Luke 11-12
(What to Pray For)
October 26th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing."

- Luke 12:22-23

Summary of Chapters

In this set of chapters, Jesus teaches about prayer and describes the coming of the Son of Man through the use of parables and other techniques. This chapter includes some accounts that are only found in Luke. At the beginning of chapter 11, the disciples ask to be taught how to pray, so Jesus outlines a prayer that we now refer to as the Lord’s Prayer:

In a subsequent and related account in this chapter, Luke records that Jesus encouraged persistence in prayer by telling a story of a man persistently asking a friend for a loaf of bread. The friend finally gets out of his cozy bed to loan a loaf of bread, not out of friendship, but because of the first man’s persistence.

The opposition shows up again, accusing Jesus of being a servant of the devil because he can drive out demons. Jesus explains the illogic of that claim and then blesses those who truly understand what he is saying. He encourages the believers to let their light shine and to not allow darkness to enter their souls.

A Pharisee invited him to dinner, but it turns into a debate when the host accuses him of having dirty hands and Jesus accuses them of having wicked hearts. At the end of the meal, the Pharisees became more determined than ever to entrap him at a future date.

In chapter 12, Jesus shows his lack of fear of his opponents as he continues to warn the crowd about the hypocrisy of the yeast of the Pharisees. He then tells the crowd the truth about where they should focus their hearts and minds: Not on riches or on worries about material things but on preparation for the day of the LORD. On that day the world will be divided between the faithful and the wicked and there will be an unavoidable crisis. Jesus explains that much will be expected from those who had heard the word and he warns us to reconcile with our heavenly judge before it's too late:

Reflection and Application

Note the priorities of the prayer that Jesus shares during his instruction recorded in Luke 11: The first part of the prayer is focused on God, as a Father figure, hallowed (holy – set apart). We are instructed to pray that his will be done because the Father knows what is best for us and our world. Next is supplication – but in humble terms, asking only what we need for today. This prayer can be used as a model or prayed exactly as is written here. For more reflection on this prayer we recommend The Lord’s Prayer by Terry Fullam, which gives an in-depth and helpful analysis of this well-known set of verses.

Note that Jesus immediately follows this prayer with a parable about persistence, reminding us to continue to pray for the things of our heart and we will be answered – God will give us what we truly need. This statement begs the following question: What is right to pray for and what might be out of bounds? We can receive some guidance in these chapters on this topic as well, as Jesus tells us not to focus on the riches or worries of this world, but to focus on him and pray that we are prepared for his arrival.

Perhaps the quote from Jesus on letting our light shine was the inspiration for the original author of the Gospel Song, “This Little Light of Mine:”

There are many renditions of this song that can inspire you. One of them comes from an unlikely source: Bruce Springsteen produced a lively and joyous version for the Seeger Sessions tour a few years ago. This is not the type of song that most people expect to hear from the Bard of the Garden State, who is more well-known for songs about rebellion, fast cars, and the human will to overcome heartbreak and disappointment. However, he performs this one with his usual enthusiasm and energy.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What experiences have you had working with yeast?
    2. What did Jesus mean regarding the “yeast of the Pharisees?”
    3. What can you do today to let your light shine?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, please give us this day our daily bread and forgive us as we forgive others.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Luke 13 - 15 (An Open Invitation)

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