1 The Power and Privilege of Prayer

Luke 18:1-8

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!’ ” [6] And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. [7] And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? [8] I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
This judge had a terrible combination of attributes for his profession. Widows were known to be very vulnerable in those days. The widow in this parable was incredibly persistent!
How much more will God, who is totally different from the judge, listen to our prayer. This is because he genuinely cares about us.

Psalm 146:5-9

Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. [6] He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. [7] He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, [8] the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. [9] The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
This passage explains who God is. We can be so grateful that this is the God that is listening to our prayers.
It’s so easy to get consumed by a particular problem and forget all about God. However, prayer is the single most important thing we can do. How persistently am I praying for my family, neighbours, co-workers? Prayer is not a formality. It is where the power is. How much time am I spending in prayer?

1 John 5:14-15

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. [15] And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
It’s not my job to know what God’s will is. My job is to not give up praying. I don’t deserve to be able to pray to the creator of the universe.

2. The Appropriate Approach to Prayer

Luke 18:9-17

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: [10] “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ [13] “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ [14] “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” [15] People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. [16] But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. [17] Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Again, Jesus isn’t beating around the bush. He is very direct. This passage compares the Pharisees (supposedly righteous) vs the tax collectors (sinners). However, the sinner went home justified. God is proud of the good things we do. However, we can never take any justification from these things.

Romans 3:23

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Who am I more like today – the Pharisees or the tax collector?  Am I still begging for God’s mercy?
Humility is not to think less of yourself but think of yourself less.

Isaiah 57:15

For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Encouraging fact: if you go to God with a humble heart, he will lift you up. Look at the cross it is very humbling in nature and puts things into perspective!
Be like the little children: God I need you!

Ephesians 2:1-10

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, [2] in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. [3] All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. [4] But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, [5] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. [6] And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, [7] in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. [8] For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— [9] not by works, so that no one can boast. [10] For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
By on 18th November 2018 from the series
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