Thursday, August 1, 2019

23. Growing in Prayer – The Learning Tree – Ask and Keep on Asking


Let’s think about Luke 11:5-8

5And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

This scripture is referred to as a ‘prim-er (for teaching) or ‘Pri-mer (to ignite an explosive charge) in prayer.  Jesus was teaching his disciples the very basics and power of prayer.

The Scripture just prior to this Luke 11:1, one of His Disciples said:  teach us to pray.  Jesus gave them what we call today the Lord’s Prayer.  This was not given to us as a prayer, but as a lesson in prayer.

The important thing to understand the Lord’s Prayer was written in the imperative tense.  Why the imperative?  It is not that we order God around.  We must first understand our roll in prayer.  Nothing is going to happen on this planet unless we ask first.  Through God’s Son, birth, life, death and resurrection, we become redeemed people to lift our voices in prayer and change.  The summons in the Lord’s Prayer is that we walk into prayer with authority.  When we realize the awesome trust God puts in us, we will begin to pray the way God wants us to pray~~~In His Will!

Do you say “just” in your prayers, i.e., I just praise you; just call on your name, just bring the people, just thank you for today…?  “Just” implies we feel we are a problem to God.  We are not a problem to God!!  God has given us great dignity and privilege to come before Him to ASK!  He tells us repeatedly, ASK.  The power He has given us is in the Power of Prayer . . . the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  When we ask, God’s moves His hand from Heaven.  His promises are manifested in and through our prayers.

In verse 8, Jesus says, 8I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence (importunity) he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 

Actually the word persistence is importunity which means Troublesome urgency; excessive persistence. In Luke 11:8 importunity results in a favorable response to a midnight request for bread (KJV, RSV). Many modern translations read persistence (NASB, NIV, NRSV, REB).  The literal meaning of the term is shamelessness (NEB; compare TEV: “not ashamed to keep on asking”).  Jesus is telling us to pray to the point, exactly, specifically, and pray with boldness and authority; shamelessly.

Then Jesus says:  Luke 11:9-10, 9So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Nothing will happen unless we pray.  God gives us responsibility, privilege and accountability.  Let us go before the Throne of Grace reverently, worshiping, asking with authority.

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