One of my favorite quotes on prayer comes from Martin Luther. Here is what he had to say about the need for Christians to be people of prayer. “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.” I don’t know exactly when he made this quote but I was able to find it on the Internet. It has always been a meaningful statement to show the value of spending more time in prayer. For me, it also demonstrates a value in prayer that requires constancy and persistence.
Last week we looked at the startling request the disciples made of Jesus. Their request was, “Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples”. Even though we studied that passage in my last blog it just amazes me that His followers, including the Apostles, felt the need for more training in prayer. Is your prayer life suffering? If so, is it because you have not been taught to pray? It seems to me that we all could use more training designed to enhance our prayer life.
After giving the disciples the Lord’s prayer, He gave them an example from everyday life to show the need for persistence in prayer. To gain more understanding on prayer please read the following verses from the gospel of Luke.
“And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:5–13 (ESV)
Notice the following helpful ideas on praying we can learn from what Jesus said in the example found in Luke’s gospel.
- When the need is urgent there is no such a thing as an inopportune time to make your request. Jesus used the example of a neighbor in need of help who was banging on the door of his friend’s house late at night asking for assistance. The first response was “Do not bother me, it is late, we are in bed and I cannot give you anything!” Isn’t that about how most of us would react under a similar circumstance? Yet, urgency compelled that the neighbor continue pounding on the door until he received a positive result to his urgent request.
- Persistence gets results. Furthermore, Jesus said that, at first, even though the man in bed would not give anything to his friend he quickly changed his mind because of his friend’s impudence (persistence). So he quickly arose from his bed and gave his friend everything he needed. Of course, God is not man and has none of the quick excuses we humans often make for not doing the right thing. However, the lesson is clear. If we persist in our prayers, and if they are according to God’s will, He will give us what we ask of Him, 1 John 5:14-15.
- God appreciates it when His people ask Him for blessings through prayer. He wants us to ask so that He can give. He appreciates it when we Then He will be sure that we find those good things that we ask of Him. When we knock on God’s door, He will open to us. One of the lessons on prayer from this passage is that God wants us to show the true depth of our requests. We must be persistent. We must ask, seek, and find in order to receive. When we avail ourselves of an audience with God by knocking on His door with persistence, then, we will receive His blessed answer to our prayers.
- If our earthly fathers know how to give good things to their children, how much more will God give to those who ask Him for blessings? For sure, God is a better Father than any human being. He not only wants to give His children His blessings, He also knows what is best for each of us. It would be nice if each of us who follow the Lord knew what was the best thing for us to ask of the Lord. But we don’t. Sometimes our prayers are filled with selfish desires. Other times we are full of pride like the man Jesus described in the story of the Publican and the Pharisee, Luke 18:9-14.. One thing we know for sure is that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change,” James 1:17.
Our prayer life will become better when we realize that without Him we have nothing. When it comes to prayer for God’s assistance there is no such thing an inopportune time to ask. You can go to God anytime day or night. Know that persistence gets results. Show God you really mean it when you pray. Oftentimes God wants to see just how badly we desire those things that we ask of Him. Do not think your prayers are a bother to God. Our Heavenly father delights in us when we ask for His blessings through prayer. As much as your parents, your spouse, your children or your friends have blessed your life they cannot compare to our Heavenly Father. Do you have some requests to make of Him? If so, why not make them right now. And ~ do so with faith and persistency.