Summary: God calls us to offer prayers with definite requests.
As we mentioned last time, our Lord’s disciples had asked Him to teach them to pray (v. 1). As part of our Lord’s response to His disciple’s request, He told them a parable. A parable designed to teach us how to pray as we ought.
Last time we said that from this parable we learn that our prayers must be daring in size, stubbornness, and sacrifice. Now, I want us to look at a second truth this parable. What kind of praying must we do?
Our prayers must be definite - v. 5
This man was very definite in making his request. He did not ask for “some loaves,” but he specifically ask for “three loaves.” Likewise, God calls us to pray in a definite manner rather than in generalities.
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God." - Philippians 4:6 (Amplified)
“With all prayer and petition (definite requests) pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” - Ephesians 6:18 (NASB)
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions (definite requests), prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.” - 1 Timothy 2:1 (NIV)
Scripture says our requests of God should be definite. Why?
1. Definite praying makes us aware of our need of God.
When we pray in generalities, it is easy to ignore our need for God to be involved in every area of our lives. But when I commit to definite praying, I will lift up requests for each area of life, whether it be my spiritual growth, my finances, my friendships, my marriage, my kids, my job, my school, my business, my investments, or whatever.
By offering definite requests, we are helped to see the truth of what Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing” - John 15:5 (NIV)!
If any part of me is apart from Him, then my life will fall apart!
There are two ways whereby I can realize my need of God. One way I can come to understand my need of God is . . .
A. The way of pride.
If I live thinking I can “go it alone,” I will eventually be humbled by God, as I experience irritation, aggravation, and frustration in life.
A boy asked his father to explain the differences between irritation, aggravation and frustration.
The dad picked up the telephone and dialed a number at random. When someone answered he asked, “Can I speak to Alf please.” “You have the wrong number. There’s no Alf here.” The dad said, “That’s irritation.”
Then the boy’s father hit “redial” and asked for Alf a second tune. The voice on the other end said, “I told you when you called last time that there’s no one named Alf here!” The dad said, “Son, that’s aggravation.”
“What’s frustration?” asked the boy. The dad picked up the phone, hit redial again and said, “Hi, this is Alf. Do I have any messages?”
“God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful) - [and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them],” - 1 Peter 5:5 (Amplified)
If you’ve lived any length of time, I don’t have to explain irritation, aggravation, or frustration is to any of you, because all of us eventually experience the truth Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV): “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
The question is, “what do I do when I have been humbled by God?”
I need to get off the path of pride and choose to humble myself under the mighty power of God! How do I do that? What does Peter say?
“God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble. So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.” - 1 Peter 5:5-7 (NLT)
While I can come to understand my need of God as a result of following the way of pride, it is far better and preferable that I cultivate the awareness of my need of God by means of . . .
B. The way of prayer.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you,” - 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)
As I daily turn “cares” into “prayers,” through casting all my cares on the Lord, I grow in my awareness of my need of God, and as a result of walking humbly before Him, I will find myself saying along with Paul, “I can do ALL things through Christ,” (Philippians 4:13).