Prayer is an important and vital part of our relationship with God. Prayer is a discipline that needs to be readdressed frequently, as it continually crawls off the table. How many would admit to a lack of confidence in how to pray.
Before we go any further, let’s crush three common prayer myths.
#1 God only hears loud prayers.
I’m the Lead Pastor of a Pentecostal church. We may be the reason this myth exists. As a Pentecostal church, we are known to elevate our voices in prayer.
This is not wrong or bad, but that does not make your prayer more effective.
#2 God only hears long prayers.
Prayer does not have to be long to be effective. Often Jesus only said a word, and someone would be healed. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 6:7, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
#3 God only hears eloquent prayers.
There has never been such an eloquent prayer that the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God were in heaven and responded, “That was said so well I’m going to answer that right now.”
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
David knew he was a sinner and all he could offer God was a broken spirit. God is looking for someone who is genuinely seeking Him.
In Luke 18 Jesus shares a parable about prayer. Verse 1 gives us our first instruction regarding prayer.
“To not lose hope we must pray always.”
It’s not our circumstances, a bad health report, an unexpected bill or the threat of losing a job, that causes us to lose heart, it’s our dismissal of prayer. The only remedy to losing heart is to always pray.
In this parable, Jesus first describes a judge. Jesus gives two details about the character of this judge, “he neither feared God nor was a respecter of person.”
This guy was a piece of work. He is pretty much the worst person possible to be a judge.
Then Jesus goes on to describe a widow. Widows were the most desperate people in Bible times. They had very few rights and fewer means to take care of themselves. This woman is facing one of the greatest needs possible, injustice, and has very little options for help.
In verse 3 we learn that she went daily to the judge asking for justice. She waited for him every morning when he arrived at court, every time the court took a recess, and was there when court ended, pleading her case.
It’s likely he assumed she would eventually stop.
Even though the odds are against her she doesn’t give up. If she quits, she is guaranteed no justice. She has nothing to lose in being persistent.
For a while he refused “yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
The phrase “beat me down” in the original language is a boxing term to describe the swollen, black and blue face of a boxer. This judge was engaged in a heavyweight bout with a widow and losing. He couldn’t take it anymore and so he conceded.
God is NOT like this judge.
There is five contrast in the parable worth noting.
#1 The woman was a stranger, versus we are children of God.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!” 1 John 3:1
#2 The woman has no access to the judge, versus we have full access to God.
“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18
#3 The woman had no friend to help her, versus Jesus is our advocate.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1
#4 The woman went to a court of law, versus we go to a throne of grace.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
#5 The woman pled out of her poverty, versus we pray out of the riches of Christ.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
We persist in prayer not because God refuses to answer but, so we don’t lose heart. The first key to answered prayer is persistent prayer. If you’ve been praying don’t give up, keep praying. Pray always. Pray unceasingly.
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