“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
There seems to be some striking differences between the Church in the book of Acts and the church today. The impact they were having on their world was tremendous; we read of the sick being healed, the dead being raised, and most importantly, multitudes of people believing in the resurrected Lord, and their lives being transformed. How is it that they, with so little, were able to do so much? We know they did not have the completed Bible, much money, or the technological resources we have today, yet they were turning their world upside down. The secret to their success was the filling of the Holy Spirit. It is clear, what they did not have was overshadowed by what they did have; that is, power from on High!
Here in Luke 11 we are told, the same Holy Spirit that empowered the Apostles is made available to all of us. Jesus said, if we want to be filled with the Spirit all we need to do is ask. However, it is important that we notice that He emphasizes how we are to ask. Sometimes, we ask without really caring about an answer, other times we ask because we feel like we were required to. We do not expect to get what we were asking for, but we have the attitude that it cannot hurt to ask. I want you to notice that Jesus has been telling us to pray with persistence. He said we should pray like the man who wanted something from his friend, so he knocked UNTIL he received it. Jesus said when we pray, we need to ask, seek and knock. The key is persistence. We are exhorted to pray, pray, and keep praying, until we receive from the Lord. And the primary thing to be praying for, is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Do you lack the strength today to live for, and serve Jesus? Are you failing to overcome sin in your personal life, or to be an effective witness of Jesus to your friends and family? What you need is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and you will find that in persistent prayer. Take some time to get alone with God and ask for the Holy Spirit. Start by telling God your need, and your intention for being there, before Him, then begin to worship Him. Let yourself be caught up in how wonderful He is, and the amazing promises He has given us. Focus specifically on the promise of the Holy Spirit, and just keep asking. God will pour out His Spirit upon you, but He does require persistence in prayer.
Questions for Luke 11
- Who are we to address when we pray?
- What is happening in the second phrase of Jesus model prayer?
- What do we learn about prayer in the story of the friend coming at midnight?
- What are the two requirements to receive the blessing of Jesus in verse 28?
- In the section of Jesus comparing signs, He speaks of the city of Nineveh responding to Jonah’s preaching how?
- Who is Jesus referencing as the “greater than Jonah?
- What is the lamp of the body?
- In the “woe” to the Pharisees, Jesus points out that the inward part, the part that no one sees is more important than the outward appearance. Take a moment and let the Lord examine your inward heart. Are there secret things that need to be dealt with? Now respond as the men of Nineveh did in the description of verse 32 (repentance). Ask the Lord to help you never to return to those things again.
- Were the lawyers doing any better than the Pharisees?