Prayer and the Persistent Person, Part 1 (Praying Through the Bible #171)

TEXT: Luke 18:1-8

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 170 messages in this series.

This is message #171 titled, Prayer and the Persistent Person, Part 1

Walt Disney, the creator of Disneyland and the now nearly ubiquitous Disney entertainment empire, was once fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas; he also went bankrupt several times in his career. Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, did not make his high school basketball team in his sophomore year. Beethoven’s teacher once said he was hopeless as a composer. Henry Ford’s business ventures failed, and he went broke five times before he finally succeeded with creating a motor vehicle. Theodore Geisel — better known as Dr. Seuss — was rejected by publishers 26 times before he published his first book and went on to sell over 200 million books in 15 languages before he died.

What do all of these people have in common? Persistence. They didn’t give up on what they felt called to accomplish. When they failed they got back up. When doors were shut in their faces, they knocked again and again. When people told them “no,” they kept on asking. They were persistent. Calvin Coolidge once said, “Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Jesus wants us to have that kind of mentality when it come to prayer. Once again, he demonstrates this principle through a parable. Unlike other parables, Luke does not give us the story first and leave us to work out its meaning. He tells us up front that ‘Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.’ The whole point of the story — the “end” or the “moral of the story” — is the power and value of always praying and never fainting.

The word “men”, of course, includes all of God’s people including women and children. The word “ought” means “it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, or it is right and proper”. As you go through life, you will come to realize that it is indeed necessary for you to pray because you do not have the wisdom or insight to make it on your own. Therefore, it behooves you to pray. It is right and proper for you to pray.

But not just for you to pray, but pray “always.” The Greek word translated “always” simply means “at all times.” We ought to pray at good times and bad. We ought to pray at times of success and at times of failure. We ought to pray during celebration and despair. Every occasion is an occasion for prayer. Beyond specific times of prayer, we ought to always be in a spirit of prayer. Being in a spirit of prayer means that your heart and mind is in open communion with God. When that is the case, you don’t have to get worked up to pray. You don’t have to go to church to pray. You don’t have to have a special time to pray. If you are in the spirit of prayer, you will be ready and able to pray at all times.

However, we are told not just to pray, not just to pray always, but to pray always and “not faint.” You might wonder, how can someone faint in prayer? If you don’t know the answer to that question, then I am afraid you have never really tried to pray.

The word “faint” means “to be utterly spiritless, to be weary, to be exhausted.” Yes, you can become weary and exhausted during prayer. Why? Because, as someone once said, ‘prayer is warfare.’

You can grow weary and exhausted in prayer through the weakness of the flesh. Jesus once said, “the Spirit [that is, the Holy Spirit living inside of us] is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Your flesh does not like to pray always. Your flesh will tell you that it is a waste of time. Your flesh will tell you not to bother. Your flesh will tell you that you can do it without God’s help. If you give in to your flesh, you will grow weary and exhausted in prayer, and you will begin to faint.

Not only does your flesh fight against your prayer life, but we have another real enemy — the devil — who fights against prayer. The devil hates prayer. He hates to see God’s children communicating with their Heavenly Father, and he will do everything in his power to try to stop us. Robert Liparulo wrote a story once about a group of evil spiritual beings who are able to see the prayers of God’s children as threads of blue light connecting earth to heaven. These evil beings hunt down the prayer warriors and try to destroy them. That is what the devil will do to you. If he knows that you are praying, you can rest assured that you are on the devil’s hit list. He wants you to faint in prayer.

Not only can we faint in prayer because of our flesh and because of the devil, but we can faint in prayer because we get discouraged that God has not answered our prayer in the way that we want, or He has not answered at all. When we don’t get something that we want in the way that we want it at the time when we want it, our first reaction is to stop asking. However, Jesus tells us to keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.

Just like the successful people I named at the beginning of this message — Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Dr. Seuss, Michael Jordan, and others — keep moving forward. Stay with it. Don’t give up. Be persistent. That is the whole point of Jesus’ parable. Is your flesh undermining your prayer life? Pray always and don’t faint! Is the devil attacking you because you are praying? Pray always and don’t faint! Are you getting discouraged because your prayer has not been answered? Don’t give up. Persist in prayer. Pray always and don’t faint!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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