The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 11:1-13

Easter V

1. While Jesus was praying, one of the disciples made a request (vs.1) but vs. 5 says Jesus addressed them, more than one.

2. This is the only instance in the Gospels of a request to Jesus for teaching people. And vs. 1 tells us that the Baptist taught His disciples.

3. The Lord's Prayer was spoken by Jesus one year earlier at Mt. 6:9-13. That was in Galilee. This second time in Lk. 11 occurred very likely in Judea. This is a shorter form of the Lord's Prayer.

4. Jesus begins with the word "Father" (vs. 2) and ends with the same word (vs. 13). Jesus spoke often of His Father all the way from Lk. 2:49 to Lk. 23:43. The NT is full of the word "Father". Only Christians, those who believe in Christ, address God as "Father". Muslims and Jews do not use the word.

5. Only Lutherans, on the basis of the Bible, believe that the Word and the Sacraments are means of grace, ways by which God comes to us. For example Rom. 10:17; I Pet. 1:23: Eph. 5:26; Mt. 26:28. Prayer is not called a means of grace. At Lk. 8:11 Jesus said: "The seed is the Word." He did not say: "The seed is prayer." The means of grace bring us forgiveness of sins and salvation. Prayer is an exercise of faith, a response of the Christian to God. Parents feed their children daily bread. The children respond by speaking to their parents.

6. Because the Lord's Prayer is the model prayer in which Jesus enumerates all our needs, Luther made it one of the chief parts of both the Small and the Large Catechism. Before you preach on Luke 11 read again pp. 17-20 in the Russian Lutheran Catechism. At Lk. 11:2 the better manuscripts of the NT do not include the third petition. Evidently, Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer often but did not always use the same form. Prayer is not rigid and mechanical. In the Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches us what we should pray for. Vss. 5-13 tell us how we are to pray.

7. Vss. 5-8 and 11-13 are examples of what is called "the lesser to the greater" figure of speech. The illustration in vss. 5-8 says that if a mere earthly friend will grant the request of his friend not on the bases only of friendship but also because of the unashamed persistence of the friend, how much more will not the heavenly Father grant the request of one of His children. We know that He is our friend. But we must persist in our prayers as did the friend in need in vs. 5-8. A similar illustration is found at Lk. 18:1-8. Vss. 11-13 are also a "lesser to greater" argument. If sinful earthly parents know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more will not our Holy, Loving, Heavenly Father gives good gifts to His children! Vss. 9-10 look both to vss. 5-8 and to vss.11-13. A child of God keeps on praying to his Father because He confidently believes that his Father will answer his prayer. See Jas. 5:16, Ps. 50:15. Like Jesus at Jn. 11:41-42 he says: "Father I thank you that You heard me. And I know that you always hear Me." And when we are too weak to pray the Holy Spirit prays in us. Rom. 8:26-27. Lk. 11:9-10 do not denote different kinds of prayer but the persistence of the Christians.

8. In vss. 5-8 we have three friends in the illustration: one, the friend in need of bread; second, the friend who came from a journey and caused need; third, the friend to whom the first friend goes for bread. But in application there are only two friends: God and the praying Christian. The word "friend" is used four times. But the friendship was not the reason for which the request was answered. The unashamed persistence of friend number one, vs. 8, caused number three to get out of bed and grant the request. The point of the illustration is the persistent, faithful prayer of a Christian. As said above, Lk. 18:1-8 is very similar.

9. John the Baptist and Jesus taught their disciples the art of prayer. Now we have the recorded Word of God which teaches us. It teaches us to pray without ceasing. I Thess. 5:17. We should pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. Eph. 6:18. If God is for us, who can be against us. Indeed, He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him for us, will also give us all needed good things. Rom. 8:31-32.

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Luke 11:1-13

Easter V

THEME: Lord, Teach Us to Pray


The Gospel and the Sacraments show us what God, in Christ, has done and still does to save us. Prayer is not what God has done for us but it is our response to God's love and mercy in Christ. But prayer is very important. Faith without works is dead. Prayer is the result of our remaining in Christ. Jesus said: "If anyone does not remain in Me, he is cast out as the branch and burned." Jn. 15:6. There's something wrong with a child that does not speak to its parents. The pleas and requests of a child are welcomed by the parents. LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY.

I. He Teaches Us What We Should Pray For.

The Lord's Prayer is found twice in the Bible. Mt. 6:9-13 and Lk. 11:2-4. We should memorize it and use it often. Luther devoted one section of the Catechism to this prayer and explained it well. It dwells on our prayers for our Lord and for ourselves.


God has commanded us to pray. And He has promised to hear us. We sin when we do not trust in Him and pray to Him. "Do not worry about anything but in everything let your requests be known to God."

This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.


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