Luke 11:1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray.
We like to consult the experts whenever we can. We’ll ask a trainer, Teach us to exercise. We’ll ask a chef, Teach us to cook. We’ll ask a golfer, Teach us to putt. When the disciples saw Jesus praying, and realized how much they could learn they said, Lord, teach us to pray. Nothing is more basic to our relationship with God, and nothing is more productive.
Many years ago a young man submitted an idea for time management to a large company. If the owner liked the idea, he could send a check for whatever amount he thought the idea was worth. A few weeks later, the young man received a check for a quarter million dollars.
The plan had three parts. First, at the start of each day, make a list of everything that has to be done. Second, put the list in order from the most important things to the least important things. Third, do the most important things first. Since we will never get to the bottom of our list, we ought to begin with whatever is most important. What could be more important than talking to God?
Luke 11:2-4 He said to them, When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.
Prayer does not need to be long or complicated, but it needs to be frequent. There is no way to have a meaningful relationship with your heavenly Father apart from regular prayer. The more we talk to God, the more natural it will seem. The less we talk to God, the more distant we will become.
The Lord’s Prayer is complete in itself, but it can also serve as an outline for extended prayer. Dear Father, thank you that you really are my Father. Help me to honor your name in all my words, thoughts and deeds. May your kingdom come in glory, but also in my heart today. Thank you for the food you provide, and for the many other things I often take for granted. My sins are too many to count, but I thank you for sending Christ to bear the punishment I deserve. I forgive all those who have sinned against me, and ask you to bless them in every way. Keep me from temptation, and where it wants to lead me. Instead, help me to follow you all the way to glory. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Luke 11:23 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
Jesus is so controversial that neutrality toward him is impossible. We are either friend or foe, ally or enemy, for him or against him. And the way we show our loyalty is by helping him gather the lost–whoever does not gather with me scatters, he said. This is not the duty of a few, but of all who belong to Jesus Christ.
If a great preacher won a thousand people to Christ every day, he would win millions over the course of his life. But if I win one person to Christ this year, and the two of us each win someone to Christ next year, and the four of us each win someone to Christ the following year, and so forth, the whole world would be won in thirty-three years.
This will not happen, of course, since Jesus taught that only a few will be saved (Matthew 7:14). But whoever belongs to Christ should try to gather as many others as they can. One of the easiest ways to do this is with the Seven Minute Bible Study. Find a small Bible you can carry in your pocket, and highlight the following verses.
- John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
- John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
- John 14:6 Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
- 2 Corinthians 5:15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
- Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in . . . .
After you have marked the above verses in your Bible, find someone who will give you seven minutes of their time. Turn to each verse; let them read it out loud; and ask what they think it means. It is probably best not to instruct or correct at all, but to simply let the word of God speak for itself. For the word of God is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), says Hebrews.
After the final verse, you might ask them to read a prayer that you have written in the back of the Bible. Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe you died for my sins, and I want to live for you. I turn away from my sins, and ask you to forgive me. Lead me in the way of eternal life. Amen.
The strength of this study is that it does not depend on the knowledge of the person presenting, but only on God’s word. The presenter does not need to control the outcome, only to give others the privilege of reading God’s word. This is a simple way to gather others to Jesus Christ.
Luke 11:52 Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge.
Jesus Christ is the key to knowledge that the experts had taken away. He unlocks the meaning of the Bible, and thus the meaning of life. The only way to understand life is through the person of Jesus Christ.
When I was growing up I thought adults had all the answers, and it was only a matter of time before I would have all the answers too. But when I became an adult, I discovered they do not have all the answers, and even stopped asking the most important questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How should I live? What is the meaning of life?
People stop asking these questions because, humanly speaking, they are unknowable. The answers from philosophy are not convincing because philosophy can argue in any direction. But if God has spoken from heaven, and even come to earth, then our deepest questions have been answered.
This is why Christianity explains the human experience so compellingly. Created in the image of God, we have dignity and worth. Fallen into sin, there is no evil of which we are not capable. Redeemed by Jesus Christ, we are learning how to live, and have a glorious future. Jesus is the key to knowledge that unlocks the meaning of life.
Reflection and Review
How do you normally pray?
Why is evangelism difficult?
Why is Jesus the key to knowledge?