The Gospel of Luke (Prayer)


The prayer life of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke
Reading: Luke 9:28-36
Blanks: praying, glory, listen

Have you heard about lectionary?
A lectionary is a list of scripture readings for Christian worship service.
These readings are organized into three-year cycles.
It is a suggested reading for preachers.
So some preachers preach accordingly.
And they call themselves lectionary preachers.

I am usually a lectionary preacher.
Meaning, I usually preach according to its suggested Gospel reading.
That is why our text has been from the gospel of Luke in these days.
At this time, it is suggesting various consecutive verses from the Gospel of Luke until November.

Since our reading is from the Gospel of Luke, today why don't we to study about the Gospel of Luke so that we may know about this gospel better?
But in this limited time, we cannot cover everything.
So, let’s have a look at how the gospel of Luke explains the prayer life of Jesus.

In this gospel, we found that Jesus prayed a lot.
Why is that?
Why does Luke like to write more about the prayer life of Jesus?

Because I guess as for Luke, prayer life is important.
He learned that prayer is a very important part of Christian life.
So he looked carefully about the prayer life of Jesus.
He wanted to learn how Jesus prayed.
He wanted to pray like Jesus and live like Jesus.

He might have thought that when we pray like Jesus, when the Holy Spirit helps us to pray like Jesus, we may also live in the power of God like Jesus.
We may live a holy life like Jesus.

Since you are a good student of Jesus, you know the gospel of Luke.
But let’s go through one by one in order to think about the prayer of Jesus again: (3:21-22)
Shall we?

When Jesus was baptized, Jesus prayed.
Then, the heaven was opened.
The Holy Spirit came down on him like a dove.

Then God spoke from heaven saying:
“You are my Son.
I love you.
I am so pleased with you.”

This happened when Jesus prayed.

Then, Jesus went into the desert and prayed for forty days.
This was a very different kind of prayer.
For this kind of prayer, he went to desert.
Jesus understood before he started his ministry, he must stand firm spiritually and in faith.
Then after he stood firm in faith spiritually, he started his ministry.

For this kind of prayer, with the Holy Spirit, we may enter into a solitary place to learn to stand firm in faith and learn to have a spiritual clarity.

After starting his ministry, as you know, Jesus still often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (5:16)
This was an important part of his ministry.
Prayer is to be an intentional work for those who want to obey God and do what God wants.
But this prayer is not a lonely work because we experience God there.

Jesus knew that he must pray.
Jesus knew when he had to listen to God.
So sometimes, Jesus prayed alone when his students were around him: (9:18)

Then one day Jesus needed to reorganize his ministry.
He wanted to think with God about that.
So Jesus decided to go to a mountainside and spent the whole night praying. (6: 12)
Then in the morning, he chose twelve students to be the leaders of his movement.
You guess why Jesus prayed all night.
Jesus had a deep meditation about his future ministry.
Jesus was carefully choosing his apostles accordingly.
So it took him about 6 hours.

This kind of prayer is a prayer of discernment.
This kind of prayer is a prayer of listening and thinking.

We know that prayer is a conversation with God.
But for this this kind of prayer, we may need more listening to God.
Prayer is listening.
Prayer is listening to God.

Listening is very important.
When we listen to God, we may hear sometimes God say something like this:
“You don't need to pray about that.
I will take care of it.”
Then we just trust and move on.

The Gospel of Luke explained what might have happened when Jesus prayed alone: (9:28-36)
One time, Jesus invited his three disciples to see this.
At that time, Jesus invited them to a mountain and there Jesus prayed.
Then later, when his students woke up, they saw the face of Jesus shining and Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus.
They were talking about the cross of Jesus.
Jesus knew what God wanted.
Jesus wanted to do what God wanted.

When we pray and read the Bible, sometimes we may also have a spiritual experience so that we may understand what God wants us to do.

When his students learned enough, Jesus sent his students to share God’s peace and heal people in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As they went out to do this ministry, Jesus asked them:
“Pray that God may send out more workers like you to do this ministry of harvesting”: 10:1-24.

Then they went out and experienced God working through them and came back.
Then Jesus prayed for them like this:
“I thank you, God, the Lord of heaven and earth.
You help these people to understand and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.” (10:21)
Jesus gives praise and glory to God as God has done through them what they could not do without God.

Thanksgiving is also important part of his prayer life.
In thanksgiving, we recognize what God has done for us and for our people.

Looking at Jesus praying a lot, his disciples asked: (11:1-13)
“Lord, teach us to pray.”
Then, Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer:
In the Gospel of Luke, the Lord’s Prayer are short like this:
“Our Father in heaven, holy is your name.
Your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation.”

Jesus lived in a world where people liked to do something.
There were many actions and activities.
But when they want to do something for God, Jesus might teach them to pray like this.
In his prayer, Jesus gives God a chance to do more in their midst.
Jesus wants God to be the main actor.
Jesus wants God to be the mover and shaker.

Jesus wants more of God.
Jesus is asking people let God do what God wants.
We are invited to join this prayer.
So we pray like this to see what God does.

Then Jesus encouraged his students like this: Luke 11:9
It will be given to you.
You will find.
The door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives.
The one who seeks finds.
To the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
God is good and God wants to give good things to you.
So, ask God to give you the Holy Spirit!”

When we know God’s will, we may pray like this.
When they know what God wants, Jesus also asked them not to give up.
They need to persist praying for God.
When we know something is God’s will, we persist.
We pray over and over and over.
We pray again and again until God’s will is done.

Concerning this attitude, Jesus told this story of the persistent widow.
You remember this story, right? (18:1-8)
There was a widow persistently asked an unjust judge to give her justice.
The unjust judge couldn't care less of her.
But she would not give up.
So the unjust gave in.

For some prayer list, Jesus is asking his students to pray persistently.
Why is that?
I don’t know.
Maybe when we are praying persistently, we may change and learn.
Or other people may change and learn.
Sometimes prayer is a process of faith.
As we pray, we may mature and see things in a new way.
As we pray over and over, we may experience God.
We may understand God’s will and justice.
So when God seems hesitating to answer right away, we get ready to pray again and again for a long time.
We may prepare to pray for our whole life.
We pray like this, because we trust in God.

Jesus told another story to explain that we need to pray humbly.
The story goes like this:
A pharisee prayed asking God to remember that he was not like other sinners.
Then he looked down on another “sinner” who prayed next to him.

But the sinner, a tax collector prayed humbly seeking God’s mercy.
Then because he prayed humbly, he experienced God’s mercy.

But the Pharisee who looked down on him didn’t receive.
Do you remember this story?
It is telling us that when we receive what we ask for, it is not because we are holy but because God is holy and merciful. (18:9-13)

The Gospel of Luke also said that Jesus prayed for Peter:
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus said: (22: 31)
“Simon, Simon, Satan has tried to separate you guys from me.
But I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail.
When you have turned back, help your brothers and sisters.”

Without this kind of prayer, Peter might have not known what to do.
Without this kind of prayer, Peter might have suffered more and could not have continued to be a student of Jesus.
But through this prayer, Jesus saved Peter so that he could follow his calling in life.

Jesus is still praying for each one of us.
Jesus prays so that we may be strengthened to do God's will.

Right before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed again: 22:39-46
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup from me.
But not my will, but yours be done.”

With this prayer, Jesus was preparing his heart for his last mission.
He prayed to move on with God’s plan.

This prayer was very important.
So an angel came to help him praying so that he would be strengthened.
Jesus prayed so that he might face his trial, having a clear conviction and courage.

Here again Jesus taught us:
Sometimes, prayer is not about making God listen to us.
Prayer is not about letting God know what we decide.
God is not our servant.
We are his servants.
So we need to learn to listen to God.
We are the ones who need to listen to God and obey.
Jesus may ask us to pray so that we may not run away from God's will and from our calling.

During this time, Jesus also asked his students: (22:40, 46)
“Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

After this, since then, I guess, his students remember to pray so that they may be protected from temptation.

Then on the cross Jesus even prayed:
"Father, forgive them.
Because they have no idea of what they are doing."

His prayer is like spiritual breathing.
In this way he became one with God.
As he prayed the mind of God, he became one with God.

Then rising from the dead Jesus prayed for the world.

This is the prayer life of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke.
Jesus prayed and asked people to pray.

Why did Jesus pray like this?
Jesus prayed, because he wanted to be with God.
Jesus prayed because he wanted to live for the living God.
Jesus prayed because he wanted to help people in the power of God.
Jesus prays so that he may live in the infinite power and wisdom of God.

When we pray like Jesus, we may live in his infinite power and wisdom.
We may also serve God in his way.
We may be able to choose and do what God wants.
We may live in the name of Jesus.

So let’s learn to pray.
How can we learn to pray?
We learn to pray by praying.
As we pray, we learn more and more about prayer.
As we pray, we become more sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit guides us to pray and learn to pray.

Through prayer, we learn what God wants to do and what God can do.
Prayer is seeking God's will for our life.
We pray for God so that God's will will be done.

Jesus prays so that God's will be done on earth.
So before we pray, we may need to check our worldview.
So we may need to talk to God about what we see in TV and read from Internet.
We may ask:
“God, what do you think about that?”
In this way, we may discern God’s will.

Even when we pray for our children or our family, I think it is important to pray to know God's will for them.
Then we pray accordingly, so that God’s good will be done.
Then they will be even more happier and feel heavenly joy as God's will is accomplished in their life.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us pray and live like you.
Help us to obey you and live like you.

We pray for all people.
May you keep them safe.
May you help them to stand up for you.
In your name, we pray.