Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jesus instructs on prayer




Scripture

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart,
(Luke 18:1 NASB)
And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said;
(Luke 18:6 NASB)
now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?
(Luke 18:7 NASB)
“I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:8 NASB)
“But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’
(Luke 18:13 NASB)
“I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:14 NASB)
But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
(Luke 18:16 NASB)
Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
(Luke 18:39 NASB)

Observation

In this chapter full of parables Jesus has lessons for us on our prayer lives. Prayer is one of those great mysteries that is rather difficult to comprehend. Why would God need or want us to participate with him in prayer? And yet from the first parable we learn about persistence. Somehow as the woman continues to cry out, her prayer is answered. If God knows what we need before we even ask, then why does he want or need his people to cry out to him in prayer? Second, we learn about our attitude in prayer. We are not to be demanding of our God, but rather come before him with a spirit and attitude of humility. The cry of our heart is that God would have mercy on us. We are absolutely unworthy of his goodness and his love and mercy are a gift to us. That is why he tells us to come to him like little children. Come in innocence and faith believing that we may humbly sit on his lap, and ask, "Daddy, can you forgive me?" And as we cry out, the Lord hears our cries and he answers our prayers.

Application

There is nothing in our human behavior which changes God's nature. God, in his grace is constantly reaching out to us, and wanting to draw us near to him. However, he is asking that we join into the stream of his grace, or the movement of his Holy Spirit through a life of prayer. This is one of the mysteries of heaven which we do not comprehend, but when God's people unite together with him in prayer, things are unloosed in heaven which have been bound up. Does God need man to participate with him for this to happen. No, I don't think so, because he is an all powerful God. However, I believe that he desires so -- and has established an order in which he desires for us to unite with him through prayer. If we examine historically all of the great revivals or awakenings which have occurred, it has been when God's people have prayed. Significant time has been spent in prayer, not just a few moments here and there. Rather, there has been a persistence, a getting a hold of God time and just not letting go until the power of his Holy Spirit has been poured out and there has been a significant movement or shifting here on earth.

This is a crucial time in world and certainly for Christianity. The shifts which we see around us are simply astounding and we wonder what the future holds. Christianity is under attack around the globe, and unless Christians unite together within the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer, we don't have a chance. We must cry out for God to have mercy on us, for we have been unfaithful!

Prayer

Forgive us, father, daddy -- but please, move us into your future and help us to be your faithful servants. Amen.

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