11 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread.
4 ‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
Luke gives us an abbreviated form of the Lord’s prayer. It begins with the acknowledgement of a relationship between the petitioner and the one being petitioned. The relationship is that of a son to his father.
Jesus wanted His disciple to not see God as a distant being uninterested in their lives, but as a Father, who while not seemingly present, would want to hear from His children.
There is a prayer that God would build His kingdom here on Earth. That the Kingdom of God would be made manifest to the world. They are, in essence, petitioning for the well-being and faithfulness of the Church.
There is a petition to provide for our needs, whatever they may be.
And a petition to pardon our transgressions that is dependent upon our own willingness to pardon others.
And a prayer to avoid and resist future temptations to evil.
One of the other interesting things to me is that this prayer is corporate, not singular. Give us, forgive us, we ourselves, indebted to us, lead us. Even if the disciple prays this on his own, his thoughts always extend to his fellow disciples, praying not just for his own personal needs and salvation, but for those of his brothers.
5 Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11 Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Jesus gives some additional insight into prayer, the first being based on a story of a man who is asleep. In those days, it was common for houses to have one room, in which everyone slept, ate, cooked, and lived. So here is a man, at midnight, asleep in his bedroll or mat. His wife and kids are sleeping in the same room. And his neighbor is at his door knocking and calling to him. He wants bread. He tells the neighbor to go away. If he gets up to get bread, he’s going to wake everyone in the house.
But the neighbor keeps knocking and asking for three loaves of bread, so eventually, just to shut him up, the man is going to get up and give him what he wants.
So Jesus relates this parable to prayer. He encourages the disciples to ask, seek (actively search), and knock (mirroring the story, it’s a picture of persistence and not giving up.)
He finishes with a comparison of prayer to that of fathers and sons again. A caring father wouldn’t give his son a poisonous snake if the boy asked for fish. But I think that this also relates to the former point to. I don’t know about my fellow parents out there, but when my son asks for something, he never asks just once. He asks me continually until I outright tell him “no, and don’t ask again” or until I give him what he wants. One of the innocent things about childhood is that you know what you want and have zero qualms about asking for it to the point of wearing out your parent’s patience.
So the lesson is to keep praying, keep asking, keep seeking.
Does it mean you’ll always get what you want? No. My boy doesn’t get everything he wants. But he gets everything he needs. It’s up to me as his dad to differentiate the two. But the practice of communication is important, because it lets him express his feelings, thoughts, desires, and emotions, and I can then effectively respond. Now, God doesn’t need to hear what we’re thinking. But it’s a good exercise for us to spend time alone, examining our minds and articulating our emotions, desires, thoughts, and feelings.