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Parables on Prayer

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Persistent Prayer, Pride and Humility

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Have you ever heard that acronym?
In other words be persistent and consistent. Just as Jesus in Chapter 17 was talking about personal devotion until the end. Here we will see two parables regarding pray, the persistence and the place (it’s not about a physical place but a place in the heart).
(Slide) Judge = God?
Widow = The believer?
Get justice quickly = come now?
The parable is not without difficulties in interpretation so I want to deal with that first. Some want to paint the picture in the parable of God as the judge and we as the widow begging God. The other issue is found in (v.8) where it looks like justice will be handed down quickly on the unjust because of the faith of the believer.
We may be like the widow, coming, pleading in prayer with, persistently in prayer, but the judge is not like God and we will get to that and the timeframe issue as we go through these two parables on prayer today.

I. Prayer of Persistent Widow

(Slide) So what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
(Slide) Interesting fact, courtroom setting - In a time where the court has removed prayer, has removed the commandments and bibles, Jesus uses a court setting for this parable.
(Slide) What is the reason for this parable according to (v.1)?
(Slide) What can we learn about the judge in (v.2)?
(Slide) What can we know about the third character (v.3)?
(Slide) Three strikes You’re out!
(Slide) She was a woman
(Slide) She was a widow
(Slide) She was poor (assumed)
(Slide) A little about judges and this judge
(Slide) He is not Jewish - the cases if they were Jewish would be taken before the Sanhedrin not a Roman consulate (judge)
(Slide) He would be a travelling judge - these were circuit judges that would go from town to town, pitch a tent for a few days to hear the cases.
(Slide) He was about himself not justice - From (v.4-5) we know he does not care about God nor man; he just wants this woman to go away. It was known that oftentimes only way to get the case on the court docket to be heard was to bribe the Judge’s clerk.
Remember why Jesus gave this parable? - to teach what our attitude and heart should be about prayer. As mentioned in the intro about parallel, this is really a parable of contrast, let me show you.
(Slide) First, we will not appear before unjust judge, but a loving Father - this is the loving Father that Paul addresses as “Abba Father” in Rom8:15
(Slide) Our appearance will be before a known judge, not unknown - we will appear before Him as His children, not a stranger begging for audience with Him. - we have unfettered access to Him our God given privilege through Jesus
(Slide) We will not be a widow, but a bride - A widow, alone, where we are the bride of Christ according to Rev21:2
(Slide) Widow goes alone - we have an Advocate - our Advocate is Jesus according to 1Jn2:1; He lives to intercede (speak up for us on our behalf) according to Heb7:25
(Slide) Widow went to court- we come a throne - the widow went to a court of law, we come to the throne of grace according to Heb4:16
(Slide) But now, what about (v.8); let’s look at it again at 2nd part and see if can reason what Jesus means -
Luke 18:8 NASB95
“I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
(Slide) What are your thoughts on this verse?
Keeping in mind that Jesus is telling a parable about prayer, let me paint a picture. we are a child of God, the bride, who has an advocate and we come to the throne of grace. Knowing these things, when we pray, do we stop or do we stay at it?
Remember Jesus is heading to the Cross, he has told them when he returns it will be for justice - Luke is saying like it will come quickly. And it is coming quickly in God’s timing for -
2 Peter 3:8 NASB95
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
When He returns will He find us praying? Will He find us faithful? Will He find us longing, looking for Him? Just a few thoughts before moving on.
(Slide) What we pray for is not what we really need most the time; we need Jesus Himself
(Slide) Prayer is not to get the goods, but to spend time with the One who is good.
(Slide) Prayer is not about the gifts; its about thanking the Giver of the gifts
(Slide) Prayer is not about claiming the promises, but to embrace the Person we pray to.

II. The Pharisee and the Publican

(Slide) There are three things we need to notice in (v.9)
( Slide) Trusted in themselves
(Slide) Thought they were righteous
(Slide) Thought self better than others
(Slide) What is this parable about (v.9-10)?
This is still all about prayer.
(Slide) Look at (v.11-12) what can you learn about the Pharisee? - Notice it says he was praying to himself
(Slide) How about the publican (v.13)? - Notice it says he was praying to God
Notice contrasts again
(Slide) Look at the contrasts
(Slide) Pharisee - praying to self; Publican praying to God
(Slide) Pharisee - self-righteous; Publican a sinner
(Slide) Pharisee - prideful; Publican humble
We may think that our prayers are answered in direct proportion to how often we pray, how often we go to church, how often we fast, how often we do good. In reality the Publican had it right, answered prayer is in direct proportion to God’s mercy on the sinner.
We need not go to God and say “forgive me I’ll never do it again” for that is relying on self, on our flesh. Go to God as a repentant sinner knowing we fall short and are in need of His mercy and His grace.
(Slide) So, what are you walking away with in these two parables today?
Position is more important than possession
Humility has to replace pride
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