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Nov 13, 2022

Persistent Prayer

Persistent Prayer

Passage: Luke 11:5-9

Speaker: Matt Petty

Series: Wisdom Of The Master

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: church, worship, prayer, faith, jesus, sunday, god, ministry, sermon, christian, bible, christ, gospel, hope, pray, preaching, sermons, holy spirit, praying, spirit, believe, scriptures, bible study, godly, how to pray, meditation, peaceful, live music, dear god, conversation with god, livestream, burnt hickory baptist church, sermon on prayer, burnt hickory worship, the prayers, ray for me

As a Christian, you’ve probably asked the question: how much good does prayer do? Today, as we conclude the Wisdom From The Master sermon series, we are going to explore what it means to pray persistently. We study in Luke as Jesus teaches us about knocking on the door of a friend and of the widow who kept asking for justice. When we pray desperately, boldly, persistently, and trustingly, we will see our prayers answered. And even when God is not answering, we must keep praying. We also learn that many times God answers our prayers by giving us what we would have asked for if we knew what He knows. What is it that you need to put back into your prayer life that you have just stopped praying? Are you frustrated at the ineffectiveness of your prayer life currently? What do you need to change? As always, we’d love to connect with you and take time to pray with you. You can reach out and take the next step – burnthickory.com/next

Well, good morning, Church, and happy Thanksgiving to everybody. I'm already seeing family in college students around. I know mama's hearts are full and there's a lot of laundry to be done. Amen. So hopefully this week you've got some time just to pause and be with family and say thank you. On Friday, just I was able to just get some extended time of quiet, which happens a lot during deer season, I might add, and was just able to really think through just thanking God for some of the things that He has placed in my life this year. And over the years, I was man, I was just thinking of how thankful I am for my relationship with him. And that I am a son of the king. I was thanking God just for my family, Melissa, the boys and just extended family. And then I just wanted to publicly say to you guys how thankful I am for this church. Just the spirit, the unity, the mission, just the ability to know that when there are needs in this church. Listen, I don't say this lightly. We know that God raises people up to meet them, and he does it over and over again. So, here's what I just want to say on this week of Thanksgiving, and thanks for letting me be a part of this place and just thank you so much for your hearts and just being a part of this place called Burnt Hickory this week.

Well, hey, it is week nine in a series this week, as you saw in the bumper called Wisdom from the Master. We're closing the series up this week actually, that we've been walking in with Luke, giving us these little snapshots of Jesus, teaching us some wisdom from Luke's gospel. And I know there's a lot of you that have been studying it. You've been reading the book of Luke. You've been taking time to walk through it. And I know some of you are like, man, I'm kind of disappointed that we're closing this series up. To which somebody asked me this week, they're like, Matt, how long would it take for us to just go all the way from the beginning of Book of Luke to the end of the book Luke to which I was like, Well, maybe a couple of years. I don't know. I mean, it would be a long time to this ADD self to stay involved with that. But here's the good news that it we're closing up this series, but next week we're going to be jumping into the Christmas series. And the great news is a lot of that comes from the book of Luke. All right. So those of you that are studying it, don't worry. Don't be in despair. All right? There's a lot of Luke left for us to cover. All right. So, with that being said, we are in the Book of Luke this week. Luke, chapter 18. All right. I want you to find Luke chapter 18. Put a piece of paper there, a bookmark, a ribbon for those of you that are old school, the young people like what's a ribbon? Right? These things called Bibles. You open up and they have these bookmarks in them. But one in Luke 18. And then I want you to go with me to Luke, chapter 11. Luke Chapter 11. We're going to look at both of these passages this week and we're going to see Jesus give us a few reminders, the master Jesus, to teach us what it takes for us to have a healthy prayer life, for us to have a healthy prayer life.

Now, when I say we're teaching on prayer this week, I get it right. If you're in the church world, if you've been at Burnt Hickory for very long, your first thought is, Matt, we talk about prayer a lot. To which I would say, yes, we do. And we're going to keep talking about prayer a lot because here's what I know about all of us. Most of us are terrible prayers. All right. We are maybe not terrible. Let's not say that. We struggle with constant prayer. In fact, we struggle with it so much if we kind of had to grade ourselves out in a lot of the things that we do prayer would be at the bottom of the list a lot of the times. But here's what I want you to do. I don't want you to hear that and just be offended. I don't want you to hear that as man. I'm on my own. I'm the only one that struggles. I want you to hear that by knowing that, hey, Jesus knows that he loves you in that, but he doesn't want you to stay where you are. He wants you to move on. In fact, I was reading this week a guy named D.A. Carson. Those of you that read a lot of theology, you'll kind of know who that guy is. He says this about prayer and how much we struggle with it. He says, if you want to publicly embarrass the average Christian, just ask them to in detail describe their public or their private prayer life. And it's true, right? I mean, a lot of us, we can bank on stories of defending our faith through the Bible. We can kind of tell some great evangelism stories. But if someone truly saw our private prayer life, we might be a little bit embarrassed. But here's what Jesus does in this. Jesus doesn't want to leave us with that.

He wants to encourage us on how we can be better prayers. Now, the problem is, is that we struggle in prayer, right? But Jesus says over and over, things like John 15:5. He says, I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit and then hear what he says. But apart from me, you can do nothing. So, let's look at the tension. We struggle with prayer, but we have Jesus saying over and over again that apart from Him, we can do nothing. To which I would say this If we as believers in Jesus are being called to be grafted to Jesus, attached to Jesus, to hear from Jesus, then we need to know the main way we do that is through our prayer life with him. All right. The bad news, this is we're not real great at it. The good news is, is that Luke focuses on prayer a lot. To the point of this. He focuses on prayer so much that he shows that Jesus is a source of power. When he was on this earth was prayer. Have you ever thought about this that the maker of the universe, Jesus on this earth, the way he operated, was through his prayer life? Jesus didn't just call out things. He didn't just do things. He was always connected with the father. So, connected. Check this out. Did a little study this week in Luke Chapter three? Jesus prays at his baptism in Luke Chapter four, he prays at his temptation right through that temptation in five he got away by himself to pray. In Luke six, the disciples described Jesus praying all night long before He chose them. In Luke chapter nine Jesus spent the afternoon praying until that evening. He invited the disciples up onto the mountain to pray with him. In Luke, Chapter 11. What we're going to look at today. He not only teaches us how to pray, but he encourages us to keep praying. In Luke 18, he does the same thing and tells us to keep praying, even when it's hard. In Luke 22, he promises Peter Jesus does that when he was being crucified, he would even pray for Peter. In Luke 22, he commands the disciples to pray because that's the only way they can stand up to temptation. In Luke. 23, the last words of Jesus were a prayer to the Father.

So, I want you to see in this, Luke continually makes this point that if Jesus the God in flesh, right? If Jesus feels like He can do nothing on his own, then why is it? Here's the question I've been asking myself this week. Why is it that I feel like I can do it on my own? Why is it that I feel like I have the tenacity or the power to do it without Jesus? Or really. Here's a great another question. Why do I feel more capable than Jesus to live out the Christian life without prayer? See, Jesus prayed, but I can feel the tension of that. All right. Here's the tension. Well, Matt, when you use Jesus as an example, here's the tension I get back. He was perfect. I'm not perfect. I get it. Jesus was a great prayer. What about me? Well, Luke answers that question in the Book of Acts. Right. The whole Book of Acts describes the early church. And it describes the early church in their foundation is prayer. Their foundation is nothing else without prayer. In fact, listen to this little study real quick. Acts one, they're all joined in prayer. Acts two, they're devoted to prayer. Acts four they're prayed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Acts six says It's the prayer and the ministry of the Word. Prayer wasn't just this preparation for a service, it was Ministry Acts 12, they prayed over Peter to be set free from prison. Acts 13 They prayed for the rising of missionaries. Acts 14 They prayed, and they appointed leaders. And it continues on to describe even the Apostle Paul's life as one of preaching, healing, and praying.

Literally, the book of Acts in the early church is so strong on prayer, you can't hardly get through a chapter of the book without seeing them pray. But here's my concern. My concern is this. Why is it that something that was so fundamental for Jesus and so fundamental for the early church? Why is it so supplemental for us? Why is it that prayer is the last resort? Why is it that prayer is something that we do only after we feel like we've exhausted all other capabilities? Or a better question is why do we not pray? Or why don't we struggle with prayer? Now, if I were to kind of go around the room and randomly pick a couple of people, which I actually thought about doing, but I thought it would kind of hurt attendance for next week. If I were to go around the room and ask you, why don't we pray? I would just about bet you lunch on most of us saying something like this. We don't pray, Matt, because we're just not disciplined. I mean, it's kind of like eating kale, right? We know we need to do it. We just don't like it. Right? I mean, I don't know. Most of us would answer the question of we don't pray because we're just not serious because we're just not committed to it. I want to come at it from a little bit of a different angle this morning, because that's the message you usually hear. I want to say this. I don't think the reason that we don't pray is discipline or self-discipline. I want you to write this principle down. We don't pray because we're just not sure how much good it does. At the end of the day, we don't pray because we're really just not sure when we're praying, if we're accomplishing anything. You know, we would never say this out loud. Why? Because we're good church people, right? You would never be seen as that. But that's really what we think. And listen, that's why we give up on praying. We give up on praying many times after we've kind of lofted out that first prayer. Right, because we're just really not sure we're connecting with God. We're really not sure it's doing anything. I mean it. We struggle with it. Why? Because sometimes when we pray, things happen. Have you ever been in one of those prayers? Like you barely got it out of your mouth and it's like, boom, God does it, man, I love those moments. Sometimes we pray God does something right then. But here's the also the converse of that is sometimes we pray, and we don't feel like God's doing anything. Sometimes we pray and we feel like it's kind of gone flatline sometimes. Here's an even better one. Sometimes you forget to pray, and God does it anyway. Have you ever been in one of those situations where somebody asked you to pray for them?

The next day they call you back and they're like, Man, listen to this. God answered our prayers. And you're like, Oh, no, I forgot, right? You're like, What are you about to say? And they're like, Man, God did this. And you're like, That's amazing. You never tell me you forgot. But that's amazing. Great. Sometimes God does things even when we forget to pray, and it happens anyway. So, what do we do? We struggle with consistently praying. In fact, look at your neighbor and just say, I struggle. You got to say it louder than that. I struggle. I struggle. Look, the struggle is so real in consistent praying that Luke, through the Holy Spirit, felt it necessary to deal with it twice in his book. Twice in his book. In Luke Chapter 11, we're going to watch Jesus the Master teach us something. Luke Chapter 11 starts off with Jesus teaching the disciples how to pray. All right. It starts with that. We taught on it in August, August the 14th, if you want to go back and watch it. I taught you a model of prayer that you can use the Lord's Prayer and pray that. But then immediately after Jesus taught us how to pray, he dealt with one of the biggest problems of prayer, and that is us just giving up on prayer. In fact, I want us to look at it this morning. Two stories. He tells the same thing from two different perspective. It's beautiful. Luke, Chapter 11, let me read it to you. We're going to talk about it at the end of it. I'm going to time both together and give us a couple of points. Here it is. Luke 11:5 says this. Then Jesus said to them, Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. A friend of mine is on a journey and has come to me and I have no food to offer him.

Now pause there, unfortunately, at this point, Wal-Mart was only a 9 to 5 deal. It was not open 24 hours. He couldn't run out and grab anything. UberEATS didn't exist. No late-night Taco Bell. And hospitality was a big deal in this society. Kind of like the first church that Melissa and I served that you didn't go to nobody's house without getting fed. It's just how it works, right? It was how this society worked. Well, this guy's friend shows up at his house. He didn't have anything to give his friend. He was embarrassed. So, he thought, Well, I know what I'll do. I don't care what time of day it is; I'll go over to my neighbor's house. Joe will give me some bread, so he calls on his friend and then watch what happens. And suppose the one inside answers don't bother me. I love it. He's a friend. Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are already in bed, and I can't get up to give you anything. Now here's a few details that kind of make the story make sense a little bit in our minds. Bring it into context. This is a farming society, an agrarian society. So, when it got dark at nighttime, a.k.a. like six or seven o'clock, you went to bed some of you're like, Amen, brother, preach it. No, you went to bed. So, this guy in the story has been asleep for probably 4 hours. He's not watching late night. Somebody is knocking on the door and he's like, Man, who's out the door? That's kind of crazy. No, this guy is in full REM sleep, and he is out. Not only is he out, it says, notice this. The kids are also in bed, literally in the same room. Don't think your house back there in the back nursery with the sound machine in the mobile running. No, no, no. They are in the same room together. They would have literally laid beside each other the whole family in bed. There was one place to sleep in this one-bedroom house. So now when this dude is banging on the door, you parents can relate to this. You have now not only wake me up, which that's bad news you have now waked all five of the toddlers up and it took me 2 hours to get them to bed. Nobody's friends at this point, which is why I think Jesus started off with friend in the conversation. Right. He no friend anymore. He's just woke the whole house up at this point. I also just want you to see the requests that he makes. The guy doesn't ask for one loaf of bread, which would have been plenty to serve his one guest. He had the audacity to ask him for three. For three. Way more than he would have needed. He asked this guy for three loaves of bread and this guy's like, Are you serious? Watch the story. Verse eight I love it. Watch what Jesus says, I tell you, even though He will not get up and give you the bread because of your friendship. All right.

So, in other words, this guy's not giving him bread because of relationship. Watch this, yet because of your shameless audacity, I love that word. You may want to circle that. He will surely get up and give you as much as you need. So, notice this, the neighbor doesn't give the guy bread because he loves them. Because he's in a relationship with them, because they've known each other for years. What Jesus is pointing out in this story is that the neighbor gives him bread, right? He meets his request not because he loves him, but because he had enough boldness and audacity to ask for it. To ask for it. That's the point of the story. That's the point of the story. That is the posture that Jesus is saying that we as believers should come to him. Now, watch verse nine, because Jesus ties it to us. So, I say to you ask, and it will be given seek and you will find knock and the door will be open to you. So, what does Jesus do? Jesus says, Hey, you got to ask for Jesus said, You got to seek it out from me. And then Jesus says, I love this word. You have to knock; you have to knock. Which knock brings even more into connotation that you don't just walk up to a door and knock one time, do you? Here's the deal. If you know someone is home, do you just walk up to their door and just give it like, well, I try, you know, and walk away? No. If you know somebody is home, you will beat on that door till they come to the door. I don't care how much they're dip, dodging, and dining behind the couch because they got their comfy clothes on and don't want to come to the door. All right. You know, they're home. So, you're going to beat on the door so that they will answer you. That's the point of the story. It reminded me of a story this week of Melissa, and I got permission to share this. By the way, it reminded me of a story of Melissa this week. I kind of horse traded around a dune buggy that my kids had that was just not good for neighborhood living. By the way, now that there's Facebook pages that complain horse traded around a dune buggy that my kids had for some pine straw and some money.

I know it sounds weird, but it was a good deal for everybody. And so, the guy that I, that I traded it to, he was a rough fellow. All right? I'm not judging him, but he was the kind of guy that you probably would not be friends with. All right. I mean, in fact, you probably know it would never be seen with I'm not sure he owned shoes or a shirt. And he was one of the guys that just kind of cruised for pine straw to do things. And it was a rough guy. Well, anyway, he wanted to dune buggy, I guess, to fix it. I wanted the pine straw and some money. And I told him I was like, Hey, yeah, just go by the house, get it, get the dune buggy and then leave the other money with Melissa. My wife is home. Just give it to her. Well, that was the good news. All right. The bad news is, is I forgot to tell Melissa that it was coming, all right? I forgot to say, hey, this guy, rough guy, is coming to the house to, in her mind, steal the dune buggy. All right. And to beat on the door. Well, he takes the dune buggy. Can you imagine her seeing it loaded on the car? Now, the guy has stolen that. Now he's coming to the door, and he is beating on the door saying, Ma'am, I know you're home. I know you're home. Open the door. Open the door. Which she doesn’t like to go the door anyway. Not especially for this guy. All right? I mean, especially so he beats on the door so long he decides this is not working, all right? This is not working. So, he walks around the house, comes up onto the deck, all right? Because he knows she's home. Like I promised you, she's home all, right? She's home. He beats on the door, on the back door. Can see her through the door. Ma'am, I know you're home. I see you in the house. And she's like, Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no, no. She does what any good Southern lady would do that has a great husband. She goes to the bedroom and gets the 380 out of the drawer. All right? She takes her gun with her. He has left the deck at this point, and now he's in the garage, beating on the door inside the garage. She's going to kill this poor guy. All right? And all he's trying to do is give her money. She's going to this guy's beating on the garage door. She opens the door is like, do we have a problem? The guy runs into the driveway and he's calling me on the phone. Your wife is crazy. Your wife is crazy. She's lost it. She's pulling a gun on me in the garage. And then it hit me. Oh, no, I didn't tell her he was coming. So now I've got the mad pine straw guy and I've got the mad wife because I didn't tell her.

But the point is this. Keep knocking. You like how that worked out in the story right there? Keep knocking. Keep knocking. Jesus says, Listen, I'm here, I'm here. Keep knocking. Needless to say, don't show up at our house unannounced, all right? No, don't just knock and walk away. Keep knocking, because, you know Jesus is there. Now, for some of us, this this kind of is a little bit hard to swallow because we have to deal with this idea of how does this fall in line with the sovereignty of God. Right. And that's a big question. It's a $100 question. Right. I mean, if God will is for you to have the request, then why doesn't God just go ahead and give it to you the first time? I mean, that's kind of a question you would ask. To which I would say sometimes I'm really not sure why he doesn't, but I've got some ideas I'm going to share with you on the back side, so hold loose on that one. But the principles are clear, and I want you to write it down. There's two of them in this story. Number one, write this down. God only gives some things in response to ongoing patient, persistent prayer. He only gives some things in our lives. And you can write this down that sometimes God will withhold His power in our lives until we persistently pursue Him with it. He does. And another way that you can put that is that you have the power through prayer to unleash the will of God. You have that power believers, you have it. Sometimes he's waiting on that. Here's the second principle. God delights in sharing his power with those who are bold enough to bring him our needs. To boldly bring those needs. God delights in it.

You see, sometimes I feel like we think we're bothering God with something. We're not bothering. God delights in sharing his power. He delights in hearing us call out to him. He delights in hearing us with bold prayers coming before him and saying, I need some bread. I need some bread. Now turn to Luke 18. Because I want to show you the parallel to this passage. And I will show you Luke teaches this the second time because he knows it's such a problem with us to keep praying. Luke 18:1 says this. Listen to this story. Then Jesus told his disciples a prayer. I mean a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said in a certain town, there was a judge that neither feared God nor cared what people thought, and there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea. Grant me justice against my adversary. Verse four. For a time, he refused. But finally. All right, circle that word finally. He said to himself, Even though I don't fear God or care what people think. Yet because his widow keeps bothering me. I will see that she gets justice so that she won't eventually come and attack me. I love that last line right there. Right? The point is this, Jesus is saying this is like praying to God. Don't give up. Now, in parables, we're always kind of supposed to go, Who am I and who is God? Right? So, the disciples, I'm sure they're like, I don't know. And this one, boys, I mean, am I am either am I the widow in this thing or am I the grumpy judge? I don't know which one it is to which I wouldn't have told this parable, but Jesus did it all right, and he does it in a reason that is incredibly specific.

You see, Jesus is not comparing God to a grumpy judge. He's contrasting God to a grumpy judge. And I love this. Let's just say that the point is straightforward in the story. The point is, is that if you want something from God, don't give up on asking God, don't give up. You have permission from God to continually bother him. You have permission from God to continually come to him. Not because he's a grumpy judge. No, it's a contrast. Jesus is saying this. This is beautiful. He's saying, even if an unrighteous, selfish judge will relent because this lady keeps coming to him, and even if a stingy neighbor will finally get his tail out of bed and give you some bread, how much more will a loving father do for his children? That's the point of the story. That's the point where Jesus is saying how much more will a good Heavenly Father who loves us, who cares for us, who constantly watches over us, give us, catch this believer. Give us what we need. When we ask How much more does he want to do that? How much more? Now was tie these two parables together. And let me give you a couple of prayer reminders that Jesus gives us in them. Number one, Jesus would say this these parables, number one, he would just beg us to pray desperately, pray desperately. You see both characters in the story. If you look at them, right, both of them are out of options. Right? The hungry host, he has no bread. Where else can he go? The wronged lady, she has nowhere else to get justice. You see, one of the things that keeps us from praying so often is that we fail to recognize how desperate we really are for God's help. We just fail to recognize it. Why? Because we have been taught our whole life that we are can-do people. We're can-do people right with enough money, with enough time, with enough friends around me, I have been taught that I should be able to do anything. But it's not true. It's not true. See, we're the DIY generation, right? We think we can do it all. But that is deadly thinking in a in a world where Jesus has clearly told us apart from me, you can do nothing if you are not grafted onto me, you will fail. If you are not attached to the vine, you have no life. So, believers, if we are not coming to the father with this desperation of God, I can't do it. He's not going to answer our prayers. He's not going to, in fact, a book called A Praying, a Praying Life by Paul Miller. Listen to this quote. Then put on the screens too long. If you are not praying, he says, then you are quietly confident that time, money and talent are all you need in life. You will always be a little too tired. You will always be a little too busy to pray. But if, like Jesus, you realize that you can't do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will always find time to pray.

That's the point. I love how Peter reinforces this. First Peter five says, Humble yourselves. He's talking about in a posture of prayer, humble yourselves. Therefore, under God's mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time. Skip down the verse ten and the God of grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ after you've suffered for a while, He will Himself restore you, make you strong, firm and steadfast. Watch this verse 11 to him Be the power forever and ever. Amen. So, who does the restoring? Do we do the restoring? No God does the restoring. We are restored when we are desperately enough to humble ourselves under Him and God lifts us. That's the point of the story. They have nowhere else to go. Here's the deal. Skill is important. Mission is important. But without the power of God and desperate prayer, we will never be who God wants us to be. We'll never do it. At the core of effective prayer is desperation. Its desperation is the first point that these parables make. Both of them were desperate and had nowhere else to turn to, which I would say, believers. Is this what your prayer life looks like? Let me say this about prayer. It's just generally kind of practically about prayer. A lot of us struggle with prayer. We really do. We struggle with consistent prayer. Let me give you just a couple of hints that just to kind of write off to the side, somewhere in a margin, you can have that maybe can help you in having a regular personal time of prayer.

Number one, set a time and a place that you pray. A time in a place. Wherever that may be. I got two of them. I got two places that are regular prayer places in my life. Matt, is that the only place I can pray? No, that's foolish talk. But you know what I'm saying. Set a time where we, you know, you sit in this spot, it is you and the Lord and you're going to him in prayer. Number two, have a list that you pray through of some sort. Have it written down, whether it's digitally or not? I'm an Evernote guy, so I have a prayer grid that I work my way through every single day. Why? Well, Matt, it's because you're so spiritual. No, it's because I'm so forgetful. That's why I have the grid every day. Because if I tell you I pray for you, I'm going to remember it for about 25 minutes. All right. About 25 minutes. But I have a grid that I pray through. I have a list that I work. There are different categories on it. It starts with the closest stuff. It moves out in concentric circles away from who I am to pray. Another thing is this Pray out loud. If you need to. Matt, my family will think I'm crazy. That's okay. They already do, right? They already do. Pray out loud. Why do you need to pray out loud? Because a lot of us, we get so disjointed in our minds when we pray to ourselves. Which is cool. Got hears it. We just get lost in the prayers. We don't know where we are. We get so distracted. Pray out loud. Do you know that Jesus prayed out loud? Well, Matt, how do you know that? Well, how do we know what he prayed, right? Somebody had to hear it to write it down, right? He prayed out loud. Pray out loud.

Here's another one. Read other people's prayers and read books on prayers. Read prayer moments. Read prayer stuff. Not because you're just trying to mimic them, but because you can learn from them, and it can connect your heart. We got away from that big liturgical prayer guides and prayer books. But man, they have good stuff. Read the Puritans prayers. They're incredible when it comes to boldness. Here's another one, have a primary prayer time, but also during the day, set some other little thirty second prayer times that you can pray for specific things. Maybe it's a reminder on your watch, maybe it's a timeline. Maybe it's something that happens every day. Every time you get in your car to come home from work. You spend the first 30 seconds for this, have that moment and well, listen, prayer is a desperate conversation with you and the father, so let's treat it that way. It's a time where we're telling God all that we need and all that we're afraid of and all that we're worried about and all it that we can't handle. Why? because you know how much you need him. It starts off with praying desperately, as we're seeing in the story.

Number two, pray boldly. Pray boldly. Bold prayers meet needs. They do. Just as in the in the story. Both people were desperate. Both people also came with extravagant big requests. You see, Jesus says, here's the deal. If this is how these people came to a stingy friend and a unrighteous judge, how much more bold, catch this, should we come to our good Heavenly Father? How much more bold should I come to him? Now, as I've said it before, both of these stories are this comic relief or this hyperbole. All right. That's how they're written. They're written in a contrast. But I want you to look at the people in the story. Look at the lady just for a minute. Think about the lady in the story. In chapter 18. This lady approached the judge, catch this, as a stranger. Believers listen to me. In this. When we approach our heavenly Father as our father. We come boldly before him as somebody that has a right. This lady had no right in court to get what she needed, but she came to this guy. But here's the deal. We have a right to approach God. Do you know that? Because of the blood of Jesus Christ in your life that has saved you, you now have the right as a son or daughter of the king, to come boldly before him and say, God, I need this.

Some of you feel like when you pray bold prayers to God that you are bothering Him. You are not. You are honoring him, you are glorifying him, you are lifting him up and you are telling God, I believe that you can do something in this. Think about the judge in the story. The judge in this is an unrighteous judge. But we come to a judge that is righteous. Amen. We come to the Father God who is righteous, who catch this, came off of the judgment seat at one point in his life and put on flesh in the form of Jesus and has now satisfied all justice through the cross of Jesus. We can now have the Kingdom of God because of what our judge has done. Think about the friend in Chapter 11 for a minute. The friend of Chapter 11. What's he doing when the friend came to his house? Great. He's sleeping. Right. Glad we're listening. He's sleeping right. Our God doesn't sleep. Our friend doesn't sleep or slumber. In fact, he knows the number of hairs on our head. He knows when the sparrow falls.

Listen, when we understand this, we boldly come to the king. We boldly. Why? Because we know that our relationship with him matters to him. Pray desperately. Pray boldly. Here's the third one. Pray persistently. We said this word 100 times this morning because I just want you to hear it. Because it's God's heart for you. There's no doubt this is a major message in both of these parables, is that we just got to keep praying. In fact, Jesus makes it incredibly clear that the reason God answers both of these requests is because the people don't quit praying. I know that spins some of you around theologically. Right. But the reason he answered it is because they didn't give up. In fact, verse eight, I'll read it again. I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of your friendship, there was any because he likes you. Yet because of your shameless audacity, he will surely give get up and give it to you as much as you need. Look at 18:5 it says yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice. You know, the rest of scripture demonstrates this as well. And that's chapter 11. The church, when they got together to pray for Peter to be released from jail.

Listen. They prayed all night long and they were committed to pray until something happened. Until something happened. The church didn't just kind of get together and go, hey, you know what, let's pray about this and we're going to leave this and go, God, you are sovereign, and you just need to take care of this. That was not their prayer. They were like, God, we're staying here till you let him go to you. Release him. Another one I love you can jot this down there in 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul is praying for God to relieve Him of a thorn in his flesh. So, you've probably read this before, right? He's praying that God, get rid of this. God, get rid of this. The Bible describes this as Paul praying for this so long that finally God goes, Hey, Paul, you're going to have to give that one a break. You got to get away from that one. I've got a better plan for you, which is a lesson for us that you never give up praying until God makes it very clear to you to give up praying. You don't give up praying just because something is not happening. In fact, write this principle down. If God is not answering, keep praying, keep praying. It doesn't mean no until God clearly says, Hey, Paul, let up. Right? Hey, Matt, I got this one. You can quit. Keep praying. Keep praying. Luke, chapter 11. Jesus is saying, Hey, you asked me how to pray. I told you how to pray. Now I'm telling you, don't give up until you absolutely have to give up. And I get the pushback. Matt, why doesn't God just do it the first time? Why doesn't God work in a way that I want him to work? Look, I don't know completely, but I do know he's teaching us this God is glorified God through our persistent prayers, and that's all I need. God is glorified when I don't give up. Think about the people in the story a little bit. They were absolutely sure that the person that they were coming to for help, watch this, had the capacity to help them and had the way to help them. They knew it. How much more do we approach our God? How much more do we know that when I pray God meets me? It's the moral of the story and that God loves us.

When you refuse to quit praying, listen to what happens. You are making a declaration in the confidence in God's goodness and glory. That's what you're doing. And many times, it is not until you dig your heels in and say, God, I'm going to pray for this until it happens. Then he answers, I'm telling you, I've seen it a hundred times at the ninth hour, somebody is praying for something and then all of a sudden, boom, right before they gave up, something happened. Right before it. See, some of you are literally here today because this was somebody's story in your life. They prayed for you for years and years. And finally, God says, yes, yes. Again, here's a question. What do you need to put back in your prayer life that you've just stopped praying? Is there anything that you just gave up on that you're not sure God told you to stop? Just not sure. Pray desperately, probably pray persistently. Here's the last one. It's quick. Pray trustingly. We pray trustingly. Here's what that means. That means you pray with a mindset to the one that you are praying to. Has all power to meet your need. After this parable in Luke 11, Jesus admits, There are some prayers that we pray that don't get answers that we think they should get. It's just what happens, right? And listen, it's not because God doesn't hear you. It's not because He's not listening. Here's why God answers differently. It's because He has a better plan. He has a better plan. In fact, write this principle down. Many times, God answers our prayers by giving us what we would have asked for if we knew what he knew. Let me say it again. I know it's a little bit confusing. Many times, God answers our prayers by giving us what we would have asked for if we knew what he knew. Now I realize that that doesn't answer all of your why God questions, but I do want you to see that we have a Heavenly Father we can trust. We have a Heavenly Father that hears. Church we can fully trust God with our deepest prayers. Why? Because the pledge of the cross. He's given us our past, our present, our future. Look through the cross. Sometimes he delays, sometimes he wants something to change in us. Sometimes he says, Not now. Sometimes he says later. Sometimes he says, There's something else better out there. But listen, God is good. And our judge wants to hear us, and he wants us to call to him.

He wants us to be persistent in calling out. Listen to the Psalms 84 says, For the Lord, God is a sun and a shield. The Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold those whose walk is blameless. Let me ask you this this morning, as we close. What does your prayer life look like? What does it look like? Is your prayer life just this manila straight little conversation that happens sometimes, and not sometimes? That is kind of haphazard and pinned on to the backside of something. If you just happen to have time. Or is your prayer life desperate and bold and persistent and trusting God to meet you? You want to see God move in your life? This is how. This is how. It's not just by tossing up some lofty little prayer to God, just maybe hoping He might do something. No, no, no. It is coming before Father saying, God, I know that I can't do this, and I know nobody else can do this for me. God, I know that this request is massive, but I'm trusting in your goodness in it. And God, I'm coming to you and I'm bringing this to you until you answer it. Because I know that you can do it. That's the point. That's the point. So, here's the question. What do you need to do this week to get on point with the friend and the lady to say, God, I need you? I need you. Or What do you need to put back on your list to pray? That maybe just slid off the list a long time ago. Or how about this? What do you need to say, God, I need you to move in this in my life? Let's bow our heads and close our eyes. Lord Jesus, God, in all of this, there's one thing that we haven't mentioned, and that's that there's one prayer that you always answer immediately. And it's the prayer for salvation. God, I would just be at fault by not giving a moment, this morning for people in this room to invite you into their lives. God, I know there's people here that need you to save them. And God, their heart is being drawn to you. Lord Jesus I'm praying that all over this room there are people that are praying to you right now.

Something like this, Lord Jesus, I know that I'm a sinner, and I know that you have come to give me life. Come into my life Jesus and be my Lord. Forgive me of my sin. And be my Savior. Lord Jesus, I'm yours. Now, with your heads bowed and your eyes closed this morning. Listen, if you are praying that prayer and you mean it, welcome to the Kingdom of God. God answers that prayer every single time the same way. Because he is a good father that wants to save you. He wants to save you. If that's you this morning, in just a second, we're going to have an invitation time. That just purely means a time that we let whatever has been read from the word soak into who we are this morning. It's not a time to beat the traffic out of the parking lot. I'm just going to ask you to do something this morning. If that's you, I'm going to ask you to step out from wherever you are in as soon as we start. Come over here to your right, to the next steps banner. I'll be standing there. There'll be some other people standing around me. And just look at us and say this, Hey, I need Jesus in my life today. I gave him my heart, and we'll do the rest. We'll talk you through what that looks like this morning. But here's what I also know. There's a whole bunch of us here that we know Jesus. We've been walking with Jesus for a long time, but we're just really not sure our prayers are doing anything. And here's my prayer for us. That today starts a whole new trajectory of where we are in our lives when it comes to prayer. Lord Jesus, move in our hearts, move in our lives, that we may know you, worship you, glorify you, and see you move in this place. Bless this imitation time, Lord. It's in your name we pray, Amen. Amen.

Let's stand together and sing.

Follow Along with the Message


Persistent Prayer

November 20, 2022

John 15:5 
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

PRINCIPLE: We don’t pray because we are just not sure how much it does.

Luke 11:5-6 
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’
Luke 11:7 
And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 
Luke 11:8 
I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
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.

PRINCIPLE: God only gives some things in to ongoing, patient, persistent, prayer.

PRINCIPLE: God in sharing His power with those who are bold enough to boldly bring needs to Him.

Luke 18:1-5 
1 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

FOUR REMINDERS ABOUT HOW TO PRAY:

1. Pray

1 Peter 5:6

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 

1 Peter 5:10-11

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

2. Pray

3. Pray

Luke 11:8

I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

Luke 18:5 

yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice…

PRINCIPLE: If God is not answering, praying.

Luke 18:1 

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

QUESTION: What is it that you need to put back into your prayer life that you have just stopped praying?

4. Pray

PRINCIPLE: Many times, God answers our prayers by giving us what we would have if we knew what He knew.

Psalm 84:11-12 

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12 Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Additional Notes

 

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