I. THE SUBJECT IS PRAYER.
A. The discussion is prompted by the disciples watching Jesus as He was praying.
1. They had observed Jesus praying on many occasions, they knew that He was a man of prayer.
2. The request was made by one of His disciples, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."
a. They wanted to know about the subject of prayer.
b. They saw that prayer was such an important part of His life, and they no doubt felt that it should be of greater importance in their lives.
B. Jesus first gave to them a model prayer.
1. We note the great similarity between this and the model prayer in the sermon on the mount.
2. The first important thing in prayer is the address.
a. To whom are you addressing your prayer.
b. Many prayers are addressed to people.
c. Many prayers have a very impersonal address, "O loving and eternal spirit that pervades the Universe."
d. "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name." Holy or sacred be Thy name. "The name Jehovah is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.
e. When we truly understand the One to whom our requests are being made, our faith rises.
3. Prayer is petition, and the first petitions are concerning the kingdom of God. Jesus said that if we would seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all the other things would be added to us.
a. "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth."
b. In this is a recognition that the earth is in rebellion against the will of God.
c. Man is actively promoting and advocating the very things that God has forbidden.
4. Jesus then speaks of petition for the personal needs. "Give us day by day our daily bread." "Forgive our sins." "Lead us not into temptation." "Deliver us from evil."
II. NEXT JESUS SPEAKS OF PERSISTENT PRAYER. THIS HE DOES BY ILLUSTRATION.
A. The situation, you have a guest that comes to you at midnight, and you find that you have no bread to set before him. You go to your neighbors house who is a friend and you knock on the door.
1. From within the house you hear his voice asking who it is.
2. You tell him your plight and he tells you to go home His family has all gone to bed, and he cannot get up without disturbing them all.
3. But you keep on knocking shamelessly until he comes to the door and gives you all the bread you need.
4. He did not give to you because of friendship, but because of your shameless persistence.
B. The parable is not teaching that persistence is necessary to get prayers answered. Oft times the force of the parable was made in the contrast.
1. Jesus gave another parable concerning prayer, the story was of an unjust judge who did not fear God neither did he regard any man. Every day a little widow lady was in his court seeking to be avenged for a wrong. He ignored her for a time, but after a while said, "Though I do not fear God or man, I am going to judge in her favor, or else she is going to drive me crazy.
a. Jesus said to note what the unjust judge said.
b. He then said, "And shall not God avenge His own elect which cry day and night unto Him? I say unto you that He will avenge them speedily."
c. The idea is that if an unjust judge can be moved to action by the persistence of a little widow, how much more is your heavenly Father moved to help His children who call unto Him.
2. Again in this parable the contrast is made. If a friend is not moved by your need, he will move because of your persistence. But your heavenly Father is moved by your need. Our God neither slumbers or sleeps.
C. "Ask and it shall be given unto you."
D. "Seek and you will find."
E. "Knock and it shall be opened unto you."
III. THE FULL APPLICATION TO THE LESSON ON PRAYER. "IF A SON SHALL ASK BREAD FROM ANY OF YOU WHO IS A FATHER, WILL YOU FOR BREAD, GIVE HIM A STONE."
A. Note it is not now a neighbor asking a friend for bread at midnight, but a son asking a father for bread.
1. Will he give him a stone?
2. That is totally unthinkable.
3. If he ask for a fish, will he give him a serpent?
4. If he ask for a egg, will he give him a scorpion?
B. Note now the contrast. If you 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.
1. Food is essential for physical life, and it is the obligation. of the father to provide food for his family.
2. The Holy Spirit is essential for our spiritual life, and it is the responsibility of our heavenly Father to provide for our spiritual well being.
3. Jesus said to the disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit had come upon them and they would be witnesses unto Him both in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world.
a. You witness more by how you live than by what you say.
b. It is said of Jesus that He was a true and faithful witness. Witness of what? Witness of His Father.
1. He could say, "If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father."
2. Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Me.
c. The Holy Spirit will give you power to be like Jesus. Your life will become a witness of what Jesus is.
d. This is the purpose of your heavenly Father.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.
4. We need the power of the Holy Spirit, and our heavenly Father wants to give us that power. All we need to do is to ask for the fullness of the Spirit.
C. I want to warn you of a danger. This scripture is being grossly misapplied today in some quarters where all kinds of strange phenomena is being manifested, such as animal noises, laughter, pinned to the floor, and acting as though inebriated, they say if you ask your Father for bread, He will not give you a stone. They thus seek to validate these bizarre activities.
1. Note that they are not really asking for the Holy Spirit, but are seeking the various unscriptural manifestations.
2. Paul tells us that when we become matured to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ that we will no more be as children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the slight of men and the cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
3. It is a blessing to know that you are spiritually mature enough as to not be deceived by these false prophets whose primary goal is to line their pocket books with the dollars of the gullible babes.
4. The purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit is to make me like Jesus, conform me into His image. For the life of me I cannot conceive of Jesus barking like a dog or cackling like a hen. I cannot picture Him staggering around as though drunk or engaged in uncontrollable laughter.
D. Let us get back to the real issue. You need the Holy Spirit to sustain your spiritual walk. Your Father knows your need, if you will just but ask Him now, He will fill you with the Holy Spirit, and the true manifestation of the Spirit will be your life transformed into the image of Jesus Christ and His love flowing forth from you.