Luke 18:1-8 – 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 a while 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?”
THEME OF THE DAY. PRAYER: THE ULTIMATE REVEALER. Today’s scripture is profound truth taught by Jesus in regards to prayer. The first truth is the constancy of prayer in the lives of His people. He said, “They (His people) ought always to pray and not lose heart.” We find the same instruction given by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonian church – “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If we are immediately thinking, “Pray all the time? I cannot do that. Do you know what’s on my plate every day?”, then we don’t understand prayer. Prayer is not a hit and miss thing we do or a cry to God for help in a tough spot. Yes, we do seek His help, but prayer is not a “break glass in case of emergency” type of thing. Prayer is a love language through which we encounter God to know and love Him. It will include periods of time alone with God and walking throughout our busy days recognizing His Presence.
The next truth about prayer in today’s scripture is in the final words of our Lord – “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” With the word “nevertheless”, Jesus is bringing a conclusion to the parable. And get what He is saying. It is eye-opening; spiritual eye-opening. Jesus equates perseverance or constancy in prayer as an indicator of the presence of true faith in Him! Do we see it? In this context, He doesn’t define faith as a “decision for Him” or “a profession of belief in Him”. He is telling us the evidence of true faith in Him is a praying life; a consistent and fervent praying life. When it comes to revealing our true spiritual condition, the ultimate revealer may well be our prayer life. Our obedience to the command to “pray without ceasing” goes a long way in determining the quality of our walk with the Lord. But I don’t want to discourage any of us in the struggle we have in our prayer lives. It is battle. The flesh never yields time for prayer. The world constantly pulls us away from prayer. And the devil? This is the area in the Christian life and life of the church he attacks most because it is the most important. Yet, we can defeat all three; we can say “no” to the flesh and the world. And we can defeat the schemes of the devil seeking to derail our prayer lives. Here are three simple truths to help us have a prayer life honoring the Lord and drawing us near to Him.
First, realize the Lord in all His power is able and willing to not only teach us to pray, but empower us to defeat our foes so we may pray. Test Him by obeying Him – “pray without ceasing.” Next, see prayer as the love of God inviting us to seek time with Him to know, experience and love Him. Start seeing prayer in this way and we will not neglect it. In fact, we will protect times of prayer and live in the spirit of prayer. Finally, seek prayer as a privilege and responsibility that God gives us. This will lead us to a life of obedience which testifies of our love for the Lord (John 14:15). Change prayer from “We have to” to an attitude of “We get to.”
Prayer is the life-blood of the Christian and church. It reveals the presence of true faith and provides a sure assessment of our walk with the Lord. May He not only teach us to pray, but show us the importance and intimacy of prayer.
PRAYER: “Lord, show me Your heart toward prayer, then teach me to discipline my flesh to pray.”
QUOTE: “Our prayer lives are the ultimate test of our pursuit of Christ and growth in Christlikeness”