Why is prayer so difficult to some folk? Is it because we reason, we are only talking to the air, it’s imaginary, it’s just something people do who really have lost their minds? Is it because we’ve tried praying before and well..let’s just face it..nothing happened…or worst …the opposite of what you prayed happened..so now you’ve totally given up on the prayer thing..Some folk reason..Well, if there really is a God who is in control of everything…then He certainly doesn’t have time for my prayer, He’s already made decisions about everything ….so what will my little prayer mean.. And there are other folk who feel they’d like to pray more..but they really don’t know how..
That’s what Jesus disciples were probably thinking on this particular day mentioned in this passage..
The passage is recorded in Luke 11:1-13
The truth is we should pray without fainting.. The bible is very clear that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much..
If you are a parent…imagine with me for just a moment.. your child is about 5 years old, you drop them off to kindergarten everyday…and one day the teacher calls you in and says they need to speak with you about your child..They tell you that your child has been having some anxiety issues… your child just gets up out of their seat and walks the floors for no reason every day appearing worried..your child is very distracted from their school work and they are not engaging with the other children well..and sometimes they even cry …You ask the teacher..”Have you asked my child why they are behaving this way?” and the teacher says..”Why yes I have..” You say: ” what did the child say?”the teacher says..”Each day the child says your not going to come and get them, they believe you will just leave them here” You say..But I’ve come everyday to pick them up on time..even before now, they were in nursery and every day I picked them up..what would cause them to have this perception of me.. I am not threatening them that I won’t come to get them, I’ve never insinuated that I don’t love them..why would they believe I wouldn’t come to get them and take them home where they have a bed and their own room and clothes and food to eat?? You leave astounded and you feel bewildered that your child would ever believe that about you…that you would ever leave or abandon them is the furthest thing from your mind..you love them and want their well being even over your own…
Now let’s just flip this script a little… at the beginning of this text..in verse 1 of Luke 11…Jesus is praying..by Himself..and His disciples are eavesdropping..Notice they don’t interrupt Him, they wait until He’s finished…then they ask Him..”Teach us to pray” Obviously, they’ve seen Jesus praying before..It’s a regular custom, something He does everyday, this is something they’ve noticed he’s serious about..He knows something evidently they don’t know about prayer…
In other words..We’ve been watching Your life and Your ministry and we’ve seen You heal the sick and even raise the day..We’ve seen You feed multitudes of people and we’ve seen You cast demons out of people..with just a word, and we were wondering where You got Your power until we saw You communing with Your Father..Now we’ve been praying all of our lives..we are Jews …we were trained to do so from our youth up, we go to the temple too and we know all about what they do…but something about what You do is different…You are very personal in Your prayers and they reflect a relationship that brings about a power that helps You do things other people who pray can’t do..will You please teach us this?? Don’t teach us how to heal the sick, don’t teach us how to raise the dead..all that was really cool stuff…we want the source! We want the relationship You have with the Father..
Without hesitation Jesus gave them the model prayer..but then He did something I think was profound…He gave them illustrations…throughout the chapter that I thought were completely instrumental..I want to share them without taking up too much of your time. He started however by pointed out that Abba is Our Father..He’s not just Jesus Father..this implied relationship..let’s keep that part of the context in tact..
#1. He talks about a person who goes to a friends house at midnight…They have what they consider an emergency…A guest has come to their home and they have nothing to give them to eat..Let me level with you … unless me and that person are Real Close..I’m not going to knock on anyone’s door unannounced to ask them for some of their food to give to another person who just happened to come to my house in the middle of the night..that person would be waiting until the morning, because they probably should have told me they were coming in the first place… But the moral of the story isn’t necessarily the relationship the two friends have..although that is a key point..it’s that the person kept asking! Even though the friend originally says NO! After all it is midnight.. You can’t possibly expect them to jump up and they have a family sleeping as well, and come to the door to give you 3 loaves of their bread and your not even offering to pay them back..That’s not the point..Prayer isn’t for the faint of heart..Jesus is proving a point here..In order to be successful at prayer..You’ve gotta do it often and You’ve gotta keep asking until you see the thing you’ve believed according to the word..that’s what we call faith in bible terms…even when the first response is NO! Keep Asking, Keep Knocking, and Keep Seeking..Never give Up!
This particular story reminded me of the one in Luke 18 where the widow goes before the judge for justice..she knows what her rights are and she constantly petitions the judge until he reasons..I will give her what she wants not because I care anything about her or God..but unless she wearies me with her coming and make me look like a wicked judge before these people…
#2. Let’s say one of your children ask you for a fish..that’s reasonable right? They want something to eat..You as a parent have a mandate to provide them with this..it’s part of “your job” right.. would you give them a snake …or say they’ve asked you for an egg..would your give them a scorpion..What’s Jesus’ point.. When we pray and ask God for things He will not take our prayers and give us what will harm us..He will always give us what will help us because He is the best parent there is..and just as a child can trust their parent won’t give them something that will harm Him..we must be able to trust that God won’t give us something that will harm us ultimately..
When we look at the 2 illustrations He gives us in this particular text as it relates to prayer..we can extract these 2 truths..that we need to know and settle if we will be a person of True Prayer..
It may be that you’ve been in the category of one of those people mentioned earlier..You’ve given up on prayer for one of many reasons..Maybe you just don’t feel that connected to God..although You know He’s Your Father, I want you to know He wants relationship with You. He doesn’t want you to come to Him treating Him like He’s a genie or a sugar daddy, He wants to meet Your needs, but just like any other parent.. He wants a genuine relationship with His children since He doesn’t have grandchildren. Maybe Your that person who says..I’ve tried praying before and hey if God’s gonna do something for me..He’s gotta read my mind..and know that I want Him to heal my marriage, or help me to deal with the person on my job, or deliver my children from bad decision making..Or heal my mother whose sick..If this were the case He would not implore us to pray and not faint…He would not say Whatsoever things You desire…as them in prayer..believing and You will receive them..only do not ask amidst to fulfill your own lust..and ask according to His word..out of your relationship with Him..and You will know True Prayer!