October 26, 2022

October 26, 2022

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
October 26, 2022

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For awhile he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will he find faith on earth?”

Luke 18:1-8

Someone has said this in regard to reading our Bibles and it could also be applied to praying, “One of the greatest dangers we face as Christians is that we can no longer get enthusiastic, excited, thrilled with regard to the means of grace. Familiarity breeds contempt.” We have all heard that, haven’t we? It shows itself up most frequently in terms of the private means and ultimately the public means of grace. So we can go through the motions when it comes to reading our Bibles, and the same with prayer. It can become sort of a humdrum exercise. It's almost like we're falling asleep at the switch. We go through the motions and that's why we constantly need to remind ourselves of the privilege of prayer.

Prayer is a unique and distinct privilege. Not everybody can pray. I think everybody thinks they can pray, but not everybody can pray, not in the Christian way, not in the true way. Not everybody can go to the Father as the Father, not everybody can go in the name of Christ, it's a blood bought privilege.

We also could say this, not everybody has the Holy Spirit, so they can't pray as God's children. The Spirit of adoption is given to us to enable us to cry out, “Abba Father.” So that means billions and billions and billions of people think they are praying when in reality they're not. They're talking to a god of their own imaginations, and even Jesus warned about a wrong kind of praying, didn't He, in the Sermon on the Mount? Remember he said, “Do not pray like the hypocrites,” and then he went on to say, “Do not pray like the Gentiles,” who have a kind of mumbo jumbo approach to prayer. They heap up empty praises thinking they might be heard, but in reality they are not being heard by God. And so only the Christian can pray in the full sense of that word. It's interesting when Saul of Tarsus was converted in Acts 9, the first indication we have that he was converted was that he prayed, “Behold, he prayed.” I am sure he did a lot of “praying,” but he really wasn't praying, not until after he was converted. So it's good to remind us brethren, of the awesome privilege we have when it comes to prayer.

Praying is a mark of a true child of God. God has no dumb children, they pray. There can be lots of times where we struggle with prayer, lots of fits and starts, but the Christian doesn't give up. Some of you have been praying as Christians for 30 to 40 years; some of you've been coming to prayer meetings for 30 plus years. That's extraordinary. Prayer is not easy, it’s perseverance; that's what's required.

Going back to the parable in Luke 18, Jesus gives us a description of that persevering widow trying to underscore the importance of persevering prayer. And notice when he closes off that parable with this question (it’s somewhat of a haunting question), “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Jesus is saying, “True faith will show itself in persevering prayer.” Faith doesn't give up, that's the point he's making. Even though we have many struggles, difficulties, challenges, distractions, busyness, etc., the devil doesn't want us to pray, even our own hearts at times can be militant to prayer.

But we can't give up and if God is your Father, Jesus is your Savior. If the Holy Spirit indwells you, you won't give up, you can’t give up, the Christian won't. It's a wonderful evidence of true grace. Again, the words of Jesus, “The elect cry unto him day and night.”