February 6 – Compassion – From a friend in need to a Father who cares

Read Luke 11:1-13

The disciples had observed something in Jesus that they wanted to experience.  They were aware of something John had done with his disciples that they wanted Jesus to do with them.  They wanted to learn to pray, and they wanted Jesus to teach them.

Who could be a better teacher?  Jesus had prayed early in the morning and in the late hours of the night.  They had heard Him pray publicly and knew full well that He prayed privately.  With prayers comprised of simple phrases, they had seen the Father respond by calming storms and healing diseases.  His prayer life was one to be envied.

So the master gave His followers a model prayer.  It is a sample that points us to express the Father’s greatness and our commitment to His plan and priorities.  It is a prayer example that communicates our dependence upon Him for sustenance.   It expresses our need for His forgiveness from sin and His strength to stand against the temptation that leads to it.  Don’t miss the heart of those words.  Don’t mindlessly cite them as if their mere utterance unleashes some kind of mystical force.

And, having been invited to teach about prayer, Jesus took advantage of the opportunity by using parables.  If we compare our vertical requests of the Father with horizontal requests of others we know, we can learn much.  To a friend’s middle of the night request, we would likely respond . . . if for no other reason than their “shameless audacity” (v. 8).  Won’t the God of heaven, who neither slumbers nor sleeps and who cares infinitely for us, respond to our needs.

Or take a human father whose loving care for his children knows virtually no other parallel.  Certainly, this father has the welfare of his children in mind.  Even though he is a sinful man, he looks for every opportunity to say “yes” to the requests of his children.  (And even his “no” stems from that same loving care.)  How much more does our heavenly Father joyously give us good gifts.  And arguably the greatest gift of them all is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of His children.

Your Father gives good gifts to those who ask!

Steve Kern

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