Summary: Second in a three sermon series on prayer.
As we mentioned last time, our Lord’s disciples had asked Him to teach them to pray (v. 1). The request made by the disciples of our Lord should also be our request of Him, for prayer is the foundational disci¬pline of the Christian life. It is through prayer that we access the power of God, and without the power of God upon our lives, nothing we do will be fruitful or fulfilling. Therefore, this request should come before all others offered up to the throne by the child of God. As the hymn writer expressed it:
"Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day;
I want to know Thy will and thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray."
As part of our Lord’s response to his disciple’s request, He told them a parable. A parable designed to illustrate truths about prayer that every Christian needs to understand if we are to pray as we ought.
What kind of praying must we do?
Last time we said that from this parable we learn that it must be BOLD praying. Bold in size, bold in stubbornness, and bold in sacrifice. Today, I want us to consider a second truth we learn from this parable about prayer. What kind of praying must we do?
It must be DEFINITE PRAYING - v. 5
We notice that the man was very definite in making his request. He did not ask for "some loaves," but he specifically ask for "three loaves."
Likewise, God calls us to pray in a definite manner. He wants us to offer up specific requests to Him rather than pray in generalities.
"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God." - Philippians 4:6 (Amplified)
The word translated "petition" here is the same word used in Ephesians 6:18, where Paul says:
"With all prayer and petition (definite requests) pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints." - Ephesians 6:18 (NASB)
It is also the same word used by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1, where he says:
"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions (definite requests) and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men." -1 Timothy 2:1 (NASB)
Again and again, the Scriptures tell us that our requests of God in prayer should be specific and definite. But why? That’s what I want us to explore today. I’d like to suggest two primary reasons why the praying we must do is definite praying.
1. Definite praying makes us aware of our need of God.
When we pray only in generalities, it is easy to ignore our need for God to be involved in every area of our lives. But when we commit ourselves to definite praying, that means we will consider each area of our life in prayer, lifting up specific requests for each area, whether it be my spiritual development, or my finances, my friendships, my marriage, my kids, my job, my school, my business, my investments, or whatever.
Through offering definite requests in prayer, we are forced to confront the fact, over and over again, that we need God to intervene by His power on our behalf in EVERY area of life. That what Jesus said is true, "apart from me you can do nothing" - John 15:5 (NIV)!
If any part of me is apart from Him, then my life will fall apart!
Now, there are two ways whereby I can realize my need of God. I can humble myself before the Lord or be humbled by Him.
"’God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.’ So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you." - 1 Peter 5:5-7 (NLT)
We understand then, that one way I can come to understand my need of God is ...
A. The way of pride.
If I live my life thinking I can "go it alone," I will eventually be humbled by God, as I experience irritation, aggravation, and frustration in life.
A boy asked his father to explain the differences between irritation, aggravation and frustration.
The dad picked up the telephone and dialed a number at random. When someone answered he asked, "Can I speak to Alf please." "You have the wrong number. There’s no Alf here." The dad said, "That’s irritation."
Then the boy’s father hit "redial" and asked for Alf a second time. The voice on the other end said, "There’s no one named Alf here! If you call again I will call the police." The dad said, "Son, that’s aggra¬vation."