Christianity 106: Learn To Pray Luke 18:1-14 (HCSB) May 06, 2012
In a preface to what we call the Lord’s prayer one of the disciples asks, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The request came after Jesus had a time of prayer. The disciple must have recognized a difference.
1. Learn To Pray, Be . . . Persistent. Lk. 18:1-5
A. Be Persistent, Don’t Become . . . Discouraged. 18:1-3
1 He then told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not become
discouraged: 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect man.
3 And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my
B. Be Persistent, Don’t Worry about . . . Distress. 18:4-5
4 “For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God
or respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so she
doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’”
Persistent prayer does not mean we pester God with endless prayers. It means we continue to pray by taking our burden to the Lord and leaving it there. God does not need to be reminded, but neither is He offended by a weekly or daily request for the same thing. Since being a pastor in Piedmont, I have prayed for a lost man hundreds of times. This man has now moved away but I still pray for him with some regularity. I will not be surprised to get a call from him as he tells me he got saved. God is not a judge who can only be reached by pestering Him. He is a loving heavenly father who cares about us and the needs we pray about. We need not become discouraged or distressed.
2. Learn To Pray, Be . . . Patient and Faithful. Lk. 18:6-8
A. Be Patient . . . Trust the Lord. 18:6-7
6 Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 Will not God grant justice to
His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He delay to help them?
B. Be Patient, Be . . . Trusting by Faith. 18:8
8 I tell you that He will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find that faith on earth?”
As we cry out in prayer, our request needs to be focused in trust as we trust our Lord. We might say, “I trust in the Lord but cannot understand why my prayer is not answered. Our trust in Him needs to focus on His knowledge, not ours. I remind myself every once in a while that His ways are higher than mine.” If we trust the Lord, it will show in our acts of trusting and demonstrations of faith.
3. Learn To Pray without a . . . Prideful Attitude. Lk. 18:9-12
A. Not Prideful nor . . . Self Righteous. 18:9- 10
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: 10 “Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
B. Not Prideful nor . . . Self Satisfied. 18:11-12
11 The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not
like other people—greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’
Do you ever say something or hear others say things that seem to indicate a self righteous attitude? If we do, we need to get that out of our system. The Lord talked about a Pharisee who trusted in Himself and thought of himself as righteous. When we pray we need to be humble. We need not be self-satisfied or comparing ourselves to another human. I do not remember hearing prayers like the Pharisee’s lifted toward God. In my opinion, it breaks most of the guidance God gives related to prayer. The big difference comes when you look for some indication that this man knew the Lord.
4. Learn To Pray with . . . Personal Restraint. Lk. 18:13-14
A. Personal Restraint with a . . . Humble Attitude. 18:13
13 “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me—a sinner!’
A. Personal Restraint with . . . Honor from the Lord. 18:13
14 I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
When you have had a time in prayer did it follow with a sense of approval from the Lord? The tax collector very humbly admitted his sin and need of the Savior, His humility stands out very prominently. The Lord honored this man by saying to all those listening, and to us reading, that the tax collector’s prayer received approval because of his humility. In reading several books about prayer, many said something like this, “I have not graduated from the school of prayer; I am still a learner.” All of us need to learn more about prayer. Amen? Amen!