LESSON 6 - PRAYER POWER (PARABLES SERIES: LUKE 11 &
Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All Scripture references
are to the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are
found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses
INTRODUCTION: This week we learn about prayer and how God reacts to
our requests for help through the study of parables that teach us
about prayer. Let's dig in!
I. PRAYER EXAMPLE
A. Open your Bibles with me to Luke 11:1. Read.
1. One of Jesus' disciples, seeing Jesus praying, wanted
to learn how to pray. The disciples were adults. Why
would they ask to learn to pray? (The disciple felt a
need for improvement.)
2. Do you feel a need for improvement in the area of
prayer? (This is an area where I feel the most need "for
B. Read Luke 11:2-4. (Might make brief comment about NIV
"missing text," "Textus Receptus" and how in 20th century
discovered manuscripts from the second century AD, including
one on this very text --Papyrus Bodmer XIV-XV. Note also
expanded version in Matthew 6:9-13.)
1. What is the first impression you have of this prayer?
(It is short!)
a. Since this is an example, does it mean that all
prayers should be short? (Notice the reference in
v.1 to John teaching his disciples a prayer.
Barclay says that it was the custom of a Rabbi to
teach his followers a simple prayer that could be
used often. W. Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, p.
2. The very first word of the prayer is "Father." What
significance do you see in that? (I love it. The very
first impulse in prayer, the very first attitude, is that
we are coming to someone who is our father and wants to
be called our father.)
3. We have three main points to this prayer. How would
you describe them?
a. First, acknowledgement and praise to God.
(1) What point is being made in the phrase,
"your kingdom come?" What does that say about
things now? (Things are not yet right. We are
in a battle zone where our King has not yet
swept the field of combat.)
b. Second, physical needs.
(1) Why not just say, "give us sufficient
bread?" Doesn't "each day our daily bread"
seem redundant (for a very short prayer!) and
needlessly detailed? (Have you seen the bumper
sticker, "One day at a time?" I do not care
for it or identify with it because I am a
planner. Does that bumper sticker reflect some
truth from our sample prayer? (Yes! Jesus is
saying, when it comes to physical needs,
depend on God and not on "the plan." Our
daily dependence on God IS THE PLAN!)
c. Third, spiritual needs.
(1) Jesus refers to both sins we have committed
and future temptation. Why not say "forgive me
for the sins I committed and help me not to do
it again? Why talk about "temptation?"
Temptation is not sin, is it? (Jesus is
looking to past sins and the future. But
future problems are stated in terms of
temptation. If you stay away from temptation
you stay away from sin.)
4. Do you think this order is important? Did Jesus intend
to give us an example in which we pray for our physical
needs first? (This is remarkable, but I cannot believe
that this order is inadvertent. God knew we would be
concerned about out physical needs and He says it is "OK"
to bring them up before spiritual needs.))
II. A FRIEND IN NEED IS A PAIN IN THE NECK?
A. Jesus goes beyond the mere recitation of a "sample" prayer
for His disciples. He tells them stories that further answer
the request, "teach us to pray." Read Luke 11:5-8.
1. In simple terms, what is at stake in this story for
the guy who is making the request? If he is denied, what
is the downside? (Pride and late night hunger.)
a. What was Jesus' first miracle? (John 2:1-11: Cana
wedding, water to wine.)
(1) What was at stake in the Cana wedding
request? (Pride and thirst.)
b. Is this just coincidence? (I think Jesus is
making clear that He wants to hear about our
concerns even if they are not critical needs.)
2. What reasons does the rudely awakened man give for not
handing over his bread? (The door is locked and we are in
a. Does that sound like a real excuse to you?
b. How about the request? Does that seem reasonable?
Why are visitors showing up at midnight? Why
wouldn't they call first? (Alex Bell was yet to be
born. The visitors were not setting the "cruise
control" on the chariot so they could judge exactly
when they would arrive.)
c. Now that we have considered the times, how many
rooms do you think the rudely awakened man had in
his home? (Wenham suggests a "small, dark, one-room
house" with the animals in the front, and the
family sleeping on mats "perhaps under one
covering" in the back. The door is crudely barred
during the night. "It was a considerable nuisance
to be asked to get up and find some bread." Wenham,
Parables of Jesus, p. 180)
3. Does friendship win out? Does the rudely awakened man
get the bread because, after all, it is his friend who is
asking? (No! v.8)
a. So why does he get the bread?
b. What does it mean that he does it because of the
friend's "boldness" (importunity -KJV)? (I think it
means that if the rudely awakened fellow were to
look at this logically, he would decide that the
friendship did not merit his getting himself out of
bed. Instead, the fact that this guy was willing
to wake him up at midnight and ask for bread caused
him to give him some.)
B. Read Luke 11:9-13.
1. Does the story of the rudely awakened fellow
illustrate how God treats our prayer requests? If not,
why did Jesus tell this particular story? (v.13 tells us
the story of the friend and the father are in CONTRAST
with these stories. The rudely awakened fellow gave his
friend bread because the friend was an obnoxious pest.
When you have a "father/son" relationship (as Jesus
asserts in v.1) then physical assistance is given out of
love and the nature of the gift reflects this love.)
2. If this is true (that we have a Father/son"
relationship), then why do we have to ask? We give lots
of things to our children even though they do not ask.
(The gospel is a "team effort." We show that we depend
upon God by asking, and He rewards our faith by
3. Both the story of the friend and the illustration of
the father talk about food being given. This accords
with the "sample" prayer "give us our bread." Why does
Jesus wrap this up with (v. 13) "how much more shall your
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask?"
Isn't this the ultimate "mixed metaphor?" (Jesus is
saying that God is concerned about our physical needs,
but what He really wants to give us is Himself. The best
gift is His presence and comfort.)
III. HERE COMES THE JUDGE
A. Read Luke 18:1-2. What an interesting description for this
judge: he feared neither God nor man.
1. Do you want your judge to fear man? Is this good or
bad that he does not fear man? (I don't want my judge to
fear man when I am arguing an unpopular cause. I want a
judge to make decisions based on the law and not upon
a. Would a judge who did not fear man worry about
the justice of his decisions? (No. He would not be
worrying about his "reputation" in the community.)
2. What if your judge does not fear God? Is that good or
bad. (I want a judge who fears God. If he does not "fear
God," then who knows the basis for his (or her) decision:
laziness, dishonesty, etc.)
3. If this judge does not fear man or God, knowing what
you do about human nature, what do you think formed the
basis for the decisions of this judge? (Greed! He would
think only about himself, so he would look for the
"angle" to the case that benefitted him.)
4. In Indiana state courts they have this rather unique
system whereby you get one automatic opportunity to
reject the judge assigned to your case. I would reject
B. Read Luke 18:3. The plaintiff in our case is a widow. What
kind of social standing and political influence would be
possessed by a widow? (Widows and orphans are traditionally
the most powerless and needy individuals in society.)
1. In a sense, The fact that this judge did not fear man
might be good when you are a widow. What about the fact
the judge did not fear God? (He was open to be bribed.)
2. What was the widow's litigation strategy? (Pestering!)
C. Let's see if the widow's strategy pays off. Read Luke 18:4-
5. Did the strategy work at first? (No. "For some time [the
1. Why did he refuse? (We do not know for sure, but he
did not want to rule in her favor. He preferred her
adversary for whatever reason.)
D. Ultimately, the strategy does work. Why? (The judge acted
in his own self-interest. He was tired of being bothered.)
E. Do you like this picture of justice?
1. On what is justice based? (Not on the merits of the
2. Is justice done? (We have no idea.)
3. The widow says, "grant me justice" (v.3), and the
judge says "I will see she gets justice." (v.5) Doesn't
this show justice was done? (Unless human nature has
changed in 2000 years, every litigant thinks his cause is
just, otherwise they would not be in court.)
F. Read vv. 6-8. Jesus says, "Listen to what the judge says."
What does the judge say here? (If you bother me enough, I will
grant your wish.)
1. Whoa! Is this a principle of life that we should
adopt? Do you kids badger you for stuff? What if your
decisions were based on how long they had badgered you?
I'll bet some of your decisions have been based precisely
on that. Are you proud of those decisions?
G. Does this parable liken God to an unjust judge?
1. If so, do you like the picture? (No. This does not
say God is like an unjust judge, it DIFFERENTIATES God
from the judge. It says, "If a low-life will cave in to
someone who pesters, how much more will God, who cares
about you, answer you.)
2. Does this suggest we should pester God? (No. It
suggests that we do pester Him!)
H. When we looked at the parable of the friend, we noted that
it dealt with our physical needs. What need does the parable
of the unjust judge deal with? (The second coming. God will
not only help us with our physical needs now, but (looking at
v.2 in our "sample prayer") God's kingdom is going to come. He
is going to make things right. He is going to execute justice
for those who call out for justice (Rev. 6:10). Praise God,(to
quote a popular tune), "next time around, there will be no
speculation the King will wear His crown!"
IV. Next week: Parables on humility. Study!