How To Pray As A Christian
What the Bible says about praying persistently
How to pray as a Christian: Sermon on Luke 18:1-8, “The Parable of the Persistent Widow”
We live between the times. Between the time when Jesus first came and inaugurated his Kingdom and the time when Jesus will return and consummate his Kingdom. In this time, we still live as those born again who can see the Kingdom – the rule and reign of God active in our lives and universe, but also know there is a conflict with the Kingdom of darkness. Prayer as a christian and in our walk with God, we see breakthrough after breakthrough, but also walk-through times when there are no obvious signs of his presence except for the comfort we receive from his word.
Some fall away from an active, vibrant faith and walk with God because of the sheer tension of living in the now and not yet of the Kingdom. Sometimes the things we expect God to do become an idol and we miss the thing God wants for us the most… a friendship with him that is closer than brothers and sisters. Jesus knew there would be many seemingly impossible challenges in following him and he knew there would be times when it seems like nothing God has promised is happening. So, Jesus aware of the tension of the two kingdoms, aware of the now and not yet, the very mystery of the Kingdom, gives us a parable to encourage us to pray and not give up.
Luke 18:1-8, “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man.And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?I tell you; he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Jesus told his followers this parable so that they would pray often and not give up.
How To Pray As A Christian: Pray Persistently.
The widow in this parable is incredibly persistent. Almost pushy. Perhaps you know someone like this in your life. Someone who just doesn’t give up until they get what they want. The difference here is that this widow knew she had a plea for justice. She was in the right. And so, she kept pressing in until she got justice.
Ok so as Christian we should pray but how should pray?
I believe Christians should pray specifically.
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
As a Christian when you pray specifically you will see how much God cares about each situation.
Intercede and Stand in the Gap Pray in the Spirit
Jude :20 says, “building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.”
Pray for lost sheep. Jesus said he came to seek and to save that which was lost. Pray specifically for the lost sheep you know and want to see brought home to faith!
Pray for those important relationships in your life.
Pray the Kingdom Come Prayer
When Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:10 he said pray, “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
This prayer is two-fold as we pray for the consummation of God’s Kingdom at Christ’s return. In this prayer we also pray for the will of God to manifested here on earth in Kingdom Breakthrough.
When Jesus delivered a man from demons, he declared in Matthew 12:28, “but if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”
Jesus wants us to pray that the Kingdom of God, the rule, and reign of God comes to situations around us and intervenes.
Where the will of God is being done, that’s where the Kingdom is!
The Kingdom Come Prayer is the prayer of faith.
James 5:13-16, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
The prayer of faith is for the suffering, sick, and the sinner. Praying the prayer of faith is believing God to intervene in these situations.
Don’t allow the circumstances in the midst of the valley, the desert, those times when it seems helpless to deter you from praying and not giving up.
As a christian We should pray persistently not to give up. Through persistent prayer we keep the fire alive, so we don’t give up.
The next encouragement I want to give you is to not give up. The whole point of this parable that Jesus was making was to pray and to not give up.
In Luke 18’s parable of the persistent widow, the phrase “to not give up” is translated in the NKJV as “not lose heart.” And in some translations is translated “not grow weary”. The meaning here is clear- We are to not grow tired, lose heart and give up as we wait in persistent prayer.
We are not to grow tired of the wait for God’s justice, we are not to lose heart and give up in the battle, in the tension of the now and not yet.
Jesus chooses to relate our struggle to what in his time was seen as
a helpless, vulnerable, victim (the same way you and I feel sometimes) to show that even though it seems we are going against all odds because of persistence in prayer we will prevail.
The heart of this parable is that we too like the widow are up against an unrighteous judge, the world, and the enemy, and only through perseverance, an unswerving faith in God, and persistent prayer, will we not grow weary, lose heart, and give up.
It gets hard going against the world all the time. Sometimes our circumstances cause us to want to give up.
When our son Elijah was just a toddler, he developed serious eczema all over his body. The deep scratches on his body were often infected. He was not able to sleep and he kept us up at night too. At the time we were living in a country with less than adequate health care. Elijah had seen several doctors. We had tried all sorts of medicines and creams. The problem was so bad that it drove me to fast without food for three days. As I prayed one last time for him before breaking the fast, he began to itch uncontrollably. I thought I wasted my time fasting and that I would’ve been better off eating burgers, pizza, and dumplings and not praying at all.
What happened shortly after the fast was indeed answer to our prayers. God began to give us wisdom on how to handle the eczema, little things to make Elijah more comfortable. He began sleeping through the night. Shortly thereafter, his skin cleared up and he never struggled with eczema again.
Through persistence and not giving up we will see that God will not fail us.
How to Pray as a Christian: God will not Fail –
Often times people falsely relate the judge of this parable to God. This is not accurate, because it is not an accurate portrayal of God! Here in the text, we actually have a contrast between God and the judge.
It is one of those passages where Jesus is saying how much better God is than this judge.
Jesus is asking the question how much more faithful God is.
Jesus is guaranteeing that the day of judgment and redemption will come.
Because of the wait, because of the tension, because of the conflict
of the Kingdoms human tendency from the beginning has been to distrust God to the point we turn to illegitimate means to meet our legitimate needs. But through this parable Jesus is calling us to trust in God’s faithfulness, even though we don’t see him at work, even though he is working all the time.
Jesus said God is always at work, we have to trust that.
We must trust in God’s faithfulness.
Psalm 111:7 “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.”
Psalm 89:8 says, “You Lord are mighty and your faithfulness surrounds you.”
1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
How to Pray as a Christian: Proactive faith vs. passive faith
This parable demonstrates a proactive faith. Not a passive one.
It teaches us not to sit back and be victims of our circumstances but to step out in faith and grab hold of God’s destiny for our lives.
Remember Faith = Risk
Will you be found faithful?
God is faithful, God will bring about Justice, God will answer…
When Jesus returns “will he find faith on the earth?”
Will you be found faithful to trust God not matter what?
Will you be found faithful and not grow tired, lose heart, and give up?
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