Luke 11:1-13 – The Prayer of a Disciple


When did you learn how to pray and how did you learn?


Jesus’ disciples have been with him for a couple of years now and are ready to declare Jesus as God’s Messiah (Luke 9:20). Jesus has turned his face in the direction of Jerusalem where he will go and lay down his life for all who put their trust in him. Many are drawn to him but find it hard to let go of the pull of this world. In chapter 10, Jesus sent 72 others to go  from town to town to preach the gospel (Luke 10:8-9) but only if welcomed to do so. Judgement on this world begins now, measured by how welcome the kingdom of God is now. Gospel work is compared with a spiritual battle. That as the gospel is proclaimed, Satan and his minions are being attacked. But what is important is not that the battle is being one but that the disciples’ names are already written in the book of life. While Jesus calls and directs his disciples to go on mission, he sets it in the context of an eternal relationship with God the Father (Luke 10:21-24). Following Jesus is not just about knowing the truth and fighting for truth, it is more importantly about knowing God the Father and being known by him.


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.”

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“ ‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.g
And lead us not into temptation.’ ”

5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

11 “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!”



  • 1-4 Jesus’ prayer content
  • 5-10 Jesus’ prayer approach
  • 11-13 Jesus’ prayer expectation

1-4 Jesus’ prayer content

“Lord teach us to pray…” What a great question that one of the disciples has blessed the whole church in history with. This one man saw a prayerfulness of Jesus that he admired and saw a lacking in himself that he sort to correct. John the baptist clearly had taught his students how to pray but it is the lesson of the Lord that has been passed on to the Christian community, preserved for all time.

The disciple saw a prayerfulness in Jesus that he desired for himself. Before we look at the content of Jesus’ prayer, we should notice that Jesus was known as a prayer and took time and relief to pray.

The Lord’s Prayer

There is so much to discuss with this prayer that it cannot be covered in this space. Volumes have been written about the Lord’s prayer such that, anyone who believes they can say everything in a brief time either boasts too much or is unaware of how deep this prayer is. What follows will suffice to scratch the surface and enable discussion in the right direction.

“Father”. Note that when we compare this prayer with the parallel prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, the phrase is “Our Father in heaven”. It is likely that Jesus taught this prayer format on two different occasions but an alternate theory that Jesus taught it only once but Matthew and Luke placed them in different parts of their narrative. The former theory is probably right given the differences in the prayer and the context of the lessons. We could study this prayer by combining and comparing the two but, for the sake of studying Luke, we’ll follow Luke’s recorded prayer. It differs on three major moments and on each occasion, Matthew’s account is longer. The prayer that we recite in church follows Matthew’s format.

“Father…” When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray he instructs them to call God, the Almighty, the Ancient of Days, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Judge – Father. Luke and Matthew do not include the word “Abba” which is famously taught as an intimate word for Father, like Daddy. Jesus used this address of God in Mark 14:36 when he prayed in Gethsemane. Paul invites us to share that intimate relationship because of the Spirit in us (Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6). While we could say that no Old Testament prophet or writer ever taught us to approach God with even the formal title of Father, we shouldn’t go too far with this. The Psalms contain great examples of intimacy and trust between the writer and God and we they shared the same Spirit as we do with the same effective act of salvation through the Son as we do. But Jesus taught his disciples to call God “Father”.

“Hallowed by your name, your kingdom come.” The name “Father” is accompanied with the descriptions of holiness and authority. The prayer knows his place in the universe and in this relationship of prayer. While we come to God in the context of a real relationship, we also know that his place before us is great. While we know that his place before us is great, we are still able to come! What a privilege is it to be able to speak directly to the ruler of all creation. His authority is great and his intentions and actions are holy, perfect, pure and just. When we come to him in prayer, we are not only coming to a being with all authority, but we are coming to the God who acts righteously. And our conversations with him should both respect who he is, as well as be prepared to speak accordingly. He desires us to desire what he desires.

“Give us each day our daily bread.” We do not ask the world of God but we can ask what is good and right. The daily bread reminds us of our dependence on God not to desire more than we need nor to have so much in reserve that we forget that we need him.

“Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” A sinner forgiven is a person who understands forgiveness. A person who deals mercifully with others demonstrates that they know the mercy of God themselves. Some will ask, “what if someone has sinned against me but is not repentant and doesn’t care? Must I forgive them in order to be forgiven myself?” The simplest reply is that we must always be willing and ready to forgive even if forgiveness has not been sort. Our forgiveness comes with repentance. That should be the model for us also. But the bible demands that we always show love, even to our enemies and those who hate us. And love does not keep a record of wrongs (1 Cor 13). Blend all of these ideas together and you can see that the forgiven sinner is already ready to forgive those who have sinned against them. The harder question is, are our hearts at the ready to forgive. Are we ready to let go of our anger, and hate. Those who have wronged us and not repented will get what they deserve from our Father.

“And lead us not into temptation.” The very act of prayer puts us in a good place to avoid or flee temptation. It ought to be our first strategy against sin. When our heart is tempted to wander and take something that is forbidden, then take our desires to God in prayer. Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” When our mind is meditating on God and engaged with Him, we are choosing to love Him more than sin. James 1:13 tells us that God never tempts anyone. The Lord’s prayer, however, takes us to the very place that we need to be before God. Under the care of our Father, longing for His will or kingdom to rule over ours, knowing that all good things come from God and our needs are met in him, that forgiveness, mercy and grace are at the heart of His kingdom, and ready to turn from evil rather than running toward it. “Lead us not into temptation” is equal to “lead us into righteousness.”

5-10 Jesus’ prayer approach

Jesus tells a story to illustrate that those who ask receive because they presume to be helped. Jesus describes a request asked at a bad time and yet the answer to the request is still yes. God is not to be compared exactly with the friend who was woken to give bread, but the illustration means that we ought to ask. Look at the final sentence in the story…

“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”

“Shameless audacity…” This is a description of boldness. A risky move that shows no restraint. Politeness, patience, social etiquette and worthiness are not part of the process here. Imagine how bold we must be to approach a holy God to ask for anything!

“…as much as you need.” The content of the prayer is not outrageous that we are asking for straight A’s without putting in the effort, or a Ferrari at no cost and so on. Our requests a both necessary and able to be supplied by God.

The difference between this illustration and our prayer requests is that God is not like the grumpy neighbour who feels bothered. If our neighbour will agree to do it, how much more will our loving heavenly Father who invites us to pray, respond to our requests.

So, we should pray. We should ask. We should not wait. We should pray with the expectation that God will respond positively. James 4:2-3 speak about our stupidity of not asking God but also about have a love for God over love of the world when we ask.

So, Jesus follows this illustration with the next to highlight the love of our heavenly Father…

11-13 Jesus’ prayer expectation

“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!”

The neighbour in the first illustration got out of bed and gave what was asked even while wishing the other neighbour would go away! But in contrast, our great God loves us. Jesus asks us to think of our earthly fathers and then imagine how much better is our heavenly Father, who is perfect.

And the great gift that we need is the Holy Spirit! On a section of scripture about prayer, how amazing is it that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate gift to us. Better than material possessions is the living God dwelling in us. Better than success in this life is the seal of the Holy Spirit confirming our inheritance for eternity! Better than a desire to know how to pray better is the Holy Spirit who knows us intimately and knows the Father intimately too. He is our intercessor in prayer! The disciples asked for directions on how to pray and what they got was an invitation to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit. And a promise that he will give the Spirit to those who ask him in faith.


Jesus demonstrated a keenness to meet with his Father in prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to help them with prayer, they received a model of what to ask for, what to expect from their heavenly Father and an invitation to ask for the eternal God to dwell with them. Prayer is so much more than a time of meditation and grounding oneself in the presence of God. It is an open door to the King who cares. Let us not treat prayer like it is a burden or a discipline. Let’s learn to approach God often and with great requests.


Topic A – Practical tips on prayer. Discuss in your group some practical tips on how and when to pray. For some ideas, consider praying through parts of the bible, praying at a particular time and place, the PrayerMate app, a prayer partner, a prayer diary and journaling your prayers. While “praying continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:16,17) is a beautiful way of living life, it is nourished by regular, drawing aside times of communing with God. Jesus himself displayed a habit of withdrawing from others in order to pray.

Topic B – The content of our prayers. Write out a list of things that you would like to ask God for or about. Keep the list to yourself at first before sharing a couple with the people around you. What does your list teach you about your love of God and your love for the world? How has your knowledge of God through His word and by His Spirit, helped you to refine your list? When our desires are in tune with God’s then we know that we can ask with shameless audacity. Genesis 4:26 gives the first indication of prayer in the bible and it is a call on God to fulfill his promises (Genesis 3:16). We can pray boldly when we know that our prayers are filled with the things God has promised us.

Topic C – Awareness of the Holy Spirit through prayer. All Christians are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. He is our seal that confirms our salvation. He is at work in us to sanctify us. To complete the work that God has promised to do in us. He is also our best friend when it comes to prayer. Before we even approach the throne of God in prayer, our God is with us to provoke us to pray. The Son has opened the doors of heaven so that we can come unashamed. The Father loves us and has invited us to come to him and ask what we need. When you pray, bring to your mind the promise that the Holy Spirit is at work in you. And when we doubt the generosity of God, remember that he has promised to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.

“And now, as we leave the passage, let us ask ourselves whether we know anything of real prayer? Do we pray at all? Do we pray in the name of Jesus, and as needy sinners? Do we know what it is to “ask,” and “seek,” and “knock,” and wrestle in prayer, like men who feel that it is a matter of life or death, and that they must have an answer? Or are we content with saying over some old form of words, while our thoughts are wandering, and our hearts far away? Truly we have learned a great lesson when we have learned that “saying prayers” is not praying! If we do pray, let it be a settled rule with us, never to leave off the habit of praying, and never to shorten our prayers.” J.C. Ryle


Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.

Luke 9:57-62 – The Resolute Christian


What is the hardest thing about being a Christian?


As the disciples of Jesus are beginning to understand who Jesus is and are demonstrating their zeal for him, Jesus has determined to head toward Jerusalem. This means more than his annual treck for Passover. Jesus is heading to his execution. But he is also heading toward his ascension and victory. Luke chapter 9 marks a major turning point in the gospel of Luke and Jesus’ long journey to the cross. His mission to bring salvation to the ends of the earth will cost him his life.

Read Luke 9:57-52

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”


These three interactions between Jesus and potential disciples are given no specific place or time when they occurred except that it was while Jesus walked along the road. Luke pulls three accounts together in one place as a means to make one united point: that following Christ is costly and must take first place in a disciple’s life. Many people will falter at this point but it is better to have a small church of seeing Christians than a full and overflowing church of people given only half the truth.

“As they were walking along the road…” As indicated in Luke 9:51, Jesus was walking on the road to Jerusalem.

“…a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”” The man is not named because the focus of the story is to provide three different approaches to discipleship. Luke has bundled three separate stories together to help us see the cost of discipleship. This offer to go wherever Jesus goes sits in contrast to the Samaritans of the last passage who refused to have anything to do with Jerusalem. We may think Jesus would welcome this offer in comparison but he uses it to teach us something more.

“Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.” Jesus may very well be replying, “do you know what you are signing up for?” Everything and everyone in this world has a home to go to but this is not so for Jesus. This world is not a place of rest or comfort for him. He is the suffering servant (see Isaiah 52:13-53:12).

The Son of man was a title used of himself a number of times (Lk 5:24; 6:5, 22; 7:34; 9:22, 26, 44 and 18 more times in Luke!). It has a dual meaning of describing his humanity (child of mankind) and being God because of its clear allusion to a vision in Daniel 7:13, 14 of God coming in the appearance of a man. There is a reminder here that Jesus himself left the comforts of his home to save the world.

If you want to follow Christ, note that we say goodbye to the homeliness of this world.

“He said to another man, “Follow me.”” In this trilogy of lessons on discipleship, one example includes Jesus taking the initiative which ends with another lesson of warning. The theme of this section is clear thought, what does it cost to follow Jesus?

“But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”” Jesus’ personal invitation is met with a hurdle to cross. This offer came to the man at a very unfortunate time. It is good and right to respect and grieve our loved ones when they die. Is this not a reasonable request from the man? He is not saying no, but not yet. He is willing to leave his home and have no place to lay his head but he has responsibilities to his father and family.

“Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”” Too harsh? What is Jesus’ point? The next cross to bear as a Christian is to soberly see the great mission of God above and beyond our earthly ties to responsibility. Grief is right and responsibilities are real but Jesus’ prod here is to remember greater things. Giving attention to the things of this world is akin to ministering to the dead. But Jesus’ mission is for the living! John Calvin said of this verse: “those who do not rise above the world, — who devote themselves to pleasing men, and forget God, — are like dead men, who are idly and uselessly employed in taking care of the dead.”

“Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”” We have a similar category of trouble here but less about duty and more about giving our priority in life to our family.

“Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”” Jesus is challenging a divided heart. Christ wants all of us – the whole person. Will we follow Christ or not? So many people claim to be Christian and their lives show no determination to put him first or to seek first the kingdom of God. Many will begin a journey of following Jesus but then recall what they once left behind and wish to return. Jesus calls us to come and not look back. The race is forwards, not backwards.

Some will protest at this point that this is too harsh. The point of these three challenges though is to highlight the cost of discipleship. Jesus demonstrated his own responsibilities to his family as illustrated in Luke 2:51 (also John 19:26-27) but also taught that God comes first and we have a new family in Christ (Luke 8:19-21). It is too common for us to put our children and our family ahead of our devotion to God and following Jesus. When our mind is consumed with our love of our family over our love for God, we are not taking God seriously.


Jesus is speaking to people on his way to the cross. The theme of sacrifice and the cost of discipleship is clear. We live in a different situation where following Christ does not take us actually to Jerusalem. But our dedication to follow Jesus and join in his mission still comes at a cost. We must withdraw from our earthly home in order to claim heavenly citizenship. We must go about our responsibilities with the knowledge that all of this is passing away. And we must look to Jesus and never look back. We must take up our cross and follow him. If not then we are unworthy of the kingdom of God.


Topic A – Are your investments on earth or in heaven? The bible doesn’t teach us to be poor, but it teaches us to be rich in the kingdom of God. That is, find your treasure in God and not in financial gain. Taking risks for the kingdom of God is easier when the value of this world is diminished. What would you struggle to live without for Christ? How strong are your ties to live in this area? Are you deeply invested in your career such that it feels impossible to leave that behind?

Topic B – Managing responsibilities with a Christian view. God instructs us to be good with our money and with the responsibilities of this world. We are called on to pray for the government for example. Also, God instructs us to work and to provide for those we are responsible for (2 Thess 3:10; 1 Tim 5:4). Yet, he also says to do all things as though doing them for the Lord and not for men (Col 3:23). He calls us to seek first the kingdom of God and everything else will be taken care of (Matt 6:19-32). Having a Christian view of the world, puts all of our responsibilities in its eternal perspective and transfers the glory from ourselves to God.

Topic C – When family comes second. It is possible to love your family to death. The order of our devotion is God first, then family. The glory of this is that God loves our family more than we do. To truly love our family is to help them to see Jesus. A person can pour all of their time and energy and money and care into their family, but if Jesus is not given first place in this relationship, then the family is shutting their saviour out. You will be loving your family to death.


Father, accept our desire to follow Jesus and help us to do so despite the cost. Give us your grace to see the joy and privilege of knowing your Son and being known by you. Help us in our weakness and thank you for the price that you paid to call us your children. Amen.

Luke 9:51-56 – The Resolute Christ


When were you recently determined to go somewhere or to get a job finished?


Luke’s account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is well regarded as methodical and a great example of historic writing. But Luke’s purposeful account is also carefully narrated as he carries us from the humble beginnings of Jesus’ birth and ministry to the consummation of why Jesus was sent. In other words, Luke is not just giving us facts. He is giving us a lesson on who Jesus is and why he came and is an equally skilled storyteller as he is a historian.

In chapter 9 we read that Jesus and his disciples are at the height of their preaching and teaching ministry. It’s in this chapter that the disciples conclude that Jesus is God’s Messiah and that Jesus resolves to head toward Jerusalem.

Take some time to read chapter 9 in full before we go on to focus on Verses 51-56. What things stand out to you in this chapter?


51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.


“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven…” Luke writes to an audience who knows that this is the journey Jesus is taking. Luke reminds us that Jesus had a mission which had assigned times. Interestingly, Luke uses the word ‘time’ often in his book to talk about the time for Jesus to be born, the time for him to be presented at the Temple, the time for circumcision. Likewise, there was a set time for the ascension. Also, we should stop and think about the times that a phrase like this occurs in scripture. One is in Genesis 5:24 regarding Enoch and the other is in 2 Kings 2:11 regarding the prophet Elijah. Being taken up to heaven is a glorious statement of triumph, blessing and approval by God. Before ascending to heaven however, Jesus must be executed and be buried and rise again to complete his mission.

“Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” This is an observable turning point in the gospel according to Luke. He reminds us that this is Jesus’ destiny in Luke 13:22; 17:11; 18:31 and 19:28. Before setting his face toward Jerusalem, he told his disciples what to expect when they got there (see Luke 9:22, 31, 44). Jesus knew what was going to happen in Jerusalem. This is not simply a navigational comment but a knowledge of Jesus that the time was coming to lay down his life.

“He sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him.” Ready for what? What message? Jesus was sending someone as an advance party to find hospitality for Jesus as he was heading to Jerusalem. They apparently needed to pass through a Samaritan village on the way. Preparation was for his stay – where would he sleep? Now we see what would happen as he got ready to go into such a village.

“…but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.” John 4 gives us some insight into a difference between the Samaritans and the Jews. Jerusalem was an important city for one of them and not the other (John 4:19-21). The Samaritans were rejecting Jesus on the basis of which city he considered important. They wanted Jesus to stop with them and not keep going to Jerusalem. Jesus had failed their own evaluation.

“When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”” The zeal of James and John for Jesus is admirable but their application is misinformed. They stole a method from another great prophet of God, Elijah (2 Kings 1:10-12). The link to Elijah is not new in this chapter. Elijah and Moses had met with Jesus earlier in this same chapter and people were suggesting that Jesus is Elijah. This prophet stands out in the Old Testament as a man, set apart by God, approved by God through signs and wonders and who stood firmly for the true God against the leaders of Israel who had turned to other gods. The people in Jesus’ day were comparing Jesus with Elijah. When this Samaritan village rejected Jesus, it seemed right for James and John to act with zeal for Jesus.

“But Jesus turned and rebuked them.” The response of James and John was foolish. They meant well but they were wrong. To wipe out an entire village for being inhospitable is extreme. Jesus had instructed them earlier on how to react when not welcomed (Luke 9:5).

“Then he and his disciples went to another village.” How sad for that Samaritan village that they did not welcome the Son of God and the Saviour of their sins to come and teach them. Jesus didn’t need to smite them with fire from heaven. He simply left them to their own destruction. They had rejected Jesus, and that is the quickest road to judgment (Luke 9:26; Matthew 10:32-33).


Jesus’ knew his mission was to go to the cross and when it was time to go there. He knew that many would not welcome him and yet he still went to the city where he would die for our sins. The mission of God into this world is not to force the souls of people to come but to lay down his life and welcome all who would welcome him.


Topic A – Let’s never doubt the resolution of Christ to be our Saviour. He did not go reluctantly to the cross. It was his desire to procure sinners such as us. “The man that comes to Christ by faith should never doubt Christ’s willingness to receive him. The mere fact that the Son of God willingly came into the world to die, and willingly suffered, should silence such doubts entirely. All the unwillingness is on the part of man, not of Christ.” (JC Ryle) And so we praise God for his great and unswerving love for us.

Topic B – Well meaning Christians can act poorly in their passion and zeal. It is best to match zeal with knowledge. Someone might say they don’t need to study and learn in depth because they just love Jesus and want people to hear the gospel. Another might say that they are all about learning and study but is not passionate like other Christians. The two need to go hand in hand. The zealous person should take time to learn from those who know how to teach well. The excellent student should pray for passion to take their knowledge and use it for the glory of God.

Topic C – Ready to go where God takes you and acknowledge when a mission field is shut down. Many are the voices who will sneer at faith in Christ. Few are those who will listen and receive Jesus. Therefore, let’s not waste time with those who have clearly rejected Christ. Of course, every person needs the opportunity to hear and respond to Christ. But if their response is clearly negative, let’s move on to those who will hear and respond. Time is too short to be bogged down in battling with the resistant.


Thank you Jesus for your resolution to redeem us. We pray for more people in our region to welcome your Son to save them. We pray for more workers to send out your message into the world. We pray for wisdom to know when to stop speaking and to seek new audiences. Please help us to be zealous for your Son and to walk wisely as we travel resolutely to eternal life. Amen.