Leader Bible Study
Prayer is personal communication with God. Many people aren’t sure how to pray or feel uncomfortable praying. To pray effectively, then, we must be taught how to pray. This is why Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray.
Jesus began with the Lord’s Prayer, not to establish the words we should use but to show how we should pray and what we should pray about. Through prayer, we demonstrate our dependence on and faith in the Lord. We should approach God as a Father and pray for His kingdom first and then for ourselves and others.
Then Jesus told a story about a man who went to his friend in the middle of the night to ask for food for a visitor. The friend did not want to be bothered but because the man did not give up, the friend finally gave him what he needed. God is not a sleepy neighbor. If a grumpy friend will reward persistence, how much more so will God! He cares about His children and is happy to give us what we need when we ask.
In a similar way, a human father who loves his child would not give him a snake if he asked for a fish. Will God give us everything we ask for? No, but when we are persistent with our prayers, we can trust Him to answer according to His glory and our good.
Jesus used another parable in Luke 18: A judge was unwilling to grant a widow’s plea for justice, but the woman did not give up. So the judge gave her justice. We should not give up praying if we have not received an answer from God. God is not like a wicked judge. When we pray consistently, God will give us justice and He will act quickly.
The BIBLE Story
Jesus Taught About Prayer
Luke 11; 18
Jesus had just finished praying when one of His disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” So Jesus told them, “When 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.’ ”
Then Jesus told them a story. “Imagine one of you goes to a friend at midnight and says, ‘Friend, let me borrow three loaves of bread because a friend of mine has traveled to visit me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ The friend shouts from inside his house, ‘Go away! My family is in bed. I don’t want to get up to help you.’ Even though the man does not want to help his friend, he will get up and give his friend what he needs because he asked boldly.”
Jesus told this story to teach the disciples about prayer. He said, “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
Jesus asked, “Does any father, when his son asks for a fish, give him a snake instead? Or if the son asks for an egg, does the father give him a scorpion?” Jesus said that fathers who are sinners know how to give good gifts to their children. God is an even greater Father! He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
Jesus told another story—a parable—to teach the disciples to pray without giving up. “In a town was a judge who did not care about God or people. Over and over, a widow went to the judge and asked him to protect her from wrongdoing. The judge did not want to help, but after awhile he said, ‘I will give this widow what she wants so she does not keep bothering me.’ ”
Jesus pointed out that the unjust judge did what was right because the widow did not give up. “When people cry out to God day and night, will He ignore them?” Jesus asked. “No! He will quickly make things right.” Jesus wanted His followers to have faith that doesn’t give up.
Christ Connection: Jesus taught us to pray. Because of Jesus, we can pray to God as a Father and ask for what we need. We can trust that God is good and loving, and we can count on Him to do what is right.
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