Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Jesus’ teachings on prayers (Luke 11:1-13) [Part III]

Finally, I am putting out this last part of the 3-part article on Jesus’ teaching on prayers.

In Luke 11:1, the disciples of Jesus asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. In the next 12 verses, Jesus taught about:

1. Praying for oneself (Luke 11:2-4)
2. Praying for another (Luke 11:5-10)
3. Praying for the Holy Spirit to be given (Luke 11:11-13)

For this third and final part of a 3-part article on this portion of the Scripture, I going to write on the third item covered by Jesus – praying for the Holy Spirit to be given (Luke 11:11-13). You can read Part I here, and Part II here.

Praying for the Holy Spirit to be given (Luke 11:11-13)

11"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:11-13)

What we should understand:

1. Here, Jesus is not talking about the adoption indwelling – the first indwelling but rather the baptism of Holy Spirit (& subsequent infillings)
First, let me say that I believe these verses above are NOT talking about the first time the Holy Spirit is received by a Christian. The first time the Holy Spirit is PUT INTO a Christian BY GOD is at the time of salvation/conversion/born again. To understand this, read my article on “Adoption Indwelling of the Holy Spirit”. 

At salvation, God PUTS the Holy Spirit into you as an act of adoption of your spirit as a son of God. The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an open invitation, and when you accept that invitation, God takes you in, as a son by putting the Holy Spirit in you as a seal (Eph 1:13), you do not need to ask for the seal.

What Jesus is talking about here is the subsequent times of receiving of the Holy Spirit which includes the first baptism of the Holy Spirit and the subsequent infillings and comings upon, of the Holy Spirit. Notice that phrase, “your Father” is used in the last verse, as in “how much more will your Father… give…” It is used here because you are already His son when He adopted you by His Holy Spirit, at salvation. So, you see, Jesus still said that you are to ask for the Holy Spirit even after your adoption.

2. The reservation and fear are not new
I believe the reservation and fear that we experienced, or maybe more correctly, by certain segments of the Christian community concerning the prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit upon people are not new.

They were there during the Pentecostal time – when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 people in the Upper Room, people (God-fearing people) came together in bewilderment (Acts 2:6). They were amazed and perplexed (Acts 2:12). Some even said the people who had the Holy Spirit came upon them, had too much wine (Acts 2:13). Peter, with the Eleven, had to explain to the people that the people were not drunk, it was 9 o’clock in the morning (Acts 2:15).

3. This was Jesus’ assurance, accept it
Today, many, especially in the more “traditional” denominations are still skeptical about this prayer for the Holy Spirit to be given to individual Christians.

Jesus knew the concerns of the people, that was why He said the things He said above. I have a close one who is in lay leadership position of a more traditional church. When I talked with him on this matter of baptism of the Holy Spirit, I could sense that he was concerned that when one asked for this (the Holy Spirit), one might get something else from “someone” else.  He also expressed that if God wanted to give it, He would have given it; that he did not have it meant God did not want to give it to him.

I believe the former is a stronger reason than the latter because when I said I could pray with him to receive it, he would not agree to be prayed for. It looks like for some people Jesus’ assurance above is still not good enough (maybe not yet good enough). Do not get me wrong, the one I referred to, is a faithful Christian who has been serving in his church for many years despite holding down a full-time job. I am praying that he will experience this dimension of the faith.

4. Know that you are not praying any differently, and it is the same God
Please understand that when you ask the Holy Spirit be given to you, you are asking Father God (unless you are praying to “someone” or something else!) for it. You do not need to worry that someone else gives you something else. If you think that can happen, then let me ask you, what about all the other occasions when you prayed for some other things or issues, could they not then also come from someone else or what you received was an evil thing, in disguise?

One more thing, Jesus says, “Ask”, so you just ask if you want it. Do not say, “If I do not have it means God does not want me to have it”. How did one get converted – receive the promise of eternal life, by doing nothing? Of course not, you believed in your heart and confessed with your mouth in order to accept Jesus as the Lord and Saviour, you do something – you ask God to come into your life.

For those not yet baptized in the Holy Spirit, think about it, when Jesus took the trouble to cover this in his teachings on prayers, it must be that important. To expound on the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the works, gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit, separate articles are necessary – look out for them.

Jesus, in Luke 11:2-13, did not just teach on prayers, He taught about how to pray for oneself, pray for another and lastly He did not omit to address the reservation and fear about praying for the subsequent times of receiving of the Holy Spirit.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions – it is WRONG to say that unless you are baptized in the Holy Spirit, you do not have the Holy Spirit in you, yet it is important for us to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, and to embrace fully the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

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