By Vance Drum
The Sunset pastor on Sunday continued our Drawing Near to God series with a message, “Persevering in Prayer,” with a Luke 18:1 text: “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
Have you ever been involved in a project, and you worked and worked on it, without much result, and you found yourself getting tired in the effort? Or perhaps you were doing the right thing, but you faced many obstacles which wore you down, or even stopped you in your tracks for a time. What should be our response to hindrances to our progress?
The pastor made three points: (1) The Nature of Prayer; (2) The Value of Prayer; (3) The Last Question about Prayer.
(1) The Nature of Prayer. Luke says, v1: “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. In this parable Jesus told a story about a widow and a judge, and he compared it to prayer, with the main point being: Persevere in prayer, and do not give up. Why might Jesus’ disciples give up on prayer?
One reason is that in prayer we’re dealing not in the physical but the spiritual realm. Prayer in many ways has to do with not what is visible but what is invisible. God is a Spirit, and when we pray to Him, we pray to a Spirit being who is real, but who is also unseen.
Over a long period of time, it’s possible that we can become so wrapped up in the things that are seen (keeping up the house, maintaining the vehicle, for example) that we lose sight of that which is unseen. We may forget about God, who lives outside created space and time.
But the Bible says that there is also an invisible, spiritual realm. Paul says (Colossians 1:16) that Jesus “created all things…, visible and invisible.” And he says (2 Corinthians 4:18) that in Christ we “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
We don’t fix our eyes on the invisible air we breathe, but we believe in it, and value it.
We can’t fix our physical eyes on anyone who’s lived in history (George Washington, for example). But we believe he lived because of reliable historical testimony.
Jesus here says, Don’t give up praying to God just because you do not see him. Paul also said (2 Corinthians 5:7): “We walk by faith, not by sight.” In prayer we activate the invisible, spiritual aspect of our lives.
(2) The Value of Prayer. Jesus’ story was that a widow had a grievance that she kept going to a judge about. The judge was unjust, caring neither about God nor people. But the widow was persistent. She didn’t give up asking. So finally the judge, not wanting to be worn out by this woman’s persistent prayer for relief, said he would grant her request. And Jesus then said that God, unlike the unjust judge, would answer quickly the prayers of his chosen ones.
God answers according to His wisdom and will. John says (1 John 5:14), “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us [and] we have what we asked of him.”
(3) The Last Question about Prayer. V8: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Prayer is the expression of our faith. People with no faith do not pray; those who believe in God are faithful to pray.
In the great marathon of the Christian race, perseverance is required. Let us not give up. God is faithful to answer.
We thank our Sunset music team for the beautiful special song they sang on Sunday, “He Was There All the Time.”
“O Lord, deal well with me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.” [Psalm 109:21]
Whatever your situation, may the Lord help and deliver you soon — our prayer for you from your friends at Sunset Christian Church.