Journey 2020: Vision For Christ - Persevering in God

A Friend in Need
5Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
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 11:5-13, NIV)

Parable of the Persistent Widow
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  
(Luke 18:1-8, NIV)

How is your prayer life? Active and engaging? Limp and floundering? Hungry? Sated? Now shift your perspective. How does God view your prayer life with Him? 

Both of the above parables were lessons in prayer. Prayer is how we communicate with our Lord and Savior. It is how we express our desires, our wants, our needs. It is how we express our joy, our thankfulness, our gratitude. In Matthew 6:9-15, Jesus gives us an example of how we are to pray.

9“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’
14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(NIV)

 

  

Jesus knew that change was coming and was preparing His followers for that change. One of the changes was in how they accessed the Lord. No more would people be separated from the Lord, from the Holies of Holy. Following Jesus’ defeat of death, all can go directly to the Lord in prayer. Thus, the lessons on prayer. (A more in-depth study of the Lord’s prayer can be found here.)

In our first parable, Jesus is teaching that all who come and knock on His door will be received. During the time of Jesus, hospitality was a moral obligation. Ignoring a request for help, for hospitality was largely unfathomable. It is just as unfathomable that the Lord would not hear our knocking and welcome us with open arms.

 In our second parable, Jesus is showing that prayer is not a one-and-done deal. It is a constant, never ending part of our relationship with the Lord. It is what keeps Him front and center of our lives. Persistent and consistent prayer is how we demonstrate what is truly on our hearts. The widow received what she was asking for because she was persistent in her request. We should have her persistence when it comes to praying to the Lord.

Prayer should not be burden, but a way to lighten your burdens. It is a way to turn them over to the Lord. In today’s world, we are accustomed to instant gratification, instant answers. God does not work on the world’s timetable, but on His own. God is not our own personal genie, there to grant us all our whims and wishes. Each prayer is carefully considered, and an answer given. Through persistent prayer, we demonstrate our faith in the Lord and His timetable, and make Him the focus of our life.

 We must also remember that God does not answer all prayers as we may always wish them to be answered. “No,” is an answer. And just because a prayer is given what we think is a favorable answer, does not mean our life will be easier or better. Sometimes, we are given what we think we want in order to be taught a lesson, and to ultimately, grow closer and deepen our relationship with the Lord.

How does your prayer life reflect your relationship with the Lord? Does your prayer life need a jump start? Do it now!

 

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