Summary: This sermon says that Christians should be persistent in prayer.
PERSISTENCY IN PRAYER
ILLUSTRATION Prayer delights God’s ear, it melts His heart, it opens His hand: God cannot deny a praying soul.—Thomas Watson
May this statement encourage us to pray. Let us open our bible to Luke 18:1-8 and listen to what the Lord Jesus Christ taught about prayer. Jesus encouraged us to be persistent in prayer, “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
Why do you think Jesus said that we should always pray and not give up?
1. Because people find prayer a burden instead of a privilege.
People stop praying because they find prayer a burden or responsibility. It becomes a burden when we look at it as a ritual or a program that one should participate. Prayer is an awesome opportunity to come into the presence of the living God. If we truly believe this, then we will not say “No,” to an invitation to pray. We would not even put limitation in time and purpose.
ILLUSTRATION Long waiting list for prospective audience in Oprah’s Show.
Prayer is an awesome opportunity to come into the presence of the living God. Let us take advantage of this opportunity. Having reminded of this great truth, we will stop counting how many people come to our prayer meeting. We will keep on inviting them but if they don’t show up, it is a misfortune on their part.
What I am worrying right now is how the Lord will feel about His people in this church when He sees them saying “No” to an invitation to talk to Him for no valid reasons at all.
2. Because People give up when their prayer is not answered according to their expectations.
It is a common attitude that we expect God to answer our prayer according to our expectations related to timing and specifics. Most of the time, we set the timetable. If it does not happen then we give up praying. Another expectation is related to specifics, we express not only when we want things to happen but also what we what to see happened.
The problem with this kind of attitude in prayer is we tend to manipulate God to our desires. God’s wisdom and ways are a lot better than ours. Remember that we are communing to our Creator and God. We express our desires, He decides why and when He should respond to those desires. We should honor His will and believe that He has a plan for us.
ILLUSTRATION When Jesus prayed to God the Father to remove the cup of suffering from Him, he concluded by saying “yet not as I will, but as you will.” This statement shows that we must give God the authority to decide what to do with our prayers and when to respond.
ILLUSTRATION One young girl knew the power of specific prayer when she faced death head-on. In the midst of her sickness, she went to her pastor and asked what more she could do for Jesus in the short time she had to live. He suggested that she make a list of people in their small town who needed Christ, and pray that they would find salvation. She took his advice and prayed often for each person.
Sometime later, God began to stir a revival in the village. Only after the girl died, was her prayer list with the names of 56 people found under her pillow. All had put their faith in Christ -- the last one on the night before her death. Such is the power of definite, specific, fervent prayer. When we actively seek the Lord in prayer, He will answer. James 5:16 reminds us, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Do not doubt the power of prayer in your life; it is truly a great adventure with God that is meant to bring you closer to Him. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 2/17/04)
3. Because Jesus wants to remind us that God cares and answers prayer.
Jesus argued that if the unjust judge finally gave in to the widow’s plea, how much more the God who cares for his chosen ones. Let us remember that the delayed answers to our prayers do not mean a close door. It simply means that we must wait, we must do something, and we must be faithful.
This challenge is needed when we are praying for the lost loved ones and friends, the long term plan, the sick and the backsliding family and church members. The encouragement is to keep on praying and the promise was God will answer them.
ILLUSTRATION Charles Lyons, Pastor of Chicago's Armitage Baptist Church, offers an example of the power of prayer: "During the 1980s the OA gang dominated our area. We created a prayer patrol of three or four teams of two men each. These were men with street savvy, men who knew the language and weren't intimidated easily.