by Otis T. McMillan
Lectionary: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 121 (2); 2 Timothy 3:14–4:5; Luke 18:1-8
Theme: A Call To Prayer
Message: Jesus in Luke 17 concludes the chapter by making the disciples aware of the turbulent times ahead. Jesus describes those days as the days of Lot when sin and sorrow would greatly increase. In verse 32, he said, “Remember Lot’s Wife” as a way for his disciples to be alert and ready for the return of the Lord. Jesus encourages prayer as the only solutions to surviving evil days. During evil days, there will be a temptation to stray from the straight and narrow way and conform to the world. And there will also be a temptation to become so attached to this world that His coming will catch them and us unprepared. But finally, during evil days, men will be tempted to faint or to give up. So the text says, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;”
Jesus told this parable so He might teach us to pray and not faint. That word faint means to lose courage, to lose heart or hope. It means that you want to give up, and it speaks of discouragement. The Lord’s only answer for discouragement in life was prayer. When we get discouraged we may try binge eating, or to stop eating, shopping, or walking or working out. Some will try to escape by golfing, fishing, reading or any other number of ways. Others throw a pity party and make everyone else miserable. Some get drunk or high. The ways we’ve devised to deal with our problem are endless, but according to Christ prayer is the only effective method for dealing with it.
Jesus tells us when we ought to pray: “Always” and this parable teaches us “how” we ought to pray: with faith in God as our source, with persistence and with confidence. Why is it so important for men to always pray? I believe…….. (1) First of all, Prayer is a way to keep the channel of communication with God open. (2) Prayer is a way of learning the mind of Christ. (Php. 2:5) (3) Prayer is a way of Enjoying the presence of God during life’s journey. (4) Prayer is a way of experiencing God’s power and celebrating His answers to prayer. (5) Prayer is a way God has chosen to supply our needs.(Matt. 5:11) (6) Finally, prayer humbles us and keeps us from taking God for granted.
If Christians spent as much time praying as they do grumbling, they would soon have nothing to grumble about. -Anonymous
God may not always answer prayers, but he always answers people. -Anonymous
The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. C.S. Lewis
Illustration(s): A small town that had historically been “dry,” but then a local businessman decided to build a tavern. A group of Christians from a local church were concerned and planned an all-night prayer meeting to ask God to intervene. It just so happened that shortly thereafter lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground. The owner of the bar sued the church, claiming that the prayers of the congregation were responsible, but the church hired a lawyer to argue in court that they were not responsible. The presiding judge, after his initial review of the case, stated that “no matter how this case comes out, one thing is clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians do not.”
Hear Our Prayer, O Lord – George Whelton
He is Lord – Tom Fettke
Saviour, Hear Us We Pray – Johannes Brahms
O Lord God, tireless guardian of your people, you are always ready to hear our cries. Teach us to rely day and night on your care. Inspire us to seek your enduring justice for all this suffering world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen