October 6, 2021

October 6, 2021

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
October 06, 2021

“Men ought always to pray and not lose heart.”

Luke 18:1

Jesus is letting us know that when it comes to prayer there is a danger we could lose heart. When we lose heart we often find that we either become rather careless or our prayers get muted or we even stop praying. We need to be reminded rather regularly of the importance of prayer.

Why is prayer important? If I asked you for ten reasons why prayer is important I am sure most of you could come up with more than ten reasons. I am going to give five and these are not necessarily the most important ones.

1.   Because we witness a high level of engagement and commitment to prayer in Scripture by Old Testament and New Testament saints. It is hard to find a person in your Bible who gets a high profile, whether it is Abraham, Moses, David or Hannah, that is not committed to prayer. They were all committed to prayer. When you turn to the New Testament, if you read the letters of the apostle Paul, many begin with prayer, also an outburst of prayer sometimes halfway and at the back end he often sums up with another prayer. Lengthy prayers are often found in the Pauline epistles. Jesus was the best of the best, the perfect man certainly when it came to prayer. In Luke’s gospel, Luke mentions at least nine distinct occasions when Jesus prayed: at his baptism, after he did miracles, before the choosing of the twelve, before he taught his disciples about the coming passion, at the transfiguration, the return of the seventy, when he taught his disciples how to pray, in the garden of Gethsemane, and at the cross. Jesus died while praying. The most godly of saints were actively committed to prayer.
2.   Jesus gave specific instructions as to how to pray. Everything Jesus teaches us is important, he never wasted a word. He taught us a lot about prayer. He focused upon prayer more than any other religious activity. Think of the Sermon on the Mount, he deals with fasting and with alms giving. But in terms of how much time or talking he does about prayer it far exceeds either one of those other religious activities. So Jesus gives a lot of air time to prayer and also two of his parables are shaped by prayer. In the parable of the persevering widow and also the parable of the publican and the sinner who go up to the temple to pray. Jesus gave a substantial amount of teaching to prayer.
3.   The New Testament church prayed. When you open up the book of Acts in chapters 1 and 2 you get a snapshot of the church. Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer.” The church was found praying. There is a great emphasis upon corporate praying in the book of Acts, Acts 1, 2, 4, 12, and 16. The church was never a prayerless church. Most churches don’t have a prayer meeting, it’s kind of sad. The church in the New Testament gave themselves to prayer, corporate life was shaped by prayer. If we are growing as Christians and as a church prayer should have a higher and higher priority, not less and less.
4.   The warfare context of Ephesians 6. Paul picks up that war analogy where he draws that big graphic of that well-armed, well-equipped soldier. After describing the various pieces of equipment, the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the gospel shoes; he mentions the importance of prayer. He says, “Praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.” He is saying you cannot fight this fight without prayer. Prayer is effective when it comes to using those weapons effectively and when it comes to putting on the whole armor of God.
5.   The clear mandates to pray. Prayer is never suggested, it is commanded. 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” It is put in an imperative form, the verb, so it is a command, this is what Jesus is requiring of us. Jesus gives us that clear directive in Luke 18, “Men ought always to pray.”

We should always be praying. I really believe the more you love Christ, the more you love God’s people, the more you love lost sinners, the more you will pray.

Spurgeon was probably the most influential, evangelical preacher in human history, (obviously he was post apostles), and he couldn’t remember preaching a sermon where someone wasn’t saved. Whenever Spurgeon was asked as to the secret of his ministry he replied, “My people pray for me.” A story is told of someone coming to the church to see how it was set up and they went down to the boiler room and that is where people were praying. Every Sunday a hundred people would gather to pray for the ministry of C.H. Spurgeon.

Pray for more of an earnest praying, more regular praying and more consistent praying privately and corporately.