Summary: Many Christians continue day after day in a much-depleted spiritual condition for the simple reason, they don’t know how to pray.
Donald Trump published a New York Times bestseller entitled, "The Art of the Deal." In that book, he outlines strategies he developed in mastering the art of negotiation. As a world-renowned dealmaker, Trump’s strategies are well worth investigating. His success in this area makes his book somewhat of an authority on the subject.
In the secular world, we can say Donald Trump has mastered the art of deal making.
From a Christian perspective, we have more important work to do than building buildings or making world class deals with other business people. At stake for the Christian in his or her work is the eternal destiny of men and women. This is far more important than all the buildings in all the world put together.
One problem Christians share is that we often do not take very seriously our work for the Master. Often, we offer him work that is shoddy at best and incomplete at worst.
The reason for this is suggested here in this parable that Jesus gives, which would be we are not desperate enough. For some reason we fail to see the urgency of the hour in which we live. Some Christians live as though there was no urgency, and that they had all the time in the world. Even "9/11" has not created a spirit of urgency in us as a nation.
Another reason would be, many Christians do not believe people are lost. Their creeds, tell them people are lost, but their actions say something altogether different. We have the idea that there’s a little bit of good in everybody. This is in direct contrast to what the Bible teaches.
• Romans 3:10 - 12 (KJV) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
• Romans 3:23 (KJV) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
One of the crucial elements of the Christian life, affecting every aspect, is our prayer life. Our very life depends on our ability to pray.
The average Christian today, in contrast to the "Normal Christian," is sadly deficient in this area of prayer. This is seen in the fact that many Christians don’t have enough prayer savvy to meet their own needs. Many Christians continue day after day in a much-depleted spiritual condition for the simple reason, they don’t know how to pray. They barely know how to get from God what they need to exist as a Christian.
There are two reasons for this. One, real prayer is work, hard work. Many people have the idea that prayer is a rather casual thing, but the contrary is true. Prayer will be the hardest thing you ever do in life. It is work, and most people are allergic to that four-letter-word.
And two, prayer is a highly specialized art, which few Christians have mastered. Everyone prays, but few have truly mastered the strategies resulting in effective prayer. It takes discipline and practice and hard work to achieve the level of effective prayer. A level, only a few Christians ever attain.
In this parable, Jesus outlines strategies for Mastering the Art of Prayer. The strategies can be boiled down to three primary ones. Know what to ask for; know where to look for the answer; know when to knock. When you have disciplined yourself in these three areas, you are on your way to "Mastering the Art of Prayer."
I. KNOWLEDGE: KNOW WHAT TO ASK FOR
"For everyone who asks, will receive what he asks for."
It would be fair to say, many Christians fail at this point. They really do not know what to ask God for. Of course, if you don’t know what to ask for, you’ve already failed. James points this out to us in his epistle. James 4:2 - 3 "Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
The question begs to be answered, how do I know what to ask for?
The key to this is found in Luke 11:13 "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
In order for us to know what to pray for, we need the Holy Spirit to guide us. And he is ever so faithful to do so, if we yield ourselves to him. In order for us to know how to pray and what to pray for, we need to have discernment. And this is the Holy Spirit’s field of expertise.