Summary: This sermon will allow you to check on the ststus of your prayer life.
A Parable About Persevering in Prayer
by Rev. Wayne Tindale
A number of years ago my associate and I were visiting a woman member who had an antagonistic husband. So we planned it in such a way that we would be there when he was not there. We were planning to see her early in the day and we did not want to antagonize him any further than he already was. So we were pretty much through the visit, we had finished up most of what we wanted to cover, and the front door opened and he came in. And I don’t know about my associate, but I was a little nervous about what we were going to encounter. He was not violent. I just didn’t know how antagonistic he was. So he came past, walking through the living room where we were sitting, and we said hi. We were hoping that would be disarming to some degree. He didn’t acknowledge us. He just looked at us kind of strangely and very cynically and said, "How is the praying going?"
Well I thought that might be a good question actually to ask our church. Not cynically. Not as sarcastically as he did. But, how is your praying going? How well do you pray? If you were to rate yourself or grade yourself, what kind of grade would you give yourself? How effective do you feel your prayers are? Do you feel you really know how to pray? And could you teach someone else how to pray? A good place to start would be our children, of course. But who is going to teach people during the millennium and White Throne Judgment how to pray? Someone is going to have to do that. That is going to be one of our toughest, in one sense, but challenging responsibilities. Are you ready for that assignment? Could you begin right now teaching this class "Learning How To Pray 101"? Could you teach it?
Throughout the Bible God gives a lot of instruction about prayer. It’s fascinating to see bits and pieces, little by little, he teaches how he wants us to address him. God is very concerned that we learn how to pray and pray properly. God is a fabulous teacher and he wants very much for us to learn how to pray, and to pray properly. Because prayer does not come naturally for us. It is not an instinct. It is not something we are born with. It is something we honestly have to learn. To learn to pray effectively is one of the most important and valuable accomplishments we can accomplish in this life. There are many worthwhile things we may set as goals in this life. We may like to travel to many international countries and see the world in that sense. And certainly travel is broadening and it’s very instructive and very educational. But that cannot even begin to compare to learning the importance of how to pray effectively.
Today we want to look a particular parable Jesus gave, a parable found only in the book of Luke. A parable is a story to teach us a lesson. By telling a story Jesus could turn his disciples ears into eyes so they could see the point he was making, and hopefully remember it as well, because people remember stories.
The parable we are examining today teaches some very important points about prayer. It is kind of a humorous story when we look at it, one that is designed to teach us some very important lessons about prayer. It gives us a deeper insight not only into how to pray, but also gives us some interesting insight into the way God thinks, what kind of God he is.
Before we turn to the parable we want to set the stage by reviewing the question, why do we pray? Why is it that you and I pray? What is the purpose for prayer? Prayer is talking to God. It is communication. Communication is necessary in any healthy relationship. There has got to be conversation, communication. And God wants what? He wants a relationship with us, his children. He is creating a family. He wants contact. He wants to develop a relationship with us, his children. Prayer is a tool for developing this healthy, strong bond, this connection, this relationship with God. And since prayer is talking to God we perhaps ought to ask another question, why do parents teach children how to talk? And how to talk to them? Why are parents anxious for those kids to learn to talk? And to teach them to talk. Much of it is so there can be this relationship to develop, this close family rapport, this bond between parents and children. We understand that on a physical level. But the same thing is true spiritually, that God wants us to learn to talk. And to talk to him effectively so that relationship, that deep, close, personal relationship can be developed. Because there is a closeness that comes with good communication. There is a feeling of belonging, a feeling of connecting, I think you know what I mean, of interacting and relating with one another in a close and meaningful way.