When we think of church, we often think of sermon and worship. There is an element of church we often regret. Jesus said that the church will be a house of prayer. Prayer is one of the definitions of a Christian and a Church.
God designed us to want to communicate with Him in prayer. A lot of us don’t pray because we don’t believe God exist or that God answers our prayers.
Back in my university days, I hardly prayed. Someone challenged me to pray 1 hour a day. I took the challenge. And I tried to pray every day, and it was very hard. I worshipped, prayed in tongues (I don’t’ know even if I am praying rightly!) One day, I heard an audible voice when I prayed and I kept hearing God speaking to me and a lot of things God spoke, came to pass. That changed my life. When I heard God, my life starts to change. Prayer becomes my desire and delight to me.
Let me go into the gospel of Luke for tips on Prayer:
- Parable of Persistent widow -Be persistent in prayer.
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor [a]regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, [b]‘Get justice for me from my adversary.”-Luke 18:1-3
If we believe that now it’s the end times, do we persist in prayer? Precisely this is an urgent time, Jesus knew that we should not lose heart and continue to persist in prayer.
In this parable, the judge don’t really care for God or men. The widow wasn’t asking too much but fair treatment. I believe Jesus chose a helpless widow, depending on the mercy of the Judge. Us, we are dependable on God’s mercy as well.
4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will [c]avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’
Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Even unjust Judge will render justice because of the persistence of the widow. God is just! God calls us His Elect. God will promptly carry out justice on our behalf.
Lets us reflect on God more. Let us reflect in His Word, worship and in prayer. If we spend time scrolling on the phone and internet, we might miss out those times where we can reflect on God.
Question: How do we understand the fact that God is prompt to answer our prayer and yet we need to persist in prayer?
God is finding faith on earth (v8)
Do we believe God is all powerful, all loving, wise
Many of us thinking that God maybe always late. But God says that He is prompt in answering us. His timing is not always ours.
When we cannot trace His hand, can we still trust in His heart? Relatively only few of us will remain faithful in prayer. Before the author of Hebrew praised Noah for his faith and obedience to God:
“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”-Hebrews 11:7
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. -Hebrews 11:6
Will we have faith in God such that we will be faithful in prayer to God? Will Jesus find faith on earth? Will Jesus find faith in us? When He comes, He is looking for faith, do you have faith in Him?
- B) Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector
The pharisee is an icon of righteousness and the tax collector is an icon of unrighteousness. The Pharisee is doing everything right: he prayed, he fasted and even give the temple all this money! What else can he be doing wrongly? There is only one problem. He is coming to God with his merits and not based on God’s. We also failed to see that we have failed God’s standards: we failed to see that though we fasted, but we did not abstain from selfishness. Though we did give to the church, but we did not give out of gratitude. However, the tax collector prayed with the sense of a need of God’s mercy, it is a prayer posture that pleases God.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be [d]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The only way is to enter God’s throne is to go to God in mercy and ask for His grace, in your brokenness. With what attitude do we pray each day?
When we humble ourselves before God, God comes near to us. Even when we persist in prayer, lets us also come to God in humility, seeking His mercy.
The only way, for sinful man to be righteous in God’s sight, is to acknowledge our lack of personal righteousness, and our need for God’s mercy.
The only way, for sinful man to enter God’s throne room in prayer, is to enter it with humility and brokenness.
In Conclusion: preserve in prayer, God’s answer is near. Be humble in prayer, God is near.