Sunday 24 July 2022

Bible Book:

'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!' (v. 13)

Luke 11:1-13 Sunday 24 July 2022

Psalm 138


This passage comes after 72 disciples went ahead of Jesus to alert towns and villages that he was coming to spread the message of God’s kingdom. After their return, Jesus taught that good deeds follow the life of faith (The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37) but also that stopping from busyness to listen has its place in forging ever-stronger faith (Mary and Martha Luke 10:38-42). Jesus' teaching about prayer offers a form of words which seems not to include thanksgiving or praying for others, focussing instead on the person praying and their own growth. Jesus’ priorities seem to be to persist in recognising God, seeking God's purposes, relying on God to provide, being ready to admit fault and to forgive, and to resist the urge to have our own way. If we do this, then good things can be expected.

See Matthew 6:9-13 for a longer variation of the prayer. Jesus’ prayer was used by the Early Church when these gospels were written, though not yet in an agreed form. Some versions of the Bible use a longer variation, but the original is more likely to be the shorter prayer, which has more in common with the language Jesus would have used (Aramaic). Later additions make it conform more to styles which would be acceptable or recognisable to the congregation.

 In verse 13, knowledge is not about understanding facts; it’s about the instinct which acts. It could be expressed as: “If you, having limited goodness in your heart, are capable of giving what is good, how much more is a loving parent of the perfect realm capable of giving even the Holy Spirit – the gift which is itself a source of goodness."


To Ponder:          

  •  Why do you think teaching on prayer comes after the disciples went ahead of Jesus and not before?
  • If the focus for Jesus is on transformation through reliance on God, how and when do thanksgiving and prayer for others become relevant?
  • In your own prayers, how much do you pray for  social justice and how much for personal growth or “receiving the Holy Spirit”? Do you want to make any changes to this balance?


Lord, teach me to pray, not in words alone, but in my heart and soul, and let my prayers be real, so that you alone may work the changes needed in me, and so bring about your kingdom of grace for the world. Thank you.

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