Summary: A teaching message on Luke 18:1-8.

Luke Series #78 September 08, 2002

Title: 3 Incentives to Keep Praying



Introduction: Welcome to New Life in Christ. This morning we are in Chapter 18 of the Book of Luke in our verse-by-verse teaching series out of that book.

Read Luke 17:1-8

Opening Prayer

There’s a magazine cartoon that shows a little fellow kneeling beside his bed for his bedtime prayer. He says with some measure of disgust, "Dear God, Uncle Jim still doesn’t have a job; Sis still doesn’t have a date for the social; Grandma is still feeling sick - and I’m tired of praying for this family and not getting results."

Probably all of us have felt this way, at one time or another, in regard to our prayers. Each one of us has probably felt like quitting. Each one of us has probably felt like giving up on seeing answers to our prayers. Probably more than a few of us have actually stopped praying, maybe not altogether, but we have quit praying for certain things. Things that God had laid on our heart! Things that are important and not trivial. Things like seeing a loved one saved or return to Christ. Things like having a marriage restored ministry successful, sickness or infirmity healed, or an urgent need met. We quit praying because of discouragement and doubt. We quit praying because we sometimes wonder if it does pay to pray. Even though we would never voice such thoughts, the idea does sometimes come into our minds.

Jesus knew that his disciples would be tempted to quit praying. Jesus had just talked to his disciples about his return and the coming Kingdom of God. He told them that his coming, and the establishment of Kingdom of God with it, might be delayed and that during this time they would long for his return. Things would not be as good as they longed for them to be.

We are living in-between the times, and as such, we face troubles, opposition, adversity, etc... During this time, before Jesus returns, Jesus knew that his disciples would be tempted to give up on prayer, so he spoke often on the subject of persevering in prayer, to give his disciples encouragement and incentives to not give up on prayer. This passage is one of those times. In this passage Jesus gives his disciples reasons to keep on praying. Today I will be sharing with you, from this passage, five incentives to keep on praying. Without any further ado, let’s get to the first incentive to keep on praying.

1. Keep on praying because sometimes the answer to prayer will be delayed.

In other words, we should not stop praying just because we don’t see results quickly. In verse 1 we are told that Jesus gave this parable to show his disciples that they "should always pray and not give up." There would be no need for such a teaching if most prayers were answered quickly! After all, we’re only tempted to give up on something when we are not seeing significant results in a timely manner.

For example, when we diet to lose weight, we’re likely to give up in discouragement if we weigh ourselves after 2-3 days and expect significant results. Only if we approach the diet with the understanding that achieving the goal may take some time, will we persevere. It is the same with prayer. We need to understand that the answers or results we seek in prayer may be postponed or delayed significantly.

Verse 7, which I will discuss in more detail later, also indicates that sometimes God does delay answering our prayers. It would make no sense for Jesus to ask if God will keep putting off answering his people’s prayers unless he had already been doing so!

1. Keep on praying because sometimes the answer to prayer will be delayed.

This knowledge motivates us because we’re now not going to be discouraged when the answer does not come quickly; we will recognize that the delay is what Jesus told us to expect. Do not make the mistake of equating a delay in the answer to your prayers as a denial to answer your prayers. You can pray for something that is within the will of God and still not see a quick or easy answer.

Some time ago, I felt that God was leading me to pray for a significant numerical increase in the church. I was very hesitant to pray this prayer because I knew that, as the pastor, my motives could be wrong. I could be equating numbers with success, which is unbiblical, or I could want the increase out of pride. Nevertheless, after seeking God, I felt that it was he who was leading me to pray this prayer, after all it was God who had given us and enabled us to pay for a building which seats 450, so why not pray that everything God gave us was put to use.

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