Summary: Being faithful to God includes being faithful in prayer. To be faithful in prayer requires that we understand that prayer is expected, effective and must not be exhausted.
A.We’ve been talking about God’s faithfulness and our faithfulness.
1.We have been reminded of the fact that we are called to be faithful.
2. That call is not a call to perfection, but a call to consistency and reliability.
3. All of this calls for the need to be faithful in attendance and involvement with the church.
4. And as we talked about last week, the need to be faithful in service. God requires our faithful employment of the gifts and talents he has bestowed upon us.
B. Today we want to turn our attention to being faithful in prayer.
1. Prayer is something that develops as we grow in faith and understanding.
2. There are some childlike elements to prayer that we must never lose, and yet there are some childish and immature aspects of prayer that we certainly want to outgrow.
3. Listen to some of these prayers of children and see what insights you can gain from them.
4. Debbie, age 7 writes: Dear God: Please send a new baby for mommy. The new baby you sent last week cries too much.
5. Dear God: Who did you make smarter? Boys or girls? My sister and I want to know. Jimmy, age 6.
6. Dear God: How many angels are there in heaven? I would like to be the first kid in my class to know the answer. Norma, age 8.
7. Dear God: Thank you for the nice day today. You even fooled the weather man. Hank, age 7.
8. Lois, age 9: Dear God: Please help me in school. I need help in spelling, adding, writing, history, and geography. I don’t need help in anything else.
9. Natalie, age 7: Dear God: Do you have any helpers in heaven? I would like to be one of your helpers in heaven when I have summer vacation.
10. Diane, age 8: Dear God: I am saying my prayers for me and my brother, Billy, because Billy is six months old and he can’t do anything but sleep and wet his diapers.
C. So much could be said and should be said about prayer, but for our purposes today I want to say three things: Prayer is EXPECTED, is EFFECTIVE and should not be EXHAUSTED.
I. PRAYER IS EXPECTED
A. Jesus had so much to say about prayer, I cannot even begin to summarize it.
1. As he taught his disciples about prayer in Matthew 6, he did not say “if” you pray, he said “when” you pray. He expected them to pray.
2. Jesus repeatedly demonstrated the importance of prayer is his own life. We see him praying day in and day out. Not only at critical moments in his life and ministry, but in the everyday moments like giving thanks before meals.
3. So, even if we didn’t have so much of what he said about prayer, we could follow the example of what he did as he prayed.
B. The fact that prayer is an expected part of discipleship is obvious from the statements of the New Testament.
1. One of the Scripture readings for today is a concise example of what I’m saying: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12).
2. Similarly, Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray continually” (NIV), or “pray constantly: (RSV), or “pray without ceasing” (KJV).
C. I don’t really think that any of us here today would argue the opposite.
1. I don’t think that any of us would seriously deny the place of prayer in the life of the Christian.
2. All of us know and understand that prayer is necessary and expected.
3. God desires that we bring our praises to him in prayer along with our confessions, our thanksgivings and our petitions.
II. PRAYER SHOULD NOT BE EXHAUSTED
A. What I mean by that is that we should be persistent in prayer.
1. One aspect of faithfulness in prayer is persistence in prayer.
2. This is another important thing that Jesus taught his disciples.
B. In our second scripture reading for the day from Luke 18, we heard the parable that Jesus told about the persistent widow.
1. Luke introduces the parable with these words, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
2. The parable is simple and straightforward. You have a judge who did not fear God and did not care about people. (probably not the kind of judge you want in power, right?)
3. The other character in the story is a widow who keeps coming to the judge for justice against her adversary.
4. This lady really had things stacked against her. For starters she had an unjust judge.
5. Added to that she was a woman and a widow. So, she had no husband or son of standing to help plead her case.