just as dependent because you need money for gas.  That car that’s gonna take you everywhere won’t go unless it’s got fuel in it.

We’ve learned recently that we’re dependent upon truck drivers to get the gas to the stations. Amen?  We are needy dependent people. We also need employers to pay us money as employees so we have the money to buy the gas to go in the car that can make us independent.  So do you see how being independent takes a lot of dependency?  We are a needy dependent people in this life.

Here’s the great thing though. When we look in the Bible, we look at Luke Chapter 11. We are needy but what we learn is God always provides the necessities.  God always provides the necessities to meet our needs. So let’s take a look at our passage this morning. We’re going to read the whole thing starting in verse one.

“He was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”  He said to them, “Whenever you pray, say, Father, Your Name be honored as holy.  Your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone in debt to us.  And do not bring us into temptation.”

When we look at the Lord’s Prayer in Luke, it is a little different than what many of us have memorized, and it’s a little different than what’s in Matthew.  Luke’s is probably a more Christianized version of the prayer. It’s a little shorter, but it’s saying the exact same things. There is no contradiction between the two prayers.  Just to remind you of last week we start anytime we go in prayer, we start with God.  We are to have the right focus before we make our petitions regarding ourselves. And so when we go to prayer, we focus first on the Father.

I love what John Calvin wrote in his Institutes of Christian Religion. He says “It is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he first looks upon God’s face.”  Now what Calvin is saying is we don’t really know who we are until we know whose we are.  We don’t really know what we need until we know what God tells us we need and so when we pray, we’re praying Father help us to live our life honoring You. Help us to live our life glorifying Your Name and help us to live in Your will. We pray that Your will would be done in all that we do.  And with that as the context, now I said last week the hardest thing you’re ever going to pray, Father, Your will be done.  Father, Your Kingdom come.  Not my will, not my Kingdom. I don’t want to build my Kingdom, I want to build your Kingdom.  I don’t want my will, I want your will to be done.  That’s the hardest thing you’re ever going to pray because there’s a lot of times what we want and what we think we need is vastly different than what God is going to give us and what God knows we need.  And that is the lens and the focus in which we need to have when we start these next petitions, which move us from God to ourselves.

The first one is we pray for our physical needs. Anybody have physical needs? We were having to do a little furniture moving yesterday and we had a long drive back and forth to the beach doing some furniture moving.  Now Jennifer thinks I faked it ’cause I was trying to get out of this.  Friday, I woke up.  My knee hurt.  I had that knee pain. Anybody got any problem from time to time? I was like I can barely walk and I said I don’t think I can go help move furniture you’re gonna have to do it by yourself.  She said “you just won’t get out of it.”  I said “no, my knee really hurts” and then miraculously it got better.  It actually really did hurt. I really did.  I was a lineman. We have knee issues our whole lives. It just happens.  But yesterday, before we got started moving, my arm started to hurt.  It was really weird how right when we were getting ready to lift a heavy piece of furniture and I was like I just I got this physical need.  I’m hurting, I’m hurting.

We have physical needs and what Jesus reminds us is God is going to provide for them.  I love what He says.  Pray for your daily bread each and every day. A lot of us, we will start our week. We’ll wake up on Monday, “God give me what I need for the week.  God give me what I need for the month.”  Jesus says every single day ask for him to provide your daily bread.  Now, what’s really cool? The disciples would have known this and you may be thinking about it too.  When Jesus says this, it probably sparks an image, a picture in the disciples’ brain, of an event that happened hundreds or thousands of years before this.

You go back into Exodus. You’ve got these Israelites wandering around the wilderness and they’re hungry.  They need food and there ain’t no food in the desert and you see in Exodus 16 that the Lord tells Moses that He’s going to provide for them manna from heaven or bread from heaven.  It’s a bread like substance, manna from heaven. The only requirement for the Israelites would be do not gather more than you need for that day, except on Friday you can gather a double portion on Friday because nobody works on Saturday. That’s the Sabbath. So get for two days on that day.

Now think about this. Any “Type A” personalities?  Any planners who want to have it all planned out?  When COVID was getting ramped up, this was before it was really ramped up around here, I was one of the people who was buying up all the canned goods.  We have canned goods that we’ll never ever eat and I don’t know why I bought it.  It was like canned grapefruit or something.  My kids will never eat that. I would go four or five times a week.  I gotta be prepared. There’s a whole billion-dollar industry set up on food prep in case something happens. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with preparing, but I got to thinking about the Israelites.  They probably would have had trouble with this, the type A personalities who plan it out, because they’re like today?  What am I going to do tomorrow? I gotta have enough food for tomorrow. In fact, if you gathered too much food, it would go to the bad.  It wouldn’t make it to the next day anyway.  You know what it shows?  A lack of trust.  It really does, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you I was any different.  I was just as worried about the gas and the food and everything else.  I would buy Lysol cans in bulk.  We have enough Lysol now for an army.  I’m no different than anybody else.  But it shows a lack of trust.  It shows a lack of trust in God to meet our daily needs.

God provided for the Israelites every day. In fact, in Exodus 16:17-18, listen to this.  “So the Israelites did this. Some gathered a lot, some a little.  When they measured it by quarts, the person who gathered a lot had no surplus, and the person who gathered a little had no shortage. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat.”  Each and every day for that time God provided daily for the needs of His people.

Now I know it wasn’t what they wanted.  I bet after 30 or 40 days or however many days they were eating the manna, I bet it got a little stale. I bet it got a little old. Not like moldy old, but just, ‘we’re still eating manna?’  But it provided further needs, didn’t it?  God gave them everything they needed. In fact, as they’re getting ready to go into the promised land after 40 years of wandering, Moses is not going to get to go in, but he’s with the nation as they’re preparing to go in. He says this.  He looks at the people. He says your clothing did not wear out and your foot did not swell for 40 years.  I imagine for 40 years they had a lot of hardships. I imagine for 40 years they had a lot at wants that were not met.  They had a lot of greed’s that were not met, but they always had their needs met because they trusted God.  And I think that was the point.  I think that’s what God was trying to teach these people. He’s trying to teach the controllers, the type As, the planners, that it’s not necessarily bad to plan. It’s not bad to prepare. It’s not bad to look ahead.  But God always going to provide for your needs, not your greeds not your wants, but your needs. Everything that God knows that you need, He will provide for you because He is a good Father.  He is a loving father. He desires to meet your needs.

I love what else Moses says in Deuteronomy 8:3 he goes, “He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then he gave you manna to eat, which you and your ancestors had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”  Does that sound familiar?  Jesus says that when He’s tempted in the wilderness.  Remember?  Jesus is hungry. Satan says turn to rock into bread and Jesus quotes this verse. So what we see is that there’s more to this story, really. There’s more to just our physical needs being met.

We have spiritual needs.  We have great physical needs and God will provide everything we need, not always what we want, but what He knows that we need. But we have great spiritual needs and that’s what the next petition says. Father, forgive us.  That is our greatest spiritual need is for forgiveness.  Father, forgive us of our sins now. Many of you may have memorized it this way. Father forgive us of our debts, as we forgive those who have debts against us or our debtors.  Well, the word sin is certainly a great translation. He is certainly referring to Father forgive us of sin. Forgive us of everything that we’ve done against you. But that word debt carries a very powerful picture with it.  That word debt really communicates better at what I think Jesus is trying to say because of the historical context.

The Romans would imprison people for being in debt and not able to pay it back.  The disciples would have known this. In fact, Roman prisons were filled with people who were in debt and couldn’t pay it back.  They weren’t filled with criminals; they killed the criminals. I mean, if you were a criminal, you didn’t make it very long in Rome, but those prisons were filled with people who couldn’t pay back their debt to society. Their debt to a person.  And they had to stay in jail until someone paid off their debt or the debt was forgiven.  Now, why would they do this? Well, it’s a punishment, but they also wanted to tell the family members to get it in gear.  Do whatever you had to do. Sell whatever you had to sell.  Do whatever you have to do to pay back the debt. Then he’s going to get out of prison.  Now when you think about the historical context, this brings this passage really to life, doesn’t it? Father forgive me of my debts. We are in debt to God.

Well, that doesn’t make sense.  What do I owe God?  You, owe God, your obedience.  That is what God asked of His people. What did He tell Adam and Eve?  You’re free to do whatever you want.  Don’t eat from that tree.  Stay away from that tree. All God asked them to do was be obedient.  And they didn’t do it.  All God asks of us is to be obedient, to follow His rules, and none of us in this room can do it.  None of us.  We are all born with this natural desire to disobey God and that makes us in debt to God. We owe Him for our disobedience.

So what happens?  We can’t pay it back, so we’re chained and imprisoned by our sins.  Starting to make sense now on why Jesus would have used that word debt?  Our sin has chained us and we can’t pay it back.  Our only hope is that we would be forgiven of that debt?  And so Father, forgive me of my debt.  Because God is merciful to forgive us. That’s what He did with Jesus.  When Jesus died on the cross, He took the sins our sins. He paid our debt.  See, God is the only one that can pay the debt and He did through his son Jesus Christ.  So this prayer Father forgive us, I want you to understand that word forgive means to send away.

When you pray Father send away my sins, let’s go back to the Old Testament. There’s the day of atonement.  On the day of atonement, the High Priest shows up and here’s a goat, a perfect goat, a lamb.  The High Priest puts all the sins of the whole nation onto that goat.  It’s called the scapegoat. All the sins of the whole nation go on that goat.  You know what they do with it when all the sins are on the goat?  They send it out and it never comes back.  They literally take the sins away and never comes back. The Bible says He separates us from our sins as far as the east is from the west. That’s what forgiveness is.  Giving God our sins and He takes them away and they never come back.

That’s what we’re praying.  Father, forgive us of our sins. Father, send my sins away because Jesus is the scapegoat.  He’s the Lamb of God. He’s that perfect sacrifice. So, any of us who believe in Him and put our faith in our trust in Him and follow Him, He’s taking our sins and He’s taking them away.

Now here’s the next thing I want to tell you.  Once they’re gone, don’t pick him back up.  Amen?  Somebody needs to hear that.  Once you say Jesus, here’s my sins, forgive me.  Don’t pick them back up.  And that’s where that last part of the prayer comes in. Do not lead us into temptation.  Don’t lead us into temptation.  Now, first of all, God’s never going to tempt anybody.  God is incapable of tempting us to break His rules, so don’t misunderstand the prayer.  I’m a good dad.  Father’s, you’re a good father.  You’re not going to tempt your kids to break your own rules unless you’re just being mean. God’s not going to tempt us to break His rules.  So this idea lead us in not into temptation, lead us not into temptation. What does He mean? He says, God, you forgive me of my sins don’t let me sin again.  Don’t let me pick those sins back up. Too many people confess their sins and then they just pick them right back up.  Christ takes the chains of your sin off of you, and you put them right back on. Too many people are doing that.  You say God “don’t lead me into temptation. Keep Satan away from me.”  The day you say yes to Jesus and you say I’m not gonna do that anymore.  I’m not going to say that ever again. I’m not going to drink that ever again. I’m not going to smoke that ever again.  I’m not going to look at that girl ever again or guy ever again. You know what’s going to happen the very next day?  Satan’s gonna put something in your path to tempt you.  So lead us not into temptation. God help me give me strength, give me strength to overcome those temptations.

Father, keep the enemy away from me.  God, you know what I struggle with. I think everybody in this room struggles with sin.  Your sin may be different than my sin and my sin’s different than your sin but we all have sins we struggle with. We all have those things in our life that we just we just we can’t let them go.  It could be an addiction to something you see on TV or the computer. It could be an addiction to a drug or a drink. You know it could be anger.  That’s one I struggle with. It could be temper, it could be gossip, could be complaining. All sins are equal and those are some ones I can think of off the top of my head, so I’m not being specific, but we all struggle with sin and so we’re praying Father, I need the strength to overcome this. He gives you His Spirit to give you the strength to do it.

Now, I’m going to give you 2 practical ways God answers this prayer.  One lead us not into temptation through the church. He answers the prayer through the church. And what I mean is we have people who love us. We have people who care for us. God has brought us together as a church family so we can hold each other accountable.  You know we can fellowship. That’s great. We can gather on Sunday mornings and worship. That’s great. We can go to Sunday school and study the Bible.  That’s fantastic.  We should hold each other accountable.  When we see a brother or sister caught in a sin, we should lovingly tell them about it.  If we’re going to pray Father lead me not into temptation, we need to receive a brother or sister who tries to correct us.  It’s that fine line between judgmental and accountable accountability. I’m talking about lovingly going to a brother and sister and saying, look, I just want to help you. I see that you’re doing this and I know you don’t want to do this.  You know it’s a sin. I know it’s a sin. Let me help you.  The church can help each other overcome these sins and these temptations.

The second one, He gives us our brains.  He gives us ourselves. He gives us the Spirit of God in us working in us and through us.  What I mean by that is if you know you struggle with something, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re going to be tempted. If you’re an alcoholic don’t go to the bar.  If you’re addicted to pornography, don’t be on a computer by yourself. If you’re addicted to anger, don’t put yourself, this is a hard one, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re gonna get angry.  If you’re a gossip, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re going to gossip.  Now, that means when somebody gossiping to you, you have to tell them to stop.  That’s tough, it’s tough for your preacher. It’s tough.  In all the sins you can think of, don’t go back into that environment.  Father lead me not into temptation…then we’re right back on the computer.

When you pray it let God work in you to keep you away from it, and that means trusting the church to tell you.  And just don’t go there.  Just don’t go back into that old life. Remember?  In Christ we are new creations.  Right?  Our sins, they’re gone.  Jesus took them away.  Don’t go back.  Don’t go back.  Father, forgive us of our sins and lead us not into temptation.

And I know there’s that other section about forgive others, you’re going to get that in a few weeks. OK? We’re not forgetting that part of the passage. You’re going to get that in a few weeks.  But today I want us to focus on God’s forgiveness of our sin.  Our sins.  And I want us to focus on asking God to help us through His Spirit not pick them back up when we’ve put them down.  It’s hard for me.  I know it’s hard for you.  Let the Spirit of God worked in you and through you.  Somebody might need to hear this too today.  When Jesus says you’re forgiven, you’re forgiven.  A lot of people, I think they say it, but then they have this weight and this guilt that just weighs them down.  And they just walk through this world like He can’t forgive me of this. It’s too bad. I mean I can say it, but He really doesn’t forgive me of that. Yes He does!  Yes He does. I know it’s Father’s Day.  The greatest father we have is God because He sent His Son to pay your debt to set you free.  And if you need to make that decision today in your life and in your heart, don’t let anybody stop you from coming forward.  Don’t let anybody stop you right where you’re at in your seat, from saying today’s the day I’m just going to say yes to Jesus.  Today’s the day I’m going to make the decision to send my sins away.  And maybe if you’re a Christian, maybe you’ve been following Jesus for a long time and you still have something that you hadn’t put down yet.  Put it down today.  Put it down and then get up and go forward as a new creation in Christ Jesus.