The Gospel of Luke: a commentary & meditation 
"Lord, teach us to pray"

Scripture:  Luke 11:1-4

1 He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." 2 And he said to them, "When you pray, say: "Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread; 4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation."

Meditation: Do you pray with joy and confidence? The Jews were noted for their devotion to prayer.  Formal prayer was prescribed for three set times a day.  And the rabbis had a prayer for every occasion. It was also a custom for rabbis to teach their disciples a simple prayer they might use on a regular basis.  Jesus' disciples ask him for such a prayer.  When Jesus taught his disciples to pray he gave them the disciple's prayer, what we call the Our Father or Lord's Prayer. This prayer dares to call God "our Father" and boldly asks for the things we need to live as his sons and daughters.  We can worship and adore the Father because he has caused us to be reborn to his life by adopting us as his children in his only Son. We can approach God our Father with confidence and boldness because Jesus Christ has opened the way to heaven for us through his death and resurrection.  When we ask God for help, he fortunately does not give us what we deserve.  Instead, he responds with grace and mercy.  He is kind and forgiving towards us and he expects us to treat our neighbor the same.  We can pray with expectant faith because our heavenly Father loves us and treats us as his children.  He delights to give us what is good. His love and grace transforms us and makes us like himself.  Through his grace and power we can love and serve one another as Jesus taught -- with grace, mercy, and loving-kindness. Do you treat others as they deserve, or do you treat them as the Lord would with grace and mercy?  Jesus' prayer includes an injunction that we must ask God to forgive us in proportion as we forgive those who have wronged us.  Are you ready to forgive as Jesus forgives?

"Father in heaven, you have given me a mind to know you, a will to serve you, and a heart to love you.  Give me today the grace and strength to embrace your holy will and fill my heart that all my intentions and actions may be pleasing to you.  Help me to be kind and forgiving towards my neighbor as you have been towards me".

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 (c) 1999 Don Schwager