50. The Lords prayer
The Lords prayer..AS Jesus was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. Jesus said unto them,
When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
And he said unto them,
Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or, if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But Jesus said,
Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
¶When the people were gathered thick together, he began to say,
This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon ishere.
The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.
As Jesus spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: he went in, and sat down to meat. The Pharisee marvelled that Jesus had not washed before dinner. The Lord said unto him,
Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without, make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.
But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.
¶Then answered one of the lawyers, Master, thus saying thou reproachest us also. Jesus said,
Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.
Woe unto you! for we build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.
Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
As he said these things, the scribes and the Pharisees began to provoke him to speak of many things: laying wait for him, to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
Scripture: Luke 11:1-4
Meditation 1 of 8:
Do you pray with joy and confidence? The Jews were noted for their devotion to prayer. Formal prayer was prescribed for three set times a day. And the rabbis had a prayer for every occasion. It was also a custom for rabbis to teach their disciples a simple prayer they might use on a regular basis. Jesus’ disciples ask him for such a prayer. When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he gave them the disciple’s prayer, what we call the Our Father or Lord’s Prayer. This prayer dares to call God “our Father” and boldly asks for the things we need to live as his sons and daughters. We can worship and adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son. We can approach God our Father with confidence and boldness because Jesus Christ has opened the way to heaven for us through his death and resurrection. When we ask God for help, he fortunately does not give us what we deserve. Instead, he responds with grace and mercy. He is kind and forgiving towards us and he expects us to treat our neighbor the same. We can pray with expectant faith because our heavenly Father loves us and treats us as his children. He delights to give us what is good. His love and grace transforms us and makes us like himself. Through his grace and power we can love and serve one another as Jesus taught — with grace, mercy, and loving-kindness. Do you treat others as they deserve, or do you treat them as the Lord would with grace and mercy? Jesus’ prayer includes an injunction that we must ask God to forgive us in proportion as we forgive those who have wronged us. Are you ready to forgive as Jesus forgives?
“Father in heaven, you have given me a mind to know you, a will to serve you, and a heart to love you. Give me today the grace and strength to embrace your holy will and fill my heart that all my intentions and actions may be pleasing to you. Help me to be kind and forgiving towards my neighbor as you have been towards me”.
Scripture: Luke 11:5-13
Meditation 2 of 8:
What can we expect from God, especially when we recognize that he doesn’t owe us anything and that we don’t deserve his grace and favor? Jesus used an illustration from the hospitality customs of his time to show how God is always ready to treat us with the best he has to offer. The rule of hospitality in biblical times required that every guest, whether stranger or friend, be warmly welcomed, refreshed (which often involved the washing of feet), and fed with the best food and drink available. It didn’t matter what time of the day or night the guests might show up, it was your duty to stop what you were doing so you could give the guests the best care and shelter you could provide. If there wasn’t adequate sleeping accommodation for both your guests and your family, the family slept outside under the stars. When guests showed up in a village, the whole community could be prevailed upon to provide whatever was needed.
Jesus’ parable of the importunate and bothersome neighbor shows a worst case scenario of what might happen when an unexpected guest shows up in the middle of the night! The family awakens, unbolts the locked door to receive the guest, then washes the guest’s feet, and the wife begins to prepare a meal. When the wife discovers that she has no bread to set before the guest, she prevails on her husband to go and get bread from a nearby family, who by now is also asleep with their door bolted shut. In a small village it would be easy for the wife to know who had baked bread that day. Bread was essential for a meal because it served as a utensil for dipping and eating from the common dishes. Asking for bread from one’s neighbor was both a common occurrence and an expected favor. To refuse to give bread would bring shame because it was a sign of inhospitality.
God’s generosity towards us
If a neighbor can be imposed upon and coerced into giving bread in the middle of the night, will not God, our heavenly Father and provider, also treat us with kind and generous care no matter how troubling or inconvenient the circumstances might appear? Jesus states emphatically, How much more will the heavenly Father give! St. Augustine of Hippo (340-425 AD) reminds us that “God, who does not sleep and who awakens us from sleep that we may ask, gives much more graciously.” The Lord Jesus assures us that we can bring our needs to our heavenly Father who is always ready to give not only what we need, but more than we can ask. God gives the best he has. He freely pours out the blessing of his Holy Spirit upon us so that we may be filled with the abundance of his provision. Do you approach your heavenly Father with confidence in his mercy and kindness towards you?
“Heaven Father, you are merciful, gracious and kind. May we never doubt your love nor hesitate to seek you with confidence in order to obtain the gifts, graces, and daily provision we need to live as your beloved sons and daughters and disciples of Jesus Christ our Savior.”
Scripture: Luke 11:27-28
Meditation 3 of 8:
Are you a blessing to your family and neighbors? When an admirer wished to compliment Jesus by praising his mother, Jesus did not deny the truth of the blessing she pronounced. Her beatitude (which means “blessedness” or “happiness”) recalls Mary’s canticle: All generations will call me blessed (Luke 1:48). Jesus adds to her words by pointing to the source of all true blessedness or happiness — union with God. Mary humbly submitted herself to the miraculous plan of God for the incarnation of his only begotten Son — The Word of God made flesh in her womb, by declaring: I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38). Mary heard the word spoken to her by the angel and she believed it. On another occasion Jesus pointed out that our true mother and brothers and sisters are those who hear the word of God and do it (Luke 8:21). They are truly blessed because they know their God personally and they find joy in hearing and obeying his word.
Our goal in life, the very reason we were created in the first place, is for union with God. We were made for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in him. An early martyr once said that “a Christian’s only relatives are the saints.” Those who follow Jesus Christ and who seek the will of God enter into a new family, a family of “saints” here on earth and in heaven. Jesus changes the order of relationships and shows that true kinship is not just a matter of flesh and blood. Our adoption as sons and daughters of God transforms all our relationships and requires a new order of loyalty to God and his kingdom. Do you hunger for God and for his word?
“Lord, my heart is restless until it rests in you. Let me know the joy of your presence and increase my hunger for your word. May I always prefer your will over my will and seek to please you in all things.”
Scripture: Luke 11:29-32
Meditation 4 of 8:
What would Jesus say about our generation? Jesus gave a rather stern warning to his generation when they demanded a sign from him. It was characteristic of the Jews that they demanded “signs” from God’s messengers to authenticate their claims. When the religious leaders pressed Jesus to give proof for his claims he says in so many words that he is God’s sign and that they need no further evidence from heaven than his own person. The Ninevites recognized God’s warning when Jonah spoke to them, and they repented. And the Queen of Sheba recognized God’s wisdom in Solomon. Jonah was God’s sign and his message was the message of God for the people of Nineveh. Unfortunately the religious leaders were not content to accept the signs right before their eyes. They had rejected the message of John the Baptist and now they reject Jesus as God’s Anointed One (Messiah) and they fail to heed his message. Simeon had prophesied at Jesus’ birth that he was “destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that inner thoughts of many will be revealed” (Luke 2:34- 35). Jesus confirmed his message with many miracles in preparation for the greatest sign of all — his resurrection on the third day. The Lord Jesus through the gift of his Holy Spirit offers us freedom from sin and wisdom for our lives, if we listen to him. Do you thirst for Godly wisdom? James says that the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity (James 3:17). A double-minded person cannot receive this kind of wisdom. The single of mind desire one thing alone — that which is good and ordered according to God’s wise plan. Ask the Lord to renew your mind and to increase your thirst for his wisdom.
“Lord, give me your wisdom and increase my love for your ways. Help me to resist temptation and all wilfulness that I may wholly desire to do what is pleasing to you.”
Scripture: Luke 11:33-36
Meditation 5 of 8:
Jesus used the image of eyesight to convey an important spiritual principle. Bad eyesight is often used as a metaphor for stupidity and spiritual blindness. (For examples, see Matthew 15:14, 23:16 ff.; John 9:39-41; Romans 2 2:19; II Peter 1:9; and Revelations 3:17.) The eye is the window of the heart, mind, and “inner being” of a person. If the window is clouded, dirty, or marred in any manner, the light will be deflected and diminished. Just so with the “inner being” of a person! How we “see” affects the “inner life”, “heart”, and “soul” of an individual. What can blind or distort our “vision” of what is true, good, lovely, pure and everlasting (Philippians 4:8)? Certainly prejudice, jealousy, and self-conceit cause distortion or blindness. Prejudice destroys good judgment and blinds us to the facts and to their significance for us. Jealousy makes us distrustful and suspicious of others and distorts our ability to accurately examine the facts. We need to fearlessly examine ourselves to see if we are living according to right principles or if we might be misguided by prejudice or some other conceit. Love is not jealous …but rejoices with the truth (1 Cor. 13:4-6). Do you rejoice in what is right and good and do you live your life in the light of God’s truth?
“Lord, your word is life for us. Fill me with your light and truth, and give me understanding of your ways. Free me from all that is false, illusory, ugly, and unloving. Let my heart know only one treasure — the joy and bliss of union with you — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Scripture: Luke 11:37-41
Meditation 6 of 8:
Is the Lord welcomed at your table and are you ready to feast at his table? A Pharisee, after hearing Jesus preach, invited him to dinner, no doubt, because he wanted to hear more from this extraordinary man who spoke the word of God as no one else had done before. It was not unusual for a rabbi to give a teaching over dinner. Jesus, however, did something which offended his host. He did not perform the ceremonial washing of hands before beginning the meal. Did Jesus forget or was he deliberately performing a sign to reveal something to his host? Jesus turned the table on his host by chiding him for uncleanness of heart. Which is more important to God — clean hands or a clean mind and heart? Jesus chided the Pharisees for harboring evil thoughts — greed, pride, bitterness, envy, arrogance, and the like. Why does he urge them, and us, to give alms? When we give freely and generously to those in need we express love, compassion, kindness, and mercy. And if the heart is full of love and compassion, then there is no room for envy, greed, bitterness, and the like. Do you allow God’s love to transform your heart and mind?
“Lord, fill me with your love and increase my thirst for holiness. Cleanse my heart of every evil thought and desire and help me to act kindly and justly and to speak charitably with my neighbor.”
Scripture: Luke 11:42-46
Meditation 7 of 8:
Why does Jesus single out the teachers and lawyers for some rather strong words of rebuke? The word woe can also be translated as alas. It is as much an expression of sorrowful pity as it is of anger. Why did Jesus lament and issue such a stern rebuke? Jesus was angry with the religious leaders because they failed to listen to God’s word and they misled the people they were supposed to guide in the ways of God. The scribes devoted their lives to the study of the Law of God and regarded themselves as legal experts in it. They divided the ten commandments and precepts into thousands of tiny rules and regulations. They were so exacting in their interpretations and in trying to live them out, that they had little time for anything else. By the time they finished compiling their interpretations it took no less than fifty volumes to contain them! In their misguided zeal, they required unnecessary and burdensome rules which obscured the more important matters of religion, such as love of God and love of neighbor. They were leading people to Pharisaism rather than to God.
Jesus used the example of tithing to show how far they had missed the mark. God had commanded a tithe of the first fruits of one’s labor as an expression of thanksgiving and honor for his providential care for his people (Deut. 14:22; Lev. 27:30). The scribes, however, went to extreme lengths to tithe on insignificant things (such as tiny plants) with great mathematical accuracy. They were very attentive to minute matters of little importance, but they neglected to care for the needy and the weak. Jesus admonished them because their hearts were not right. They were filled with pride and contempt for others. They put unnecessary burdens on others while neglecting to show charity, especially to the weak and the poor. They meticulously went through the correct motions of conventional religion while forgetting the realities.
Why does Jesus also compare them with “unmarked graves”? According to Numbers 19:16, contact with a grave made a person ritually unclean for seven days. Those who come into contact with the Pharisees and listen to their teaching are likewise defiled by their false doctrine. They infect others with wrong ideas of God and of his demands. Since the Pharisees are “unmarked”, other people do not recognize the decay within and do not realize the danger of spiritual contamination. The Pharisees must have taken Jesus’ accusation as a double insult: They are not only spiritually unclean themselves because they reject the word of God, but they also contaminate others with their dangerous “leaven” as well (see Luke 12:1).
What was the point of Jesus’ lesson? The essence of God’s commandments is love — love of God and love of neighbor. God is love and everything he does flows from his love for us. Love is sacrificial; it both embraces and lifts the burdens of others. Do you allow the love of God to transform your mind and heart? And are you willing to carry your neighbor’s burden?
“Lord, inflame my heart with your love that I may always pursue what matters most — love of God and love of neighbor. Give me wisdom and courage to act with justice, kindness, and mercy in all that I do and say.”
Scripture: Luke 11:47-54
Meditation 8 of 8:
Do you honor those who speak the wisdom of God and do you heed their message? God’s Wisdom is personified in the voice of the prophets, a voice that always brought rejection and martyrdom because they spoke for God. Jesus chastised the religious leaders of his day for being double-minded and for demanding from others standards which they refused to satisfy. They professed admiration for the prophets by building their tombs while at the same time they opposed their message and closed their ears to the word of God.
What does Jesus mean when he says they have taken away the key of knowledge? The lawyers and scribes held the “office of the keys” since they were the official interpreters of the scriptures. Their interpretation of the scriptures was so distorted and difficult to understand that others were “shut off” to the scriptures. They not only shut themselves to heaven; they also hindered others from understanding God’s word. Through pride and envy, they rejected not only the prophets of old, but God’s final prophet, Jesus. Jesus is the “key of David” (see Isaiah 22:22; Rev. 3:7) who opens heaven to those who accept him as Lord and Savior. He is the “Wisdom of God” and source of everlasting life Only the humble of heart — those who submit to God and acknowledge they dependence on him — can receive this wisdom. God is ever ready to speak his word to us and to give us wisdom and understanding. Do you hunger for the wisdom which comes from above?
“Govern all by your wisdom, O Lord, so that my soul may always be serving you as you will, and not as I may choose. Do not punish me, I beseech you, by granting that which I wish or ask, if it offends your love, which would always live in me. Let me die to myself that so I may serve you; let me live to you, who in yourself are the true life. ” (prayer of Theresa of Avila, 1515-82)