“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’” (Luke 11:1) What better question could a disciple ask? What better lesson could a biblical counselor receive? Prayer is an act of worship by which we place ourselves in a position to receive our greatest need: the grace of God in Jesus Christ. The beauty of this text is that Jesus is telling us, both biblical counselor and counselee, that as children of God, we can make bold requests of our heavenly Father with confidence that he will meet us in our time of need.
Request Wrapped in Acknowledgment – Luke 11:1-4
First, Jesus responds to his disciples with a model for prayer. “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.” Jesus wanted them to feel the freedom to humbly come before their heavenly Father acknowledging his authority and recognizing his holiness. Furthermore, God’s kingdom had arrived with the coming of their Lord. Therefore, their request should be that their Father’s name and reputation be set apart as his rule and reign advanced in the hearts of man.
Then with their affections lifted heavenward, they should acknowledge dependence on their Father for their greatest needs and ask for his gracious provision. Bread, forgiveness, and protection from future sins represent the disciples’ greatest needs. Not enough food for the week, but a daily request for “daily bread.” Not only initial forgiveness but new mercies each day. Not just forgiveness from the consequences of sin but freedom from the power of indwelling sin.
This is the starting point for both the biblical counselor and the counselee: The Sovereign God is our Father, and all that we need comes from him. We too should wrap our request in such acknowledgment.
Pray Boldly – Luke 11:5-8
Then Jesus uses the parable of a friend and his neighbor to teach his disciples to pray boldly. It is a bold thing for a neighbor to visit his friends’ house at midnight and wake up the entire family with a knock on the door. If the friend will respond to the bold request of his neighbor, how much more will God respond to the disciple’s bold request for what he needs?
What confidence this gives the biblical counselor to boldly ask God for wisdom as we seek to encourage others with the very words of God. And in turn, our counselees should pray with boldness in their time of need. Sounds simple, but in this simplicity comes great hope.
Pray Confidently – Luke 11:9-13
Jesus then encourages the disciples to pray with confidence. “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened.” Jesus is exhorting the disciples to continual, ongoing, daily prayer while promising that God will answer. Prayer is not a blank check request and does not obligate God to grant every request. Jesus had just given his disciples a model prayer of request wrapped in acknowledgment and encouraged them to pray boldly. Now he exhorts them to pray consistently with confidence that their Father will answer and provide for them.
Sometimes we forget that God wants to answer our prayers. After all, it is his will that we be sanctified and that is the goal of biblical counseling. Therefore, we should join our counselees in consistent prayer with confidence that he will do this work.
Consider the Source
Finally, Jesus not only told his disciples to pray boldly and confidently; he makes it possible. The source of our boldness is not found within ourselves. Our level of confidence is not due to anything that we do or say. Our boldness and confidence are by faith in Jesus Christ alone. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)