Summary: Jesus taught that we should "always pray and not give up." But why? Is God hard of hearing? Is it difficult to get His attention? Or is there something else we don’t understand?
OPEN: The organ in a large church broke down one Sunday morning just before services were to begin. A member of the congregation happened to be a organ repairman and he immediately went to work on the instrument – finding it was a simple electrical problem. When he finally got it fixed it was just about the middle of the sermon. He quietly passed a note to the organist which read: "After prayer - the power will be on."
ILLUS: There’s a supposedly true story of a Welsh woman who lived in a remote valley in Wales. She went to a great deal of trouble and expense to have electrical power installed in her home. However, after a couple of months, the electric company noticed she didn’t seem to use very much electricity at all.
Thinking there might be a problem with the hookup, they sent a meter reader out to check on the matter. The man came to the door and said, "We’ve just checked your meter and it doesn’t seem that you’re using much electricity. Is there a problem?"
Oh no" she said. "We’re quite satisfied. We turn on the electric lights every night to see how to light our lamps and then we switch them off again."
APPLY: Now, why didn’t this woman make more use of her electricity?
She believed in electricity
She believed the promises of the electric company when they told her about it
She went to a great deal of trouble and expense to have her house wired for it
BUT - she didn’t understand the potential of electricity in her home.
AND SO, she used it’s power sparingly
I suspect there are people who use prayer very much the same way.
They believe in prayer
They know of the promises God has made
They’ve even read and heard stories about answered prayers
BUT they use prayer’s power sparingly…
I. I believe that the reason that happens (at least for some Christians) is that many don’t understand how prayer works.
AND many people believe it doesn’t really matter whether they pray or not
They either believe:
* God’s gonna do, what God’s gonna do anyway – so why bother!?
* OR – they regard prayer as a last resort after all of their other efforts have failed.
Sort of like “Hail Mary” pass in football. They throw it up in the air and hope it reaches the desired destination.
They’ll pray a little bit.
They’ll throw up occasional appeals…
But in their heart of hearts, they don’t view prayer as making that big an impact on the decisions they make every day.
But Daniel didn’t pray that way
· Daniel prayed 3 times every day
· He prayed in his room
· He prayed in the lions’ den
· He prayed for wisdom
· He prayed for guidance
· He prayed that God would forgive the sins of His people Israel and return them to their home.
AND NOW, we find Daniel struggling in prayer for 21 days because he’s troubled by a dream he’s had.
Many Christians would have trouble praying for 21 days for anything (I asked for a show of hands of people who remembered praying for that long for any issue - only two out of 140 raised their hands).
However, Luke writes: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’"
And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
REPEAT: Jesus taught us - we should always pray and not give up
ILLUS: We should be like the 3-year-old boy (that Paul Harvey told about) who went to the grocery store with his mother. Before they entered the grocery store she said to him, "Now you’re not going to get any chocolate chip cookies, so don’t even ask."
She put him up in the cart & he sat in the little child’s seat while she wheeled down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the cookie section. He saw the chocolate chip cookies & he stood up in the seat & said, “Mom, can I have some chocolate chip cookies?” She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.” So he sat back down.