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Luke 11:1-11:4
Key Verse: 11:2

The Lord’s prayer has been repeated during the past 2000 years by millions of believers in over 100 languages and in an endless variety of circumstances. This prayer has been a comfort to all those pilgrims travelling toward heaven. Especially, through the Lord’s prayer the whole Christian world has a common bond of unity and mutual fellowship. There are two versions of the Lord’s prayer, written in Matthew and Luke. Luke’s version is shorter. And Matthew’s and Luke’s arrangements for the Lord’s prayer are different. Matthew wrote it in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus’ precious teachings are all collected to form the constitution of the kingdom of heaven (chapters 5-7). Luke separated those teachings and put each one according to his orderly account so that each teaching might be very effectively conveyed. Particularly, the Beatitudes are written right after Jesus’ calling the twelve disciples in chapter 6, and the Lord’s prayer, here. It is right after his talk with Martha about the one thing needed in life, that is listening to Jesus. And the time is when Jesus was heading toward Jerusalem to die for God’s world salvation purpose. This compilation seems to be done well. We study this Lord’s prayer as we have the first worship service in our new centre, which God provided for us in his mercy and great expectation for us. I believe that we are studying the Lord’s prayer at the right time and at the right place. The contents of this prayer are fundamental and cover all the essential teachings of Christianity and Christian life in such a short description. Certainly this prayer is a model of prayer for all Christians.

Look at verse 1. “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.’” Prayer was an essential part in Jesus’ life. Luke describes Jesus’ prayer exceptionally (3:21; 4:42; 5:15, 6:12; 9:18,29; 11:1; 21:37; 22:39). Luke wrote that this time Jesus was praying even before teaching his disciples the Lord’s prayer at the request of a disciple. Here Jesus was praying in a certain place. We can pray any place, yet having a certain place to pray is important in one’s prayer life (Mt 6:6). When Paul went to Philippi for the gospel work, he went to a river to find a proper prayer place (16:13). Our new centre may be a place of prayer as well as a place of Bible study and worship.

In verse 1 one disciple had a noble desire to learn prayer. So he said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Probably, the disciple admired the prayer of John’s disciples, and did not want to be inferior to them in regard to prayer. Also, presumably, Jesus was waiting until his disciples would ask him to teach them to pray (a teachable moment). Let’s learn the prayer the Lord teaches his disciples of all times.

First, “Father, hallowed be your name” (1). Look at verse 2. “He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name…” In the Old Testament, no one called God "Father,” personally. God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pe 1:3), and Jesus is God’s Son. He called God "Father,” in his life on earth (Lk 4:49; 10:21; 22:42). Here the Lord Jesus taught his disciples to call God, "Father." This was and is truly revolutionary to the Jews, unthinkable in the Old Testament time. Now this amazing blessing of calling the Creator of the universe "Father" is given to all those who believe in Jesus Christ. It is interesting that in describing the genealogy of Jesus, Luke traces the lineage of Jesus up to Adam, and then writes “…Adam, the son of God.” Here we can infer that Adam, made in the image of God, had the blessing of being God’s son, calling God “Father.” But when he sinned he lost this blessing, becoming afraid of God and running away from him (Ge 3:10). Now this original blessing is restored to Adam’s race /descendants in Christ Jesus, who died for man’s sins and rose again from the dead. So Paul said in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.” And Galatians 4:6 says, “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” This is a truly amazing blessing given to those mankind fallen but redeemed by Christ Jesus. This is one great uniqueness in Christianity, incomparable to all other religions.

It is written in Matthew, “Our Father in heaven,” (6:9), but in Luke, “Father.” Certainly, Matthew has a point writing in this way. “In heaven” refers to that which is limitless and boundless, and so eternal, while “on earth”, to that which is limited by time and space. And calling God ‘our Father,’ can form a unity of all believers in Christ Jesus and the universal brotherhood of mankind. Luke also has point in his writing. As we call God, ‘Father,’ we feel intimacy between God and me. He knows me personally and he is my Father in Christ Jesus. He will be so happy whenever I come to him calling, “Father.” May we exercise and enjoy this utmost privilege and blessing in our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is followed by “hallowed be your name.” As great as the blessing to call God Father is, so is our duty for his name to be hallowed. This is the first prayer topic: “Hallowed be your name.” God’s name must be honoured. A name represents the being; in this case God himself. God is holy and he is to be revered. In the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must eat not from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Ge 2:16,17). In giving this command, God expected from man one thing: to recognize God the Creator and honour him as God. Adam’s disobedience came from not honouring God as God. Honouring God’s name should be the primary concern of his children in this world. In Genesis, when a conflict arose between Abraham and Lot, Abraham said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me…for we are brothers. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left” (13:8-9). In solving the problem, Abraham’s first concern was that God’s name should not be dishonoured, even if he would lose the best land. Paul wrote in Romans 2:24, “As it is written: ‘God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” And in helping the believers in the Corinthian church to resolve their problems, he told them not to act in the way God’s name would be dishonoured among them and in front of unbelievers, even saying, “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?...” (1 Cor 6:6-8). When we talk with students at U of T, we often hear them say that they don’t want to believe because of their parents or certain people who say they are Christians but whose lives are not good even in their sight. In contrast, if someone says, “I want to believe in Christ because of you,” how encouraging it will be to us and how honoured God’s name will be through us! We are to know that as Christians we carry Christ’s name and live honourably in every way (Heb 13:18). More positively God wants us to live for his name’s sake, to please God and glorify him in whatever we do. May “Hallowed be your name” indeed be our primary concern and prayer topic in our Christian life. May it be so in my home, church, school and work place.

Second, “your kingdom come” (2b). Look at verse 2 again: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.” This is the central prayer topic in the Lord’s prayer. When God created the world, it was really good. It was God’s world. But since man’s fall, Satan’s kingdom came, and paradise lost. Satan became the prince of this world (Jn 12;31; 14:30). Then through the coming of Jesus, God’s kingdom began to regain in this world. To begin his public messianic ministry, he had to fight with the devil in the very place Adam failed and defeated the devil, overcoming the devil’s temptation. Surely, the prayer “your kingdom come” was in his heart from the beginning of his ministry on earth. Jesus said that the purpose of his coming into this world was to preach the good news of the kingdom of God (4:43). He himself traveled about from one town after another and proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God (8:1). And at the right time he sent out his twelve disciples to preach the kingdom of God. another time, as he was heading to Jerusalem to die on the cross, he sent out seventy-two disciples to tell the people, “The kingdom of God is near you” (10:1,9). Even while he was hanging on the cross, the prayer “your kingdom come” was in his heart, and he invited a repentant criminal to the kingdom of God (23:43). Jesus finally died on the cross in obedience to God’s will of his kingdom to come.

Jesus who died for man’s sins rose again from the dead, destroying death, the last enemy of mankind, and thus brought to mankind complete victory over Satan. It is notable that each gospel book finishes with the command of the risen Christ: in Matthew, “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (28:19), in Mark, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation…” (16:15) in Luke, “repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations…” (24:47) and in John, “Feed my lambs…Take care of my sheep…Feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15,16,17) The purpose of these commands is for God’s kingdom to come in each person in all nations of the world. In Acts 1:8 the risen Christ, while on earth before his ascension, gave his disciples his last words: “you will receive the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The risen Jesus’ heart desire was for God’s kingdom to come to the ends of the earth, with no place where God’s kingdom does not reach. The book of Acts is about the expansion of God’s kingdom from Jerusalem to Rome. And Acts ends with Paul’s ministry in his rented house in Rome: “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ” (28:31).

God’s kingdom must come in each one’s heart and to each nation and to this whole world. God’s kingdom must be enlarged in our hearts, in our campus and society, which means Satan’s kingdom be diminished and gone. According to Romans 1:25, under Satan’s rule people exchange the truth of God for a lie, and worship and serve created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Money, pleasures and success in the world become their idols. This is the vivid picture of those who are under Satan’s rule, living in Satan’s kingdom. When God rules the hearts, people have a holy desire to worship him and serve him with their devotion, in joy and gladness. Under God’s rule, self-centred and selfish hearts become God-centred and sacrificial hearts.

Thank God for providing us with this beautiful new centre for his purpose. We believe that the purpose is “your kingdom come.” With the prayer, “Your kingdom come,” we pray that in this new centre U of T students come and worship God with joy and devotion as God’s rule comes in each one’s heart. Also, we pray that this place be used fully for 1:1 Bible studies. The whole point is that God’s rule be enlarged in each one’s heart and God’s kingdom be expanded at U of T. In accordance with the Lord’s prayer, we can pray for 50 regular SWA and 70 weekly 1:1 studies within the 3 years we stay in this place. This may be the expression of our love and devotion to our Lord Jesus and our full engagement in our battle against Satan’s kingdom. “Your kingdom come” may be our fervent prayer, and this prayer be embedded in our hearts and lives.

Third, our need (3-4). Look at verse 3. “Give us each day our daily bread.” Jesus wants us to pray for bread to sustain the body for living and working. So bread is related to practical needs such as job and health. “Our bread” shows that we need to pray not only for my bread, my job and health, but also for others. When we depend on God our Father for our bread and all our needs, God the Father will be willing to provide us with all the necessary things for our living in this world. He wants us to pray for daily bread, not weekly or monthly bread. He wants us to come to him daily, each day, and have fellowship with him, presenting our requests for needs to him.

We remember our Lord Jesus’ promise, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt 6:33). God wants us to believe this promise. And when God solves our bread problem, which includes job problem, we should be thankful to God for his provision. He wants us to express our faith in his sovereign provision and our thanks by offering our tithe to him. According to the Bible, not offering tithe is robbing or cheating God (Mal 3:8). He promises that when we offer what belongs to him, he will throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out such blessing that we will not have room enough for it (Mal 3:10). This promise has been proven true in the lives of all those who put this into practice without compromise.

Look at verse 4a. “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” We believe and know that Jesus died for all our sins. So some say that we don’t need to pray for the forgiveness of sins. That’s not true. Always, sin blocks our way to God. We should not be in broken relationship with God. We are in need of God’s forgiveness based on Jesus’ atoning death for our sins. We can ask for God’s grace of forgiveness of sins through recognizing and repenting our sins whenever we realize them. And we need to pray for the forgiveness of the sins of others. Also, God wants us to forgive each other in that grace. For an unforgiving heart ruins both parties, and with that heart condition we cannot ask God for his grace of forgiveness of our own sins. In relationships, an unforgiving heart suffers more than an unforgiven heart.

Look at verse 4b. “And lead us not into temptation.” We need this prayer also, for we are surrounded by temptations. There is a series of “flee” commands in the Bible: “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor 6:18), “flee from idolatry” (1 Cor 10:14), “you, man of God, flee from all this” including the love of money (1 Tim 6:11), and “Flee the evil desires of youth” (2 Tim 2:22). Christians recognize their weakness and the ease with which they give way to the temptation of the world, the flesh and the devil. There is the tempter. But we should not be afraid of the devil, Satan. Yet at the same time we should not make light of his existence and his power to tempt us time and again seeking every opportunity. We should humble ourselves before God and not be overconfident. God does not remove the temptations. There are temptations but our Lord Jesus wants us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation” and overcome them by depending on God and be made strong.

Thank God for the Lord’s prayer. May this prayer be written on the tablet of our heart for our prayer and living: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”

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