Jesus often taught off the cuff as people asked questions or made comments. We get several examples of that here in Luke 11. Some of them may be familiar to us.
Father in Heaven,
Thank you for revealing yourself to us even though we are not the great, mighty or wise of this world. If the last will be first, and so on, then we are happy to take the lower place now if it means that we get to know you.
As Jesus tells us, the harvest is large and the laborers are few. We pray earnestly that you would send laborers into your harvest.
Like the seventy-two, we can see that all of us can play a part in the task of mission. Help us to receive you sincerely knowing that we also need to be ready to be sent.
And then help us to be ready to serve our neighbor in need, no matter who that neighbor is.
Finally, make us the kind of people who will listen to and learn from Jesus. Even as we serve, we never want our work to somehow stand in the way of our relationship with him.
Dear heavenly Father,
We believe that Jesus is the Christ, your Son in whom you are well pleased, the Holy One of God. We can see that he exercises authority over nature and the spirit world. We understand that he exercises divine authority because he is God – such as declaring us forgiven of our sins. He has the right to demand our complete loyalty and trust for the same reason. He is God.
We accept that following Jesus means we need to be open to being sent out in various ways to serve him. It means we will have to trust him when that service goes beyond our abilities.
Please help us to see him as fully God as well as one of us, and to see ourselves as no better than others. Please make us willing to give him our complete loyalty and devotion regardless of the sacrifice that requires.
22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, 23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. 24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
That must have been some storm, to strike that kind of fear into a group of disciples, several of whom previously made their living by fishing on that same lake. After years of experience you might think they had seen it all. Maybe they hadn’t.
We can find ourselves in situations where experience is little help. In fact, maybe experience only tells us that all is surely lost. The disciples found themselves exactly there on this day. We may feel like that is where we are today.
And it may seem like Jesus is asleep. Where is God when you need him? Where is that Savior when our resources and abilities come to an end?
Jesus responded to their cries. He calmed the storm. His words, however, were not exactly reassuring. He didn’t say, “There, there, it’ll all be all right.” It was more along the lines of a rebuke, asking, “Where is your faith?”
Their voyage started with Jesus saying, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” He said it – and Jesus knows what he is talking about.
It is okay and even required that we pray. Sometimes God just doesn’t act without our prayers. But we need not panic. We can pray with faith. We can pray confidently that God will meet our need. We can wake Jesus up, but perhaps not with the same level or kind of fear the disciples showed on that night in the boat during the storm.
Dear Father in heaven,
We come before you in humility knowing that in ourselves there is nothing that would make us worthy to have you listen to our prayers. We truly have nothing to offer but our faith in Christ. We know that he came to proclaim forgiveness to sinners like ourselves, so we ask you to cleanse us of our sins.
We ask you to make us faithful intercessors, much like the centurion, with respect to those we love. Please hear the prayers that we offer up for others.
Help us to remain faithful in the midst of our own trials, even as John had to remain faithful in prison.
And as we recognize how great your forgiveness has been toward us, make us people who would show you great love.
Dear heavenly Father,
Help us to truly follow Jesus by renouncing all condemning, unloving and unforgiving attitudes that might still linger in us, even if we have held them for years. And let us turn all of that into positive action, learning to love our enemies, doing good to those who treat us badly. Teach us to pray for all those who oppose us, so that they might come to know your mercy even as we have.
Teach us to truly treat others just as we ourselves would wish to be treated.
May our lives be full of good works, all consistent with the teaching of Christ, and may the foundation of our spiritual house be built on the rock, so that it will stand when the inevitable storms of life pound against it.
Father in Heaven,
Thank you for all that we can learn from Jesus and the way he carried out his ministry.
Thank you that he showed us how to defeat the devil by only being filled with the Spirit and filled with your Word. Please fill us with your Spirit this day. Help us further to be students of the Scriptures. We want to be able to use the Bible rightly whenever we face the many temptations that we do.
Help us also to have discernment to know the difference between the truth, which comes from you, and the lies that our enemy so craftily tells us.
Teach us to pray about every need, not least the many sicknesses that we face in this life.
And finally, help us to seek you first, so that we might constantly grow in our faith, and help us to set our priorities in accordance with your will.