The Life and Teachings
of Jesus
A Restatement of the Gospels

28. Teachings on Prayer (continued)

        11“What father among you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

        1And he told them a story, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2He said: “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man. 3And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, 'Protect me from my adversary.' 4For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself: 'Though I neither fear God nor regard man, 5yet because this widow bothers me I will vindicate her or she will wear me out by her continual coming.'”

        20“If you have faith, you will say to this mountain: 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

        25“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

        6“When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”b
        (Lk. 11:11, 13; 18:1–5; Mt. 17:20; Mk.11:25; Mt. 6:6)

b   Lessons from Jesus' teachings on prayer: Lk. 11:5–10 (preceding page) teaches us that just as persistence will win favors from our fellow man, so will persistence in prayer win favors from God—his answer to our prayers (“ask and it shall be given you”). Lk. 11:11, 13 again assures us that God does answer our prayers. He answers them in accordance with his divine wisdom and Fatherly love for us. Our relation to God is like that of a human child to his earthly father. We should pray as children to a loving heavenly Father. Lk. 18:1–5 again urges us to be persistent in prayer; we "ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Mt. 17:20 emphasizes the importance of praying with faith. Faith adds power to prayer—the greater the faith, the greater the power (“nothing will be impossible to you”). In this verse “mountain” is best understood in the sense of a “mountain of difficulty.” Mk. 11:25 reminds us to pray with a forgiving heart. God's forgiveness may be received only by those who first forgive others. Mt. 6:6 teaches us to pray in private and in secret—in the spirit and in the heart. Jesus rarely prayed out loud or in public, but he did spend much time alone in nature communing with God.

Lk. 11:11  fish, will / fish, instead of a fish, will (RSV)
Lk. 11:13  more shall your (KJV) / more will your (RSV) • good gifts to (KJV) / good things to (RSV)
Lk. 18:1   a story, to / a parable, to (RSV)
Lk. 18:3   Protect me from my (Phi) / Vindicate me against my (RSV)
Mt. 17:20  If / He said to them, "Because of your little faith, For truly I say to you, if (RSV) • faith, you / faith as a grain of mustard seed, you (RSV)
Mt. 6:6   When / But when (RSV)   (144:2–3/1619–20)