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Prayer - Directions

Jesus teaches that an answer to prayer is mostly conditional upon the amount of faith that goes to the petition. To test this, He delays the answer. The superficial pray-er subsides into silence, when the answer is delayed. But the man of prayer hangs on, and on. The Lord recognizes and honours his faith, and gives him a rich and abundant answer to his faith-evidencing, importunate prayer.

Importunate praying never faints nor grows weary; it is never discouraged; it never yields to cowardice, but is buoyed up and sustained by a hope that knows no despair, and a faith which will not let go. Importunate praying has patience to wait and strength to continue. It never prepares itself to quit praying, and declines to rise from its knees until an answer is received.

A persistent spirit brings a man to the place where faith takes hold, claims and appropriates the blessing

What was it about Jesus' prayers that was different? (Teach us to pray, after hearing Jesus Christ prayed)

* How he said it, or of the kind of heart of which he prayed.

* Interesting that they asked him teach them to pray, NOT preach, counsel, etc.

Effective prayer is the provision for every need and the solution for every problem.

What direction did Jesus give about Praying? He gave them a pattern, told them to be persistent and to have perspective about who they were praying to. Jesus instruction about prayer was to model the pattern, be persistent and to have perspective about who they were praying to.

I. Pattern of Prayer

Luke 11:1-4
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: "'Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.'"

A. Jesus responds to the disciples request by giving them a pattern of prayer.

a. Few words, but significant & depth of meaning.

b. The core of these words help us to connect with and find peace with God

     i. These words put us in our humble place and exalting God to his utmost authoritive throne.

     ii. These words help us cry out & yet provide for us our every need

B. Pattern is like this:

a. He then made five requests. The first two dealt with God's interests. The first request was that God's name be hallowed. Thus the request was for God's reputation to be revered by men.

b. Kingdom Come and Will be Done

     i. Reign of god in the hearts of men---Jesus Christ's return (our desire & hope). Urgency for self & others.

     ii. How is our urgency about Jesus Christ return? Are we helping others?

c. Again the concern being expressed is 'God's desires first, and then our needs'. A proper prayer places the King before the subject and leaves the subject anxious to serve the King's wishes

d. Daily Needs---not too much may grow proud…too little may steal

e. Forgive (daily prayer…easy to get bitter, hold grudges, stifles love)

f. Lead us not into temptation!!!!

II. Persistent Prayer

Luke 11:5-8
5 Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'
7 "Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.'
8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

A. We see this contrasting-explanation of why the man won't get up and give bread…not because he is a friend, yet because of the man's persistence. WHY the contrast?

a. To show us that persistence has more impact than friendship/loyality

b. Persistence is clearly being highlighted when Jesus teaches about prayer

c. He also dedicates an entire parable about the importance of persistence prayer, (Luke 18)

d. Illustration. Nothing describes persistence better than a man pursuing his woman!

     i. I will not be denied; who do I need to talk to

     ii. Though in Jewish culture…a widow is a great example of persistence

       1. No one to speak for her; vouch for her; not likely respected or heard

       2. This woman does not give up

     iii. Remember Jacob who wrestled with God? Persistence: "I will not let you go until you bless me"-Gen 32


       1. To our shame…not persistent; short; sleepy; heartless; tired

       2. Purposeless; passionless-repetition (want it but not enough--)

       3. What Jesus Christ meant when he says,

Matthew 6:7
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

e. Jesus goes on to say, "Ask and it will be given to you…Seek-find..Knock-opened"

     i. Greek says, "Keep Asking…keep seeking…keep knocking"

     ii. God is trying to produce so much more in getting us to not give up.

     iii. EM Bounds says this about prayer, "A persistent spirit brings a man to the place where faith takes hold, claims and appropriates the blessing."

f. Mt 15:21- (Faith of the Canaanite Woman)

     i. She is crying out! Horrible situation-demon possession

     ii. Jesus does not say a word! (Appears to be ignoring her)

     iii. Disciples say send her away; because of his response they seem to be advocating her cause)

     iv. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel" (Seems cold from the Son of God)

     v. Up close…kneels before him and says, "Lord, help me!"

     vi. Still denied, "Not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs"

     vii. But woman refuses to let it go-rebuttles, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall form their master's table."

     viii. Woman you have great faith!

     g. Blind Baritmeaus: same persistence we see; will not be denied-Faith healed you.

     h. Persistent prayer has as much to do with building faith as does reading the word. No wonder Jesus Christ stresses it!

III. Perspective about Prayer

Luke 11:
9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

A. Though this ungenerous friend will not open the door for his friend because of his family

a. God is greater than a friend---surely we can wake him up

b. The Freedom to bring our requests to God, like a friend, no matter what-should inspire us to be persistent.

c. I mean….we tell our best friends everything, don't we?

d. That perspective is key in persistence

e. In fact, God is more than a friend---God is like a Father in vv 11 (transitional)

B. Here in verse 11-13, there is a comparison from worldly father and the heavenly Father.

a. He goes from the lesser to the greater

b. What father would give his son a snake instead of a fish; scorpion instead of egg?

     i. Such an act would be cruel and for the most part unrealistic

c. Even worldly fathers give good gifts to their children

d. The problem with the father analogies is that our personal perspective of father has jacked us up (hurt, abused, forgotten, some cases abandoned by our worldly fathers)

     i. We lost that innocence of fathers being the greatest-teens and young adults

     ii. In some cases it is a lost cause until some of us become fathers…

e. Nonethess, we have got to capture the picture of a good rational father -if even fictional in order to gain perspective of the Great and Awesome Mighty Father we have in heaven.

     i. With such perspective---it changes everything about our prayers.

     ii. God is fair. God will take care of me! God does love me.

     iii. God does hear my cries and he knows what best.

     iv. God does care for me and will give me what I need (not what I want)

f. Hebrew writer speaks of such perspective in 12:9

Hebrew 12:9-10
9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

g. Such perspective helps us not only be persistent but to trust in the process!