Intro: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
~ Thomas Edison
(Read Luke 18:1-8 from the pew Bible) What’s the point of this parable?
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (That’s the interpretation of it, said right at the beginning)
2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
Why do we act? (motivations from this parable)
1. Fear of God - Even if no one knows…
Character is what you are when you are alone… between me and God.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
If I don’t confess and renounce my sins, my prayers won’t be heard by God.
Example: I used to go to church so my parents would be happy with a bag of dope in the glove compartment of my truck. I left it there because I didn’t want to get struck dead for bringing it into the church.
Having the fear of God means I cast all sin out of my life at all costs even if no one knows about them but God alone.
Review: Fear of God is 1 motivation for action.
2. Fear of Man (praise of man)
The request was justice.
Why would the fear of man motivate giving the woman justice?
Example: Remember Solomon and the 2 prostitutes?
‘When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.”
1 Kings 3:28
He earned praise from people once word spread.
Review: Fear of Man is the 2nd motivation for action.
Praise of God and of men are things most people care about.
This judge cared about neither.
4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me,
I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’”
A 3rd possible motivator for action:
3. Persistent Petition
Example: Dog scratching the door to come in.
6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.”
Cry out day and night… Persistent Petition
It seems that in God’s eyes…
1. is motivating to God.
What’s the difference between this and the verse about babbling like pagans?
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Jesus condemning the prayer of the Pharisees done in public for public praise.
“…the service of the tongue, when it is not the service of the soul…
the danger of this error is when we only say our prayers, and not when we pray them…”
~ Matthew Henry
“There is no merit in late-hour prayer, but it requires a serious mind and a determined heart to pray past the ordinary unto the unusual. Most Christians never do. And it is more than possible that the rare soul who presses on into the unusual experience reaches there after midnight.”
Born after Midnight - A.W. Tozer
demonstrates authenticity.. to both God and to the petitioner.
2. turns the ordinary unto the unusual.
Will he keep putting them off?
What if you’ve been praying a lot without answer?
Unanswered prayer is a disturbing mystery for many.
Does it really work?
Jesus says, “Be persistent”, but what then?
What am I praying for?
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly,
to spend it on your passions.
Example: My prayer list: 2 categories.
Things about and for me and things for and about others
Most things for and about me are best said in the form of prayers of surrender
“Thy will be done.”
Jesus in the Garden.
3. betters even the self-centered.
The widow begged for justice from her adversary.
Many possible prayer requests, but here we are taught to keep praying.
Am I praying persistently?
Example: Bill’s text.
“Almost every morning when I pray for the salvation of my grandchildren and a few others, I always pray a prayer for you and Annso that is a prayer that I pray multiple times a day for myself. I pray for a ‘pure heart ‘ so that what comes out of my mouth does not defile me. This prayer is based on Jesus speaking in Matthew 15:18-19 Amplified.
The heart can be a very dark and dangerous place. I beg for its purification for myself and those I love as I believe daily peace and harmony are found in a pure heart as God defined.
Telling you about my prayers just to remind you that you guys are not forgotten and not because I am a great thoughtful guy. I just want for you what I seek for myself.”
Bill prays this thing every day. He is persistent.
The widow cried out for justice against adversaries.
“Our battle is not against flesh and blood.” (Ephesians 6)
4. defeats difficult adversaries.
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:1-8 (ESV)
Will Jesus find us praying or will we have given up, grown cold?
Private prayer is totally worthless unless it works.
5. builds lasting faith.
Why am I praying this?
Application: Is there something or something you stopped praying for?