Summary: God is calling his people to be persistent in prayer. God is calling his people to be changed, to be transformed through prayer. God is calling to those who truly enjoy and who truly yearn to spend time with Him.
Let us pray -- O' Heavenly Father, we come before you this day and we ask that you reveal more about the nature of prayer. May our hearts and our minds be open to your Word this day. We ask this in the blessed name of Jesus your son and our Savior .... Amen.
A young man went into a drugstore to buy 3 boxes of chocolate: small, medium, and large.
When the pharmacist asked him about the three boxes, he said, ... "Well, I'm going over to my new girlfriend's house for supper.
Then we are going out for the evening.
If she only lets me hold her hand, ... then I'll give her the small box.
If she lets me kiss her on the cheek, ... then I'll give her the medium box.
But if she really lets me smooch seriously, ... I'll give her the large box."
He made his purchase and left.
That evening as he sat down for dinner with his girlfriend's family, ... he asked if he could say the prayer before the meal.
He began to pray, ... and he prayed a most earnest, and intense prayer ... that lasted for almost five minutes.
When he finished his girlfriend said, ... "You never told me you were such a religious person."
He said, ...... "You never told me your dad was a pharmacist!" (Pause)
Beloved ... It is essential to pray...... whatever the circumstance!
Jesus told His disciples in our Gospel reading today their need to pray ...... when? .... Always. (Pause)
According to many public opinion polls, .... prayer is still very important .... to most Americans.
The Gallup organization found 90 percent of Americans pray.
And 86 percent said they believed in God.
Isn't it interesting .... more people pray .... than claim to believe in God?
83 percent said they favor prayer at graduation exercises.
70 percent favor Christian prayers be spoken in school. (Pause)
There is a story that ... true or not .... does make a point.
A small village church had a hall that needed a new roof.
So after every Sunday service, ...... the congregation would go over to the church hall .... to pray for a new roof.
And ...... at the end of the prayer meeting, .... there would be a collection.
One old villager, ...... renown for being very tight fisted, would come in and sit at the back of the prayer meeting ...... so he could make a quick escape ...... when the collection plate came around.
One Sunday just as he was going to the prayer meeting he was held up by the priest ...... so he came in a little late.
Unfortunately, ....... there was only room at the front.
So he went to the front and sat down.
During the prayer meeting, a piece of roof fell and hit him on the head.
Feeling spoken to; he stood up and said: "Lord, I'll give $1,000".
A voice in the back rang out: ....... "Hit him again Lord, hit him again". (Pause)
In today's Gospel reading Jesus focuses on prayer ...... using the parable of the Unjust Judge to encourage us ....... to persevere at prayer. (Luke 18:1-8)
Prayer is very precious ...... to our Father in Heaven.
We read in Revelation that the prayers of the saints are equated with ...... incense offered to God .... at the altar. (Revelation 8:3-4)
It is important to note what Jesus is Not saying with the Parable of the Unjust Judge.
He is Not saying that God is as tightfisted in answering prayer, ....... as the unjust judge was frugal ... in dispensing justice.
Judges were notoriously corrupt in Israel during the 1st century.
And the implication in the parable would be ... that some rich person has bribed the judge Not to give the widow justice.
Possibly to stop her from inheriting ... her husband's estate.
Without the protection of a benefactor, .... the widow would have neither .... the strings to pull .... nor a bribe to offer.
Yet, in this parable, her persistence won the day.
What Jesus Is saying:
If the Unjust Judge in this parable gives justice to the woman .... surely God .... who wants to answer our prayers .... will do so.
It seems to me, ... there are three challenges from this passage:
1. (1 Finger) God is calling his people to be persistent in prayer.
2. (2 Fingers) God is calling his people to be changed, ...... to be transformed through prayer
3. (3 Fingers) And God is calling to those who truly enjoy and who truly yearn to spend time with Him.
Let us look at the first of these challenges: (1 Finger) God is calling his people to be persistent in prayer.