Sunday, August 11
ASK, SEEK, KNOCK
Ask, seek and knock (Luke 11:9-10). Seems simple enough! So, why don’t I get everything for which I ask, seek and knock? Perhaps, James tells us, “because you ask with wrong motives” (4:3). In our lesson today we want to know that for which we are asking, seeking and knocking.
HOW DID THEY KNOW JESUS WAS PRAYING?
How did the disciples know Jesus was praying? They waited until He was finished to ask Him to teach them how to pray. Did Jesus have a certain body posture or motion He would exhibit when He prayed? Perhaps He assumed the stoic figure with folded hands glowingly staring towards a beam of light like many of our pictures display.
Jesus’ disciples wanted to converse with God like Jesus was doing.
The prayer Jesus gives His disciples, I believe, was not a mantra they were to repeat or a rote script that they were to memorize for times of prayer and devotion. I think Jesus was giving them hooks upon which to hang their personal thoughts, worship, praise and petitions. Prayers center around God, His Holiness, His Sovereignty, His provision, His forgiveness and His protection.
I believe that a clue to how Jesus prayed is found in the illustration He uses to enlighten the disciples about the nature of prayer. Luke translates Jesus words into Greek using a word that only appears once in all of the New Testament: right here. It is a unique word that had a clear meaning in Athens on Mars Hill. The Rock of Shamelessness was a white stone near the edge of the precipice where the accuser would point to the person standing on the “Rock of No Mercy” or “The Stone of Pride”, trying to persuade the court of the accused guilt in murder.*
In the parable Jesus talks about the shamelessly persistent neighbor who is waking his neighbor to insist upon his immediate need for three loaves of bread. Add this illustration to Jesus’ final comment in Luke 11:13 and we now know how to ask for the filling of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives: with shameless persistence. I think this is a description of how Jesus often prayed when He was alone, talking to His Father.
Knowing Christ is not a casual, passive activity. It is a demanding pursuit that requires an aggressive, proactive and unrelenting determination. Jesus uses the expression “shameless persistence”. These are the kinds of prayers that God hears and grants to those who seek the Holy Spirit; not necessarily a healed body, a larger paycheck, a bigger house, or a faster car. Jesus tells us that when we ask for the Holy Spirit with “shameless persistence”, God will give it like a father gives to his children!
*Madvig, D.H. “Areopagus” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Volume 1, Rev. Ed. 1979), pp. 287-289. See also: “ἀναίδεια” Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon.