Luke 11:1-13 (NRSV)
Chapter 11He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." Verse 2He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Verse 3Give us each day our daily bread. Verse 4And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial." Verse 5And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; Verse 6for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' Verse 7And he answers from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' Verse 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. Verse 9"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. Verse 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Verse 11Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Verse 12Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? Verse 13If 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!"
The word “father” can bring various images to mind, depending in part upon one’s experience of fatherhood. In today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke, Jesus gives new meaning to the nature of fatherhood and a new understanding of God in his teaching about prayer. A father loves his children, cares for them, and assures that their needs are met. Even more than the best of human fathers, God loves us, forgives us, provides for us, and encourages us to call upon him for any need.
Jesus’ teaching about prayer is truly good news for us and leads us to appreciate and trust the riches of our life with God. May we begin and end each day confidently praying, “Our father…”
Gracious God, we rejoice that we may call you our father and that you hear even our most humble needs and cares. Lead us in ways to share your love with all your children, so that all may know you as their loving father. In Christ we pray. Amen.