Rony Kozman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, Samford University
Jesus invites us to pray and trust Him with our needs. (1–4)
The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In the verses that follow, Jesus teaches the disciples what they should pray for (vv. 2–4), and He teaches them about God’s responsiveness to prayer (vv. 5–13). Jesus orients our prayers so that we seek first God’s Kingdom. We address God as Father and ask that His name be sanctified. Related to this, we ask that God’s Kingdom would come. These first two things are related. God’s name is revered as His Kingdom takes root and grows upon the earth. In this prayer, we ask that God would reassert His good and just reign over the earth and that God’s Kingdom would flourish.
Jesus teaches us to ask God to supply us with our necessities. Then, we ask God to forgive our sins as we forgive the debts that people owe to us. This depicts our sins as a debt that we need forgiven, and as we remember that we are asking God to forgive us the debts that we cannot repay (i.e., our sins), we likewise should be ready and eager to forgive the monetary (and other debts) that people owe us and cannot repay.
Finally, we ask God to keep us from a trial that would destroy us and instead ask Him to rescue us from such evil and calamity. At the same time, we also recognize that God may find it necessary for us to pass through certain trials. And so we pray as Jesus did, that the Father’s will would be done. We know that even if we must pass through trials, even the trial of death, that ultimately God will rescue us from death as He did when He resurrected Jesus.
Keep asking because God will answer. (5–10)
After Jesus teaches His disciples what to pray, He also teaches them about the importance and necessity of prayer. God gives in response to our prayer.
To this effect, Jesus gives an analogy of a friend who gives you bread at an inconvenient hour of the night because of your persistence. Jesus continues and presses that if we ask, search and knock — if we persist in prayer — then we will receive these things.
Trust God to answer out of His goodness. (11–13)
But God does not relate to us as a friend whom we must pester so that He finally relents and gives us the things for which Jesus has taught us to ask. Rather, God is like a father — after all, we pray to him as “Father” — who willingly and longingly wants to give His children the things for which they ask. He does not give them less or worse than what they ask. God’s gifts surpass what we ask of Him. Even if we fail to ask God for what is best, God is our good and loving father who always knows and gives what is best to us. And Luke stresses the unsurpassed gift of the Holy Spirit. All who receive this gift of the Holy Spirit are in the Kingdom of God and have defeated evil spirits and the ruler of the demons since they are indwelled and ruled by the Holy Spirit (vv. 14–26). In the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s Kingdom has come (v. 20).