Adult Object Lesson: Luke 11:1-13

medium_4359212372Lord, teach us to pray.

Today’s object is a door or perhaps a knocker. You’ll want to be able to physically knock in some way or other as you teach today’s object lesson.

The subject today is prayer.

Prayer or conversation with God is foundational to faith. Yet so many people feel inadequate when it comes to prayer.

Today’s gospel starts with this inadequacy. “Lord, teach us to pray.”

The disciples plead with Jesus for help in talking to God. There was no door between them and God. They could reach out and touch him. Yet, they felt inadequate.

Jesus gives them a brief example of prayer using the words that have come to be known as the Lord’s Prayer. However, Jesus knows that the problem is not the words but the attitude we have when we stand at the door and knock. He quickly moves on by telling a story.

Knocking on a door, as any salesperson knows, is frightening. You don’t know what might happen or whom you might encounter. You might be turned away—rejected. There is no worse feeling. It’s feels a bit safer when we know who is behind the door.

Jesus knows our fear.

He tells the story about the man who was embarrassed that he was ill-prepared to welcome a guest. The man didn’t let his shortcomings stop him from trying. It may help to remind your learners that in biblical times it was a true embarrassment to be unable to meet the needs of a stranger asking for hospitality. Modern hearers of this word will be tempted to side with the neighbor who was dragged out of bed in the middle of the night.

The man in Jesus’ story was humiliated when he went to a neighbor at the most inopportune time. When the neighbor tried to turn him away, he persisted. He was willing to risk his honor, pride and reputation to knock again and again on the neighbor’s door until his plea was answered. Jesus wants us to have that same need to knock on His door no matter what our state.

Today’s passage ends with a promise from Jesus. It’s still all about knocking on the door.

Have your learners repeat the passage once or twice. Some will know it by memory.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened”

It’s not a bad passage to memorize. It will come in handy when we reach out with all our feelings of inadequacy to knock on God’s door. We don’t know what will happen when the door opens. But we DO know who is waiting to open the door! We knock with God’s permission and promise — and that’s half the battle. He has already helped us. He gave us the words to use. And we need to nurture our faith to be able to receive the answer.

Here is another visual help. Most of us pass this reminder every day in our neighborhoods and perhaps even our own homes. We see it on TV in every manner of home — Christian and non-Christian.

f0208-03It’s a standard door design dating to colonial America—the cross and Bible door. The pattern forms the cross on top and open Bible below. Your adult learners can think of this passage when they see this door—and before they knock on it!

Opening photo credit: JohnnyEnglish via photopin cc