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Prayer Taught and Encouraged.
C Luke XI. 1–13.
c 1 And it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, that when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples. [Jesus had already taught his disciples how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount. This disciple probably thought that the prayer already taught was too brief to be sufficient, especially as Jesus often prayed so long. It was customary for the rabbis to give their disciples forms of prayer, and the Baptist seems to have followed this practice, though the prayer taught by him appears soon to have been forgotten.] 2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation. [The form given by Matthew is fuller 480than this. See pp. 252–254. The variation of the two prayers is an evidence of the independence of the two Gospels. In the prayer as usually publicly repeated, the word “trespasses” is often used in place of the word “debts.” This is a remnant of Tyndale's translation (a.d. 1526) which has been preserved and handed down in the Episcopal Liturgies. Tyndale renders Matthew as follows: “And forgive us our trespases even as we forgive them which trespas vs.”] 5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight [a most unseasonable hour], and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine is come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him [In the summer Orientals often travel by night to avoid the heat of the day, and the customs of the land then made hospitality so obligatory that the greatest inconvenience and deepest poverty did not excuse one from practicing it. The occasion here described would call for three loaves, that the host and the guest might each have one, and that there might be one in reserve as an evidence of liberality]; 7 and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee? [The man within does not use the word “friend.” His answer is blunt and discouraging. In the house of a laboring man, the family all sleep in one room. The pallets, or thin mattresses, are spread upon the divan, or raised platform, which passes around the room next to the wall. Where there was no divan they were spread upon the floor. For a father to rise and grope about in the dark that he might unbolt the door and find the required bread was indeed no slight trouble. He would be apt to step upon, or otherwise disturb, the sleeping children.] 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will arise and give him as many as he needeth. [Friendship should have prompted the man to supply his friend. It failed, however; yet the bread was given 481to get rid of a noisy beggar, to be rid of whom all the bread in the house would be willingly sacrificed if necessary. If a selfish man can be thus won by importunity, much more can a generous God, whose reluctance is never without reason, and whose ever-present desire is to bless. Idle repetition of prayers is forbidden; but persistence and importunity are encouraged. See Isa. xlii. 6; Gen. xviii. 23–33; Matt. xv. 27, 28.] 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 11 And of which of you that is a father shall his son ask a loaf, and he give him a stone? or a fish, and he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? [The substance of this passage is recorded by Matthew as a portion of the Sermon on the Mount. See pp. 264, 265. Verse 12 is peculiar to Luke, and in verse 13 Matthew has “good things” where Luke has “Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the best of all gifts, being as necessary to the soul as food to the body. The scorpion is an insect somewhat similar to a small lobster. It is two or three inches long, and has a sting at the end of its tail which is about as severe as that of a wasp. The old commentators tell us that the white scorpion, when rolled up, closely resembled an egg.] 482
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