What does it say?
Luke 11 begins with the prayer that we often call The Lord’s Prayer. This is very similar to the prayer that we saw in Matthew’s The Sermon on the Mount. Here, Jesus gives this prayer in response to the disciples asking him to teach them to pray. Following this well-known prayer, Jesus continues the theme of prayer, emphasizing the need for importunity and continuing to prayerfully seek God’s will.
The second major section of the chapter records opposition to Jesus, including the Pharisees’ attack accusing him of being an agent of the Devil (11:14-26). To those who would worship others in his physical family, Jesus gives this statement about his true family being open to all that hear his word and do it (11:27-28). This section includes events and teachings that are also found in Matthew 6 and 12, as the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders continues to heat up.
Because of the way each gospel writer has different purposes and a slightly different slant on telling the same stories, one can easily get lost trying to sort out the chronological order. If you are interested in extra study, there are books, websites and tools as part of Bible software that offer what is called a Harmony of the Gospels, an attempt to do a side-by-side comparison of those items that are found in more than one gospel.
What does it mean?
Prayer is a major theme in Luke’s gospel, and this chapter is one of the key passages. While there is nothing wrong with simply repeating the words of what we call The Lord’s Prayer, it is really a template meant to teach us the key elements of any prayer. The scope of this brief devotional does not allow an in-depth analysis of this great prayer, but a key part is the missional aspect, praying for the kingdom and that God’s will in heaven be a reality on earth. This understanding enables us to see that the teaching on importunity and continuance in prayer is not to say that whoever prays longest and loudest gets the answer. Our importunity and insistence in prayer are an effort for us to understand God’s will and pray for that to be realized in the kingdom of God on earth, not simply praying repeatedly for our personal desire until we get it.
How will I respond?
Do my prayers truly reflect a desire to see God’s will and God’s mission realized, or do they reflect more my personal desires? What step can I take right now to align my prayer life more closely to what Jesus teaches here in Luke 11?