Our passage this morning is from Luke 11 verse 1-13.
Often, when I am at home, I will come home to a new craft project that my wife, Monica, has made. Recently, she purchased an old antique window and stenciled our name with vinyl to make a nice family decoration. She also made a Fourth of July decoration out of a wooden palate that resembled a flag. When I ask how she learned to do the craft, she tells me that see saw it on Pinterest.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Pinterest board that is focused on how to pray? People all throughout history have asked, “How do I pray?”
Do you ask this question? Do you sit some mornings wanting to pray but not knowing what to say or how to even start?
As we look at Luke chapter 11, we see that the disciples had the same question. They asked him to teach them to pray.
If we look at the very first verse of this passage we see the context of the question.
Verse one says;
“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1 ESV)
We see here as we see in many places throughout the Gospels that Jesus was a man of prayer. He often went to be alone to pray. This is a brief lesson to us. When was the last time you were asked how to pray? Is your prayer life such that others see it and want to know where does your strength come from?
The disciples saw Jesus as he prayed and they asked him to “Teach us to pray.”
We see here that the Lord first gives shares with them the Lord’s prayer. An example of what a solid prayer looks like.
He says, verse 2:
 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
 Give us each day our daily bread,
 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4 ESV)
We have heard this prayer many times, and I expect that the disciples had to. But then Jesus gets into the meat of how to pray, and where we will spend the bulk of this message this morning. It is here that Jesus teaches them to Pray Boldly, to Pray Expectantly, and to Pray Knowingly.
But before we dive into these lessons, let us pause for prayer.
Let us pray.
As we read the words of Jesus, we see that he first teaches us to:
Look with me at verses 5-9.
 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,  for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;  and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?  I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.  And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Luke 11:5-9 ESV)
This little question that Jesus asks rings so true to me. “Which of you will tell your friend, I cannot get up and give you anything?” Is there anyone so selfish that the will not at least try to help someone who comes to you in need? We will help, regardless if we want to, because of the boldness, we will try to help. The lesson for us is to pray with this boldness.
Jesus tells us to be bold when we pray. Ask earnestly for our needs to be answered by God himself! Go to the door in the middle of the night and make your requests known.
I read a story recently about President Obama. He saw a television report about students whose “bucket list” included meeting the president. The President emailed his aide to ask him why had he not met the students. The aide told the President, “Someone decided it wasn’t a good idea.” The President replied, “Well, I’m the president and I think it’s a good idea.” (NYTimes)
It takes boldness to have the courage to meet the President of the United States, but these bold students made it known of their request to meet the President.
We have a God who is more significant than the President, than a King, than anyone on Earth and says to us “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Luke 11:9 ESV).”
We must boldly approach the throne of all grace and make our request know to him and he will answer our prayer.
Jesus teaches us to Pray Boldly, but he also teaches to:
Look briefly at verse 10.
 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:10 ESV)
Praying expectantly is the essence of faith. The author of the book of Hebrews says in Hebrews 11:1, that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1 ESV)
So when you hear the statement by Jesus that says “For everyone who asks receives”, the question that comes to mind is; Do you believe him?
Believe him is Faith. Believing that if you ask you will receive; if you seek, you will find; and if you knock it will be opened takes faith!
When we pray expectantly, we exercise our faith in Jesus.
Now, I love to go to McDonald’s. I actually took a walk and found the closest McDonald’s last week! There are times, that my family will be out for the day and stop by the drive thru for supper or lunch. We go up to the intercom, give the teenagers on the other end our order; we have to repeat it several times to get it right; and drive up to the busy window to receive our order. What could go wrong? Well, we pay for our order and receive our bag of food and drive off. We trust the people behind the window! Unfortunately, sometimes when we unpack the bag at home we find that we are missing a box of chicken nuggets or a box of fries.
But, the truth is that oftentimes we put more faith in the workers at McDonald’s than in God. The McDonald’s workers have proven at times that they are human and make honest mistakes, while God has proven that he is perfect and is always faithful.
We drive away from McDonald’s expecting that the food will be right, but again we often come to Jesus with a halfhearted prayer and expect that the prayer will not be answered. We say our prayers, sometimes, just to cover our bases.
Jesus teaches that we are to pray expectantly.
If we want to have a good prayer life, we must come to terms with ourselves that prayer works. We must go into our prayer time with expectations. We must cling to this promise that;
“Everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Luke 11:10 ESV)
We are to Pray Boldly.
We are to Pray Expectantly.
But, Jesus teaches that we also:
Look with me a verse 11-13
 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;  or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13 ESV)
When we pray, we can know that we have a God that loves us. And because he loves us, he has our best interest at heart. Monica and I have a friend through Instagram that recently gave birth to a premature little boy. At the very beginning, when it was very scary, I often saw pictures throughout the day and night of those two young parents holding that baby or sitting next to his bedside. They cherish their new born. As the baby became stronger and a little older, I now see the parents taking care of their precious son and he is the most important person in their world.
As he gets older and asks for fish, will they give him a snake? Or if he asks for an egg, will they give him a scorpion? Certainly not! They will look for ways to give him the best they can provide.
And for you that are parents; you would do the very same thing.
You would give the very best you can to support your children. But, we all know that at some point, we are limited. We are all sinners. We suffer at times from selfishness, anger, and we forget how precious others are to us.
Not so with God.
God is holy. God is perfect. God is eternal. And God loves you.
We can pray knowingly to God, because we know that he is a loving God. He is a God who loves each and every one of us. And when we pray and we bring to hi our needs, we can rest in the fact that he will also give us his best. However, his best is far greater than we could even imagine.
And, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13 ESV)
When you pray; pray boldly, pray expectantly, and pray knowingly.
God loves you and wants to answer your prayer. But, you must believe in him.
Do you believe in him today?
We talked about faith earlier. Do you have that kind of faith in Jesus?
We must believe in the God we are praying to. Do you believe in him today?
Have you received him into your life? If you say you believe in him and have not received him, then you are like the demons. The Bible says “Even the demons believe and shudder!” (James 2:19b, ESV)
But the Bible also says;
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12 ESV)
It is these children of God that Jesus is talking about. It is these children of God that he wants to give good gifts to. If you want to have the blessing of being a child of God, you must receive him.
So how do you receive him?
You receive him, first, by understanding that you are a sinner. All of us are sinners. We have all done things, thought things, and said things that make God unhappy. The Bible calls this sin.
And the punishment for sin is death. Physical death and eternal death, which is separation from God.
And all of us deserve this death and hell.
But God loves you and know that the death must be paid for. So he sent his Son to die on a cross in your place. That cross is the bridge that allows you to walk over to being a child of God.
And you can receive this payment; you can walk across this bridge; if you will only receive Jesus in your life. And you can do that this morning.
After the service there will be several Chaplains walking around who would be happy to tell you more about how to receive Jesus into your life. Do not let this day pass without receiving him.
Jesus teaches us to pray boldly, pray expectantly, and pray knowingly. And as we pray, we will not ask for eggs and get a scorpion; but we will receive his best for us.
Let us pray.
This sermon was preached at Memorial Chapel, Camp Red Cloud Korea on 24JUL16