Praying to the Father - Orando al Padre
Topic: Bilingual Passage: Luke 11:5-13
“How do you do that?” ... That’s a question you might ask someone who is exceptional at what they do. You might say it to someone who excels at math or spelling or magic or archery or juggling or cooking or origami. Seeing someone surpass others in their ability inspires admiration, but when there’s a chance to interact with that individual, there is also an opportunity to learn. And so, people ask, “How do you do that? Can you show me? Can you help me?”
When someone requests something from Jesus for help, I think the most commonly it’s for a healing or a sign of some kind.
But in the occasion we’re be looking at today, we don’t have a disciple being impressed by something they think is beyond their ability. This disciple is impressed by Jesus’ ability to pray. So, as we continue this series on the basics of Christian life, we’ll be talking about prayer today.
Luke 11, verse 1, says: Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
[Aconteció que estando Jesús orando en cierto lugar, cuando terminó, le dijo uno de Sus discípulos: «Señor, enséñanos a orar, así como Juan enseñó también a sus discípulos».]
Jesus had an impressive prayer life. His prayer life produced admiration in this unnamed disciple, and it led him to go to Jesus on behalf of the entire group. “Show us how to do that, Jesus. Help us pray better.”
This wasn’t about learning to perform some kind of ritual. This was about developing a deeper relationship with the living God. How do you do that? How do you connect with God?
He talks to us in the Bible, so we want to learn how to understand and study His word. But we respond to Him in prayer. So, how can we do that?
Imagine that you were struggling in your marriage, and then, you met a couple who had been married for 50 years and were impressed by how they interacted. And so, you went to one of them and said, “How do you do that? How is it that you and your spouse have that kind of relationship and that kind of communication?
Are they going to give you a script? Are they going to give you a list of things to say? There might be some examples of how to say things better, but examples alone aren’t going to help. You need to have a discussion about the relationship as a whole, right? You need to talk about how you two see one another. You need to talk about the heart behind the communication.
This is exactly what Jesus does. In verses 2-4, Jesus gives His disciples an example of a prayer. And it’s very similar to what many people call The Lord’s Prayer. But right after that example, Jesus gets to the heart of prayer.
Jesus had a healthy prayer life because He had an exemplary relationship with His heavenly Father. According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus would wakeup early or stay awake late n the dark and pray alone. He would slip away to pray. Why? It wasn’t it because Jesus loved prayer. It was because Jesus loved the Father.
That’s an important distinction to make. Jesus didn’t depend on the power of prayer. He depended on the power of His Father. Prayer is not an end in itself. It’s the means of communing with the Father. One author compared prayer to a glass window. We don’t predominantly stare at the window, we stare through the window.
Prayer is a means by which we relate to the Father. It’s not a spiritual discipline in the same sense that jogging is a physical discipline. Biblical prayer is not some kind of meditation for inner peace. It is talking to the living God. It is the outflow and the cultivation of a relationship.
And that relationship is that of a child and his Father. Look for a second at verse 2. What’s the opening word in Jesus’ sample prayer? “Father.” Father. That’s who we’re talking to.
Again, the sample prayer is helpful, but our time today is going to look at the attitude of the prayer. Jesus had a vibrant, healthy prayer life. And He wants us to have the same. So, to that end, we’re going to look at two principles today for a healthy prayer life, a vibrant relationship with the Father. The more we develop these two qualities in our lives, the better our relationship will be to the Father.
What are those qualities? Quality number 1 is this: childlike boldness [audacia de niño]. Childlike boldness.
Look with me at verses 5-7.
5And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?
[5También les dijo: «Supongamos que uno de ustedes tiene un amigo, y va a él a medianoche y le dice: “Amigo, préstame tres panes, 6porque un amigo mío ha llegado de viaje a mi casa, y no tengo nada que ofrecerle”; 7y aquel, respondiendo desde adentro, le dice: “No me molestes; la puerta ya está cerrada, y mis hijos y yo estamos acostados; no puedo levantarme para darte nada”.]
There are no McDonald’s at that time. There is no In-n-Out. There are no taquerias for a late-night snack or a meal on the road. This host, in that culture, is expected to provide a meal for his guests. So, he decides, in the middle of the night, to knock on his neighbor’s door.
He explains the situation, but the neighbor has his own reasons for not giving in. “Do you know what time it is? Everybody here is asleep? What’s wrong with you?”
At this point, everybody is feeling the shamefulness of the host. He’s waking up his neighbor’s kids. What’s the point of the story though? Verse 8.
8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.
[8Les digo que aunque no se levante a darle algo por ser su amigo, no obstante, por su importunidad se levantará y le dará cuanto necesite.]
The key word here is “impudence.” It’s not a world we use today very much, but that’s a good translation. Some translations use the word “persistence,” but I don’t think that’s the best translation here. The way the word was used in Greek, it meant audacity or shamelessness or boldness. In Spanish, the saying is “sin vergüenza.” That boldness might lead to persistence, but there is distinction.
Last week, we talked a little bit about boldness in evangelism, and I think we all understand that idea. But how often do we think about being bold with our prayers?
What if you were that host? Would you knock on your neighbor’s door at midnight? Culturally speaking, we may not feel the urgency or the pressure of providing food for late-night guests. So, let me change the analogy a little bit.
Your house loses electricity, and it’s the only house on the block that lost it. You have no idea when the power is coming back on, but it’s been 4 hours. Would you ask your neighbor if he could store some of your things in his fridge? Would you ask?
Or would you be thinking, “Oh! I don’t want to bother anyone. I really don’t need it that much. I just feel so bad asking.”
Maybe some of you would ask? Or maybe you think asking would be too bold. It would be like the person who sends back a steak because it’s medium well instead of medium. Is that too bold?
Some of the boldest people in the world are out children. They will ask things adults would never dare to ask. That’s what I mean by childlike boldness.
My parents used to tell us, whenever we went to visit grandma, “Don’t tell her that you’re hungry. Don’t ask for anything.”
But of course, what do grandmas and grandpas say? “Mijo, what do you want? Do you want a snack? Do you want an ice cream?”
Why do they ask that? Are grandparents trying to get their grandkids in trouble? Is this some kind of a setup?
No. They want to give. They want to love. That’s the heart of our heavenly Father who calls us to go to Him with childlike boldness.
One author asked the question Who is it that can wake up a king in the middle of the night and ask for a drink of water? Who is it? It’s the king’s child. There’s an access that being a child brings. And that access produces a boldness with the Father.
The point of that parable is what prompts verses 9 and 10.
9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
[9Así que Yo les digo: pidan, y se les dará; busquen, y hallarán; llamen, y se les abrirá. 10Porque todo el que pide, recibe; y el que busca, halla; y al que llama, se le abrirá.]
Jesus is not saying you’ll always get exactly what you ask for. He’s saying, “Go to God, your Heavenly Father, and He will never turn you away.” He will hear your prayer. He will give you an answer. He will act for your good.
Think back to those excuses we would make about not knocking on our neighbor’s door. More often than we realize, I think we have similar thoughts to prayer.
“I can’t find my keys... I’m not going to bother God with that. That’s not prayer worthy!” Would a child ask his dad where the keys are? Does a husband ask his wife? That’s boldness.
“My boss is giving me a deadline I think is unreasonable... That’s my problem. That’s not a spiritual thing. I don’t need to pray for that.” Why not?
“I have to throw my sister a baby shower. This traffic is going to make me late for my appointment.” Is that worthy of prayer? Why not? Why don’t we pray in a lot of those circumstances?
Does God already know what we need? Yes, He’s all-knowing. But what God is after is a deepening relationship with His children. So, He tells us, “Ask me! Knock on my door and I will answer!” That is our Father encouraging childlike boldness.
Because of the COVID situation, I find myself locked in my bedroom with my books or my computer, and then my kids come to the door saying, “Dad, can we come in?” And sometimes, I say, “No. Not right now. I’m busy. Give me like 10 minutes.”
Jesus wants us to know that that is never God’s answer with regard to our prayers. Prayer brings us closer to our heavenly Father who hears us and responds. So, come to Him with a childlike boldness. Be bold in how you ask. Be bold in what you ask for. Be bold before your heavenly Father.
Because of what Christ has accomplished by sacrificing His life to pay the price of our sins, the Bible says we have boldness and confident access to the Father through our faith. Be bold in prayer. Have childlike boldness.
Let me share the second attribute of a healthy prayer life. Quality number 1 was childlike boldness. Quality number 2 is childlike faith. Childlike faith. Let’s read verses 11-13.
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
[11»O supongan que a uno de ustedes que es padre, su hijo le pide...pescado, ¿acaso le dará una serpiente en lugar del pescado? 12O si le pide un huevo, ¿acaso le dará un escorpión? 13Pues si ustedes siendo malos, saben dar buenas dádivas a sus hijos, ¿cuánto más su Padre celestial dará el Espíritu Santo a los que se lo pidan?».]
Little children go to their Father for everything, not just because they’re bold, but because they believe Dad can help.
Just two days ago, my youngest daughter came to me with a pink backpack, and the zipper had come apart. And she says, “Daddy, can you fix my backpack?”
Zippers are so tough. I am more likely to throw away a pair of jeans than to fix a broken zipper. But it’s my little girl, so I give it a shot. And after about ten minutes of frustration, I got the zipper back to how it should be.
And when I gave it back to my little girl, she said, “Thanks, Dad. I knew you could do it.” Priceless.
All those Jewish dads listening to Jesus that day go it too. Even sinful dads have the desire to meet their children’s needs and try to improve their life. And Jesus highlighted that with an extreme example.
Here’s a kid asking for something to eat, a fish or an egg. And let’s imagine this is going to be put inside the kids lunch sack. What kind of a father would, instead of a lunch, pack a poisonous snake or a scorpion in that lunch bag? If you did that today somebody’s going to call child services! What kind of dad would be that cruel?
Well, what kind of heavenly Father do you think you have? Does He have your best interest at heart? Does He want good things for you? Or course He does. God is good.
Hebrews 11 says that true faith believes, not only that God exists, but that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
So, as His children, we should pray knowing our God has our best interest in mind.
How does God meet many of our needs? When we’re sick, how does He comfort us? When we’re fighting temptation, how does He give us strength? When finances are tough, how does He gives us peace? When we’re dealing with a difficult person, how does He enable us to love?
He does it by the Holy Spirit. That’s what verse 13 is pointing to. We ask God for a lot of things, right? But behind what we ask is our desire for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Where does that come from? It’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It comes from the Spirit of Jesus Christ that has taken residence in our hearts.
Let me close with a rhetorical question. And this comes from Romans 8:32. Two of the main themes in Romans 8 are the Holy Spirit, and the difficulties and pains of this life. And here’s the question Paul asks. Romans 8:32.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
[El que no negó ni a Su propio Hijo, sino que lo entregó por todos nosotros, ¿cómo no nos dará también junto con Él todas las cosas?]
Our heavenly Father is all powerful. And our heavenly Father wants what is truly good for us. And our heavenly Father has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. So let’s go before Him with childlike boldness and with a childlike faith, trusting His lovingkindness.