Above All, Pray
Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.... (Luke 18:1).
I have a penetrating question for you. Are you willing to honestly answer it? How is your prayer life? Is it vibrant, active, and powerful? Are you seeing God answer your prayers on a regular basis?
The sad truth for many of us is this: Our prayer life is far from where we want it to be and need it to be. Often times our prayers are boring and stale, lacking heart and passion. Our mind wanders in prayer, and it is hard to stay focused. We ask God for things in prayer, but we get discouraged easily when we don’t see immediate answers. The bottom line? Most of us struggle with prayer.
WHY IS IT HARD TO PRAY?
Prayer is hard. It is not like running a four-minute mile hard, something only a few can do, and then only after years of intense training. But prayer is hard for this key reason: It is the thing the devil fights most. Why is that? The devil knows that prayer links our nothingness with God’s almighty power. The devil knows that prayer is critical in yielding victory and fruitfulness to the life of a Christian. So the devil works like crazy to keep you and me off our knees.
In the Book of Acts, the disciples prayed 10 days and preached 10 minutes and saw 3000 saved. Today, we preach 10 days and pray 10 minutes and wonder why nothing is happening. Could it be that power is linked to prayer? I believe so.
In the Gospels, you cannot find many passages that speak of Jesus studying the Scriptures (although we know He did, based on His quotations), but you can find lots of references to His prayer life. In fact, He sometimes prayed all night. What does that tell us? If the Son of God saw the need to pray, how much more should we? Without question, the warfare is prayer. James said, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2).
But sometimes we ask, and God doesn't seem to answer. We hit a roadblock in prayer … and often lose heart, throw in the towel, and quit praying. Can you relate?
PERSISTENCE IS THE KEY
In Luke 18, Jesus told the parable of the widow going before the unrighteous judge, day after day saying, “Give me legal protection from my opponent” (Luke 18:3). The unrighteous judge did not want to help her. He couldn't care less about her. But because of her persistence, because she knew she was within her legal rights and wouldn't stop pleading her case, he did what she asked in order to get her off his back.
Here is the prayer lesson: If an unrighteous judge responds to persistence, how much more does your Father, the righteous and loving Judge, respond when His own dear children keep asking Him to do what is written and promised in His Word?
Let me encourage you as I encourage myself. Find the promises in His Word, and cling to them in prayer. Pray according to His will, and don’t stop until you see Him answer you. God is a good God who longs to do great and mighty things in and through His people. His power and blessings come to those who, with a pure heart, persist in prayer.
Dr. R. A. Torrey, the great evangelist of yesteryear said this, “Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all, pray.” To that, I say, “Amen!”