Introduction: How is your prayer life? Could it use an infusion of
energy? Since God already knows about your needs, maybe you don’t
need that much energy. Indeed, why should you have to repeat what God
already knows? This week we learn some exciting things about prayer,
the Holy Spirit, and boldly asking. Let’s plunge into our study of
the Bible!

  1. Lord’s Prayer

    1. Read Luke 11:1. How would you answer that question? Would
      you say, “Fold your hands, close your eyes” and give other
      “form” answers? What do you think this disciple was really

      1. Do you need help with your prayers?

      2. I’m going to guess that your prayers are pretty much
        the same each time. Your mind is not be as active as
        it should be, because you are repeating the same
        thing. Is that true?

    2. Read Luke 11:2-4. If repeating the same prayer items is a
      problem, is this the solution?

      1. Read Matthew 6:7-8. This introduces the Matthew
        version of the Lord’s prayer. Against what are we
        warned? (Babbling!)

        1. What does that suggest about Jesus’ model
          prayer? (That mindlessly repeating it is not
          the goal!)

    3. With the idea that mindless repetition is to be avoided,
      let’s look at Jesus’ suggested prayer in some detail. Read
      Luke 11:2. If this is an outline, not a script to be
      memorized, how should every prayer begin? (Praising God!)

    4. Re-read Luke 11:2. What comes next? (A request for God’s
      kingdom to come.)

      1. Is this a prayer for Jesus’ Second Coming? (Yes.)

      2. Read Matthew 6:10. How does this further explain
        Jesus’ kingdom? (We should not read Luke 11:2
        narrowly to mean only the Second Coming. This is a
        prayer for God’s Kingdom to come here and now.)

        1. What role do you have in that? (Each day we
          have a part in helping the Kingdom of God come
          to those who we meet.)

        2. Do you want God’s will to be done in your life?
          (The Kingdom of Heaven starts now, daily, with
          you and me!)

    5. Read Luke 11:3. What is the subject here? (Your needs!
      What do you want God to do for you.)

    6. Read Luke 11:4. When you structure your own prayers, what
      do you discuss first? (I always want to rush to ask
      forgiveness of my sins. My idea is to get the slate
      cleaned with a Holy God before we get into other

      1. Why does Jesus tell us to pray about our needs before
        we ask forgiveness for our sins? (It says something
        about God’s priorities. He loves us, He wants to help
        us, and that comes before dealing with our sin

        1. Is there a lesson here for our dealings with
          fellow humans?

      2. Is sin forgiveness conditional? (Read Matthew 6:14-15. This is Matthew’s record of Jesus’ conversation
        regarding how we should pray. This makes clear that
        forgiving others is very serious stuff. We need to
        have a forgiving attitude, or God will not forgive
        us. What an important and dreadful warning.)

    7. Re-read the last part of Luke 11:4. Does God lead us into

      1. Read James 1:13. What does James say on the subject?

        1. When we studied the book of James, his
          statements sometimes gave me heartburn. James
          seemed to write things that conflicted with
          Paul, and so we would dig deeper to try to
          understand. Should we try to look deeper here,
          or is the obvious meaning right?

        2. Read the balance of what James says: James
          1:14-15. Who does James say tempts us? (We are
          tempted by our own evil desires.)

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 7:5. Who does Paul say tempts us?
        (Satan. But, Paul suggests this is a joint effort
        with us because of our lack of self-control. See also
        Matthew 4:3.)

      3. Read Matthew 6:13. What additional light does
        Matthew’s record give us? (I’m with James in thinking
        that God never tempts us. Considering the Matthew
        account, my best understanding of this is that Jesus
        prays that God will help us to avoid temptation.)

  2. The Sleeping Friend

    1. Read Luke 11:5-6. Explain the factual situation? (Three
      friends. One has a home, one has bread, and one is
      traveling to visit the one with the home and no bread.)

    2. Read Luke 11:7-8. Is friendship powerful enough to get you
      bread? (No. Boldness at midnight gets you bread.)

    3. Would you agree that this is an odd story? Tell me why you
      think it follows immediately after Jesus explains how we
      should pray?

      1. Will God answer bold prayers that He would not
        otherwise answer based on friendship and love? (That
        radical conclusion seems unescapable.)

    4. Read Luke 11:9-10. Consider what we have studied so far in
      Luke 11. What is Jesus teaching us? (Jesus teaches us that
      the most important part of answered prayer is boldly
      asking! I’m astonished!)

    5. Re-read Matthew 6:7-8. If God knows what we need, and we
      are not to babble (a point we looked at earlier), what
      else is Jesus teaching us in His point about asking? (We
      don’t have to explain the problem to God. We don’t have to
      keep repeating the same request. (But, see Luke 18:1-8.)
      However, we do have to ask!)

      1. Are you shy about “boldly” praying for something? (We
        need to be aggressive in asking God! We need to be
        bold! This is God’s instruction to us! This is not

    6. Read Luke 11:11-13. Did anyone suggest that God would give
      us something that might hurt or kill us? (There is nothing
      like that in the text so far.)

      1. If Jesus is teaching us that “bold” prayers are the
        key – that if we want something, we need just ask,
        what would worry you? (A prudent person would be
        concerned about asking for and receiving something
        that would be harmful. Now we understand the sense of
        this. God says, “Boldly ask and I’ll give it to you –
        but I’m not going to give you something that will
        seriously harm you.)

  3. Holy Spirit

    1. Re-read Luke 11:13. Is this anti-climatic? Is this a let-down? After all the discussion about boldly asking for
      things, it turns out that we are not getting a new
      Mercedes, but rather the Holy Spirit?

      1. What have you read about the power of the Holy Spirit
        to do great things?

      2. Read Acts 2:1-4 and Acts 2:41. Is this a bold result?

      3. Read Acts 5:15-16. Is this a bold result?

      4. Read Acts 4:31. Is this a bold result?

      5. Read Acts 9:40-41. Is this a bold result?

      6. Read Acts 4:32. Is this a bold result?

    2. How do you understand what Jesus has said so far? If we
      ask boldly, will God give us power through the Holy Spirit
      to perform miracles, convert people, help us understand
      God’s will and bring harmony to the Church? (Yes!)

      1. If we fail to ask, will God give these things to us
        even though He knows we need them? (We must ask. The
        parable of the friend tells us that without asking we
        will not receive.)

    3. Friend, do you see the immense possibilities laid before
      you? God offers us great things, and He promises He will
      not give us something that will be bad for us. Will you
      boldly ask God for great things, through the power of the
      Holy Spirit, to advance the Kingdom of God?

  4. Next week: The Mission of Jesus.