Summary: Pray shamelessly, pray persistently, pray expectantly (Outline taken from Sermon Central's David Taylor at: http://www.sermoncentral.com/print_friendly.asp?SermonID=183315; Last point adapted from Michael Mack from Small Group Vital Signs, pg. 142)
It was a dark night. The traveler had a flat tire on a seldom used road. To complicate matters, he could not find his tire jack. The only solution lay in appealing to someone in the dark farm house down the road. As he approached the house, the traveler thought to himself, “I’m sure that the farmer will be angry if I wake him and he will probably respond angrily to me. If he gives me anything at all, it will probably be out of total annoyance.” The sleepy farmer came to the door and asked the traveler, “What can I do for you?” “Keep your old tire jack,” growled the traveler, “I didn’t want it anyway!” He stomped off, leaving the farmer scratching his head. The traveler’s approach only brought him frustration, not satisfaction. Sadly, many Christians have the same results with their prayer lives.
Two weeks ago we talked about how Jesus was always praying in solitude to His Father. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16, NIV.
We talked how Jesus’ prayer time reminded him of who he was, the beloved of God. Jesus started with prayer and from prayer was able to be in his community and minister to others (from Luke 6:12-19). Started with prayer. In a similar way, our prayer time with God the Father should remind and reassure us of who we are, the children of God.
As we go into our community, whether that be our immediate family or church family, we need to be reminded in prayer of who we are. Community is messy and sometimes our families hurt us and cause us to forget who we are. We need constant loving reminders that, as Christians, Jesus died for us. Because he died for us we are beloved of God and people of value and worth.
Without those reminders we want our community to give us the love that only God can give. With the assurance that God is for us and not against us, we have a strong and stable foundation that can withstand any attack or heartbreak from our community.
As we move into ministry among those who are hurting or those who are far away from God, we need this reminder even more.
Gaithers- I said if You knew You wouldn't want me; My scars are hidden by the face I wear; He said my child My scars go deeper; and It was love for you that put them there; I am loved, I am loved; I can risk loving you; For the One who knows me best; Loves me most; I am loved you are loved; Won't you please take my hand; We are free to love each other; We are loved
A few Sunday nights ago I said that leaders in the church need to be filled to overflowing with God. Need to be so filled that the overflow blesses others. Prayer is a big part of this.
Vs. 1- Jesus knows a lot about prayer through personal experience. One day Jesus’ disciples caught him doing what he often did, praying. After he finished, the disciples want Jesus to teach them about prayer. In vs. 2- 4 Jesus gives them the Model prayer, good stuff here. Jesus continues his teaching on prayer after this (vs. 5-13) with a parable to motivate us to freely approach God in prayer. This parable is meant to teach us to not be hesitant in approaching God because God is our Father.
Thesis: Pray shamelessly, pray persistently, pray expectantly
1. God invites us to pray shamelessly (5-8)
Jesus starts with question, ‘Who would go to a neighbor at midnight and wake him up to get some bread for unexpected visitor?’ The answer is no one wants to be in this awkward situation.
In our day if someone knocked on our door at midnight we would meet them with a gun or at least a baseball bat. Also to ask for bread would be ridiculous, "Just go down to the 24 hour gas station or 24 hour Wal Mart. Asking for bread in the middle of the night, get out of here before I blow your head off!"
Let me give you some insight into the Ancient Near East. It was common to travel at night to avoid the heat of the day. Bread was made daily so it would not get stale in the desert heat. It was a custom in that day that house doors would open in the morning and remain open all day. If the door was shut, it was a sign that the family did not wish to be disturbed. A poorer house consisted of one room with one little window. In one corner a stove burned all night with the family huddled around it sleeping on mats to keep warm. On top of that, it was common to bring their animals and livestock into the house at night. For the friend to get up would wake up both the family and the animals. Yet the one seeking bread was not deterred. He kept on asking; he kept on seeking; he kept on knocking. Because of the shamelessness of the one asking, the friend gives him what he needs. The word translated boldness or persistence means boldness over a long period of time but it also means shameless, almost audacious. Think about the situation. It is not acceptable to knock on the neighbor’s door when it is shut, it is in the middle of the night, the whole house will wake up yet the guy won’t give up. The point is that the one who is shameless in approaching God is the one who will get answers to prayer.