INSTRUCTIONS: Read the Bible verses related to each devotion. Then follow the actions and prayers for yourself and a nonbeliever at the bottom of the page.
READ Luke 11
Anxiety curled around my chest, and squeezed me until I thought I was going to suffocate.
Then, I took a short quick breath, but the vicious coils of anxiety wouldn’t let air flow into my chest, causing panic-stricken thoughts to race through my mind. What was I going to do with my life? Everything felt pointless. I had zero vision for my life, and I was suffering from major self-worth problems. I was in serious trouble.
I was on the phone with my mother. It was the end of sophomore year, and I had not declared a major, but I had to before my junior year so that I could begin to take the classes that would fully impact my major and the rest of my existence. BUT I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL WAS FOR MY LIFE! My mother, calmly asked me a question, “What has God already told you to do?”
I hesitated, and did not answer. If I did, I would then be accountable. I would then have to face the reality of my decision. In this case I would have to face the reality of my indecision. I was afraid to fail. I sheepishly answered, “I am supposed to be a writer.”
“Honey, then why don’t you do that?” she asked gently but firmly, in the kind of way only a mother could.
“Because”, I wrestled in my mind, and came up with my best excuse, “because my teacher told me I couldn’t do it.”
“Which teacher?” she asked again, not letting me get away with anything.
So, I told her the story of my first writing teacher in college. I told my mom that after I had failed miserably on my first few papers, my teacher pulled me aside to ask me about my work. She explained that my grammar was horrible, and I was in jeopardy of not passing the class. Then she asked me what I was planning on majoring in. I told her writing. She shockingly looked at me and said, “I think you should find another major.”
I further explained how I was distraught, disheartened, and depressed. I went to my guidance counselor’s office and told him it was all over. We came up with another plan, but by the end of sophomore year I had not really made a decision. I ended my story with a sigh. I had made my case to my compassionate mother about why I could not be a writer.
“Son, I understand what she said, but what has God said?” she asked me, not leaving any wiggle room.
“I thought I knew,” I weakly answered, “but now I am not so sure.”
“If God said it, then you have to trust in His will, His perfect will to come to pass. Just trust Him.”
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation. But I remember the fear getting the best of me. I hung up the phone and walked into my guidance counselor’s office and told him, “I guess I will try to go to law school.” So, we worked out a plan to do that. But things don’t always go according to plan.
It wasn’t until 7 years after graduation that I was really struggling with keeping my heart alive before God. I had not gone to law school. Instead I was working a part-time job and working as a campus minister (something I have grown to love). It was in a moment of prayer-arduous, grueling, deep emotional prayer-that I heard the Lord clearly.
“Son, I told you to be a writer, but you believed a lie, and you went and did lots of other things. I love you.” And that was it. It was at that moment that I began to pray, “Help me to become a writer, help me to follow Your will for my life.”
Maybe you have a similar story. Maybe you’re searching for God’s will in your life. So, let's grow more in prayer. Let’s get closer to His heart, and find His will not just for your life, but for His Kingdom come. In Luke 11:1, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray. Matthew writes down Jesus’s response, which can be found in:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,”
There are three phrases that I want us to look at. First, He is our Father. When we are praying, it is important to know that you are talking to the Father that loves you, sent His only Son to die that you might live, and also, longs to be with you forever. Second, we need to pray for the kingdom of God to come and His will to be done. We don’t pray for an earthly kingdom; instead we pray for the Father to set Jesus on the Throne as King of Jerusalem and the nations of the Earth. We pray His Kingdom come. And we pray daily for His will to be done. We want His will to be done. But here is the tricky part: how do you know His will?
The answer is simple. His will is found in the Scriptures, so we must keep searching for Truth until things become clear. Also, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, so we must persist in asking for the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s will. And we must keep praying for His will to be done. So today, let’s pray through “Our Father,” but remembering simply to pray for His will to be done. We don’t always have to know what His will is when we pray for His will to be done. You should daily pray the Lord’s prayer so you divinely align with the Father heart of God’s will.
The next truth that we can learn is found in Luke 11:5-8.
It is here that Jesus teaches us another important component of prayer—persistence. Jesus highlights where a neighbor is asking for bread at midnight. No one wants to get up at midnight to do anything. People want to sleep. The neighbor knocked on the door until it was opened. Jesus relates that a person will not get up just because they are neighbors, instead the person will get up because of their persistence.
We must pray the same way. How so? We have to be the persistent neighbor, knocking on God’s door asking for bread (Jesus is the bread from heaven). We have to keep praying until Jesus answers our prayers. Just as the neighbor answers the door because of persistence, Jesus said that we must keep persisting in prayer until He gives us an answer. That answer might not always be what we want to hear, but Jesus warns us to not be offended, and just keep persisting until His answer is made known. Today, keep persisting in praying for God’s will to be done and pray that until that prayer is answered, in His time and in His way.
The last very important point in prayer can be found in Luke 11:9-13.
We are supposed to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. This means we need to be persistent. But persistent in what? Jesus ends this parable by saying, to be persistent in asking for the Holy Spirit. Specifically, He says, “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!” (Luke 11:13) Jesus is declaring that we must also be persistent in asking for the Holy Spirit to come into each and every situation.
In the book of Jonah, the misguided and merciless prophet, was given the word of the Lord, but he did not follow it. He wrongly assumed that God should do things another way. He did not pray God’s will be done. Instead, he tried to run from God and wrongly pursued his own will. He did not persist in prayer until God answered. And he did not keep asking, seeking, and knocking until the power of the Holy Spirit came with transforming power.
ACTION4U: Ask God the Father to teach you to pray. Take one situation in your life (maybe an issue that seems very hard) and ask God these three questions:
1. Do I really know Your will in this situation?
2. Have I persisted in prayer until You answered?
3. Did I ask, seek, and knock until the Holy Spirit answered with power?
PRAYER4U: I know you did this yesterday, but do it again, because this prayer will never get old. This time pray to God and slow down. Intentionally say each word directly to God (He cares and is listening). Pray the Lord’s prayer for yourself and put in you own name.
“Our Father in heaven hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come. Your will be done [in my life] as it is in heaven. Give [me] this day [my] daily bread. And forgive [me] our debts, As [I] forgive [my] debtors. And do not lead [me] into temptation, But deliver [me] from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”
ACTION4ONE: Today, it’s time to go a little further in sharing the gospel. Ask them if you can meet with them. (This is only to hear their story and not fix them with Bible verses.) So if possible see if they have some time to get a cup of coffee, go on a lunch break together, or simply just take a walk together. But today, see if you can ask them just to hang out. Have them set the date and try to make time. Remember you are just going to ask them to tell you their story.
PRAYER4ONE: Again, pray this prayer from them. Pray the Lord’s Prayer and put in their name.
“Our Father in heaven hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come. Your will be done [in _____ life] as it is in heaven. Give [_____] this day [their] daily bread. And forgive [_____] [their] debts, As [_____] forgive [their] debtors. And do not lead [_____] into temptation, But deliver [them] from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
INSTRUCTIONS (WHEN YOU ACTUALLY TALK TO THEM): Do not interrupt them, instead let them tell who they are, where they are from, why they believe what they believe. This is for you to learn about them so you can have compassion and understanding.
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