In Luke 11, when Jesus finished praying, one of His disciples asked, “Teach us to pray.” Even His example in prayer accomplished something. It moved those disciples to want to learn more. I know the prayers of my parents did much for me. The same is true with my companions. One time it was going to be a busy day and therefore I did not spend much time in prayer, but rather left the bedroom and got busy with the day, but 15 minutes later I returned to the bedroom, and found my companion still on his knees! It was a rebuke to me!
One lady, in giving her testimony, said, “I find in the morning that if I pray first, there is always time to work afterwards, but if I work first, there is seldom time to pray!” Jesus began with, “Our Father which art in heaven.” We can hardly take it in that our Father is the Creator of heaven and earth! He is the greatest power and the highest in the universe, and one who is so magnificent and beautiful! The one we have come to know as our Father, who is kind and loving and understanding! He has the power, and can use this power to meet the needs of His people, and defend them against their cruel enemy.
In John 14, Jesus encouraged His disciples to ask in His name. If Jesus had not come, we would not be able to approach God. So we want to be faithful in finishing our prayer in His name. There was once an explosion in a coal mine in England, and many miners were killed, affecting many families. One widow was left with several young children. There was no help from the mine, so she found it difficult to provide food for her children. The oldest boy was 12 years old. He began to wonder what he could do to help their family. He thought that if only he could talk to the Queen, she could help him! So he walked down to the Palace one day, and the guard asked him, “What are you doing here?” He answered, “I need to see Queen Victoria!” “You can’t do this — no one can enter the Palace without an invitation,” the guard said. Broken hearted, he went away crying. Down the street he met a well-dressed boy who asked him what had made him so sad, and he told him his story. The well dressed boy said, “Come with me,” and they went back to the gate of the Palace, and the guards opened the door, and they walked in. Then they came to the door of the Palace itself, and it also was opened! Then the well dressed boy took the other one down a long hallway and came to a door and knocked, “Mother, are you in?” he asked, and Queen Victoria spoke from inside that room and said, “Come in,” and he had the opportunity to pour out his heart unto the Queen. She put her arm around him to comfort him, and said, “You go home and tell your mother that help is on the way!” The only way he could have done this was through the son, and the only way we can ever come into the presence of the God of heaven is by His Son!
There are some keys that we can take with us into the place of prayer. Keys open doors–doors that open right into God’s presence. When the Pharisee and the publican went to pray in Luke 18, there were no doors that opened for the Pharisee, because of the way he prayed. But the publican had a key ring with three keys on it, and he used all three, which opened wonderful doors to him!
(1). He had the key of humility. Without this key we will never enter the King’s presence. The Pharisee had the key of pride, which will never open the door into God’s presence.
(2). The key of honesty. The publican was honest about his sin and his need. He went away justified because he came with the consciousness of sin. When he went away, his heart was right with God.
(3). The key of repentance. We can never be freed from our sin without this key.
Some keys that Jesus used:
He took the key of complete submission to His Father’s will into the place of prayer in Gethsemane. He had used this key all His life. When only twelve years old, He had used this key. Jesus went into that prayer with a struggle in His heart, but when He used this key, He could leave with a complete peace. Whenever we are having a struggle, it is good to check our key ring, to see if we have this key of complete willingness to the will of God. Afterwards, an angel came to strengthen Him — that key opened the door of strength coming to Him.
Jesus praying on the cross, “Father, forgive them,” He had been treated so cruelly, but He took the key of forgiveness into that prayer. In His sample prayer in Luke 11, he mentioned the need of forgiveness. If we refuse to forgive others, this will close the door to God forgiving us. It will open doors to our own forgiveness if we take this key into the place of prayer.
The leper who came to Jesus with a request in Luke five. It was like a prayer. “If you will, you can make me clean.” He had two keys on his key ring. One was the key of faith. He had no question but that the Lord could help him, but he was not so sure that He would do it! It is because he felt so unworthy. He also brought the key of unworthiness into his request, and Jesus responded to these two keys. It also touches us when we come to the Lord in all of our unworthiness, and God is touched to help us!