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Three Reasons Why You Ought to Pray

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Three Reasons Why You Ought to Keep on Praying

Luke 18:1-10

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

I think most of us would acknowledge that prayer is usually not on the agenda of most worship services. Prayer is usually occasional! It is usually an emergency! It usually a spare tire that we pull out of the trunk when all the others have gone flat! Thus one of the key elements’ that’s missing in our worship is prayer!

   Now, this story that Jesus gives us through Luke, falls into the category of a parable. And you need to understand that a parable can fall into several categories—it could be a parable of comparison or it could be a parable of contrast. The parable of the Prodigal Son is a comparison, in which we compare the father with God; and the son with the believer; and the one who stayed home with the self-righteous believer. But this parable is a parable of contrast. And if you miss that, you’ll miss the meaning of the parable. It is a parable of contrast. Now let me say this, the word parable is a compound Greek word; the prefix “para” meaning beside, and the suffix “ballo” (where we get the English word ball from) and it means to throw. It is something thrown along side of something else to give it meaning. So a parable is honestly an earthly story that’s thrown along side a spiritual truth to give it meaning. So here, Jesus has a deep spiritual truth that He wants us to understand, and to simplify it, He gives us a story.

   Now, in order to understand the story, you’ve got to understand the cultural setting of the story. Now, this is a court room, and usually when we think of a court room in our western culture we think of a huge building; but no, you need to get an understanding of eastern culture. In those the judge would pack his tent and travel from one end of the country to the other with his huge tent. He was the law! And what he said went, and he had his assistants around him. The people stood on outside the tent waiting to bring their case to the judge. Now if, if you had money and you could get to one of the assistants and bribe them who in turn would bribe the judge, then your case would be heard and you would be assured of winning. This is what Amos talks about in Amos 2, when he says that they sold the poor for a pair of shoes. Setting forth the fact that, what ever was offered, the bribe could be as little as a pair of shoes. And so it is much like today, if you’ve got money you can basically get away with a whole lot of stuff.

   And so, our story, evolves around a widow (now she has no husband), and she is deprived. And yet Jesus chooses to make this widow an object lesson to show us that we ought to always pray. Now, she has, she has, she’s got several problems! Number one she’s a widow; there is no old age assistance, no well-fare; no section eight; none of that! And then she has no husband! And a woman could not testify in court, so she did not have any representation, and she had no husband who could testify for her. And so she’s got all of these problems; she can’t go inside because she’s a woman. She has no money to bribe the judges. And we’ve got a mean judge on our hands. And yet Jesus uses this story, that when you’ve got a no good judge, you’ve got obstacles in your life, no money, deprived, cashed out; He says, in spite of the obstacles against you, He says, KEEP ON PRAYING!

   And, I’m talking to somebody here; there are some obstacles in your life where the odds are stacked against you! And the devil has told you just forget about it, throw in the towel; but this text teaches us what ever you do, KEEP ON PRAYING!

   Now, as I’ve said, this is a parable of contrast. And I want to take a good look at it because in it, the first contrast is between praying and fainting. The second contrast is the no good judge and a loving father! And the third contrast is that of the elect versus that of the poor widow! {I’ll discuss it and take my seat! That’s the frame work!}

   Now, the first thing I want to say is that Jesus points out that,

I.                  Praying Is Better Than Fainting

 

The question today is what is prayer? The Greek word used in this text for prayer is “proseuchomai” (pros-yoo’-khom-ahee). The prefix “pros” is a preposition of direction towards and “eucomai” means desire. It is desire directed toward God! You say, isn’t all prayer directed toward God; No! Because in Luke 18:11, the Bible says, “the Pharisee prayed thus within himself.” So there is much prayer that is prayed today that is not directed towards God; it is directed towards my peers. Oh yes, I used my literary language skills to impress my peers, but prayer is directed towards God. The story is told of a young man who was asked to pray over dinner; so he bowed his head, closed his eyes, and lifted up his eyes and said, “I’m through.” And they said, “But we didn’t hear you! And he said, “I wasn’t talking to you!”

   We like to use stuff like “God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Now come on now, usually when you’re serious about praying, you’re not worried about verbs or language skills or nothing, you’ll say “O Lardy please have mercy on me!” And usually if it’s serious you’re down on two knees; and if it’s real serious I’m down on my face.

  1. What is Prayer?  “proseuchomai”—this word also, it carries the idea of worship, because every time we pray, prayer goes up in worship. Here’s what I mean, every time you pray you come into the throne room of God. And it does not matter if He answers in the affirmative or not, because, for the simple reason; the more I’m in His presence, the more I spend time with Him, the better I become, and the better I know about Him. Every time I pray, prayer goes up in worship, because I can’t really pray without saying thank you. I can’t really pray without offering Him praise and thanksgiving. So prayer helps me because prayer number one goes up in worship.

  1. But then secondly, prayer goes down in warfare. Let me say this, have you ever notice that when you seriously pray, that you can think of some of the most ungodly things! While you’re down on your knees, it’s as if the devil starts parading all kinds of stuff across the screen of your mind. And that is because when you seriously engage in prayer, prayer evokes warfare; the devil gets busy. Now here’s how I know that that’s right, because in Daniel chapter 10, when Daniel prayed and he fasted twenty-one days; then after twenty-one days the angel came and said unto him, “Daniel from the first day that you set yourself to praying, we heard your prayer. Your prayer was answered!” {But watch this}, the angel that was bringing the answer was engaged in warfare trying to get the answer to you. {…Still with me!}

  1. Prayer goes up in worship, down in warfare, but thirdly prayer goes out in work. For you can’t really pray without preparing to do something. The story is told of a fellow who had been praying for a job. He came rushing into church early one Sunday morning, out of breath, he said to his pastor, “pastor you know, I know God is going to give me a job, because I closed my eyes and opened my bible, put my finger on it, and when I opened my eyes my finger was on the book of jobs. He said there were over forty-two of them in there and I know one is for me.

{Touch somebody and tell them to pray!} Pray because you can pray anywhere.

    • In a whales’ belly like Jonah;
    • on a bed like Hezekiah;
    • in a dungeon like Jeremiah;
    • on a roof top like Peter;
    • In the garden like Jesus.
    • In a lions’ den like Daniel.

I’m saying just pray. {Touch somebody and tell them what ever you do just KEEP ON PRAYING}!

   Now let me say something! I just want to drop this in! Because, you know sometimes the devil will say to us, “now you know there’s no need in you praying about that; look at you with yourself, raising your hands—there’s no need in you praying. But let me say something to you, the Bible says, God knows our frame. And he remembers that we are but dust. You know, often times you began to believe the hype about yourself! You get a few accolades and after a while you start believing it, and then when you make a mistake, “God I’ve let you down.” No, you haven’t let God down. That’s pride talking; He knows that you’re no good! It’s you; you don’t know that you’re no good. HE KNOWS OUR FRAME, and that’s why we need TO KEEP ON PRAYING.

But now He says, praying is better that fainting. That word fainting, in the Greek is a compound word; ekkakeo, ek-kak-eh'-o; ek is in and kakos is bad or evil, (in evil). What is he saying? He says; I should keep on praying rather than giving in to my evil impulses. You see because every time I pray, I’ve always got plan two. In case God doesn’t answer, I’ve got plan two. Which is usually my back-up plan and usually it involves evil. He says but praying is better than getting into evil. Let me give you an illustration, and put an end to giving in to your evil impulses. God told Abraham at 75 years of age, partner I’m going to make of you a great nation. One year went by, 2 years, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 nothing happened. By this time Abraham is well in years, the bread’s not rising any more, and he is in bad shape. Sarah—Sarah gets into hermeneutics! She says, “I know what God really meant when He said He was going to help us out! I’ve translated; I already know what that means. She says, that simply means that, “I’ve got a hand maiden, and you can have her and have a child by her.” Well, of course, Abraham, he thought about it for a second and then said o-key dough-key! He gives birth to Ishmael, from Ishmael came the Arabs. Years later he gives birth to Isaac, from Isaac came the Jews. As a result of Abraham giving in to his evil impulses it not only hurt him, but it’s still hurting his children, because the Jews and the Arabs are still fighting. And both of them claim Abraham as their daddy. I’m simply saying, sometimes your evil impulses! Sometimes your evil impulses!  Sometimes your evil impulses! Sometimes your back-up plan not only will hurt you, but it will hurt your generation behind you! So rather than giving in to your evil impulses, KEEP ON PRAYING! Secondly, {watch this}

 

II.               The Father is Better Than the Unjust Judge

 Watch the text, the text says, “He answered her prayer.”  Watch this, the Judge; if you didn’t know any better, you would think that the Judge answered her prayer simply because the story is teaching that we’ve just got to keep bombarding. But what this text honestly teaches here is that you have to understand that the only reason the judge answered this woman was because the text says, “lest she weary me.” Now in the Greek the word weary means lest she give me a black eye; lest she blacken my character.

   Now watch the text. The syntax in this text helps me to understand why the judge really answered. When text says, “She came” (imperfect tense in the Greek, which is repetitious), “saying” (present tense, contemporaneous repetition); now let’s see if I can put it together. Now she couldn’t get in, but everyday she came to the tent! Everyday, back and forth; hollering back and forth, avenge me! Avenge me! Avenge me! Avenge me!

·        Avenge me—I know you’re in there!

·        Everyday! I know you’re in there; I know I’m a woman! I know ya’ll got bribes—avenge me! COURT CLOSED.

·        Next day, she’s right back again—you thought you got rid of me didn’t you! Avenge me! Avenge me! Avenge me!  

·        Yes I’m back—I came back! Avenge me! Ya’ll are taking folk’s money! Avenge me! Avenge me! Avenge me!

·        Next day, avenge me! You think I’m through don’t you! Avenge me! Avenge me! Avenge me! Somebody needs to help me—you took my house; you took my stuff—I need somebody to help me—I’m poor; I ain’t got nobody—avenge me!

That was the only reason why the Judge answered her.

   Notice what the text is saying though, he’s saying, we have a loving Father. What Jesus is saying is, “you don’t have to twist God’s arm.” He saying, “You don’t have to holler loud and scream loud.” He’s a loving Father, who delights to please His children. Now watch the text, because Jesus is the one who gave us the new concept of God as our farther. Over 70 times in the New Testament, he called God, Father. No Old Testament prophet ever called God, Father. Jesus introduced a new concept and said, “that when you pray, ‘say our Father.’” And He helps us to understand the Father is up in heaven, and up in heaven is where God’s perfect will is carried out. And from God’s standpoint, He can see way down the road. So, sometimes when He says no, it may be because He is seeing into the future. And aren’t you glad that you asked God for something and He didn’t give it to; you found out later that it would have been hurtful and harmful to you.

   Notice, He’s a loving Father, and he says, “He will answer them speedily.” Let me say this, GOD’S TIMETABLE IS NOT YOUR TIMETABLE! And God’s delays are not delays of inactivity, but they are delays of preparation. {Let me see if I can show you this}. Just because God doesn’t give you what now; it could be because God is getting you ready for “it” and “it” ready for you. Here’s what I mean! Moses worked for his father-in-law for forty years; in the lowest job you can have (a sheepherder); on the back side of a mountain. Can you imagine what his prayer life must have been? Lord help me; if you help me this first year to get out of this mess, I promise you, I will do everything you want me to do. But, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 20, 30 years go by; God hasn’t said anything.

   What is God doing? He has him working with dumb sheep! You ever seen a sheep in a circus? They’re not jumping through hoops; nothing like that. Sheep have short memories. You can take a dog downtown right now, leave him and he’ll find his way back home; a cat will find its way back, a mule, horse, pigeon, whale, turtle, they will all find their way back home. But if you take a sheep around the corner, she’d be lost. What is God doing? He is getting Moses ready for those short memory Israelites. {Are you listening to me?}

   You remember when they were at the Red Sea and they declared the pulpit vacant; they took Moses aside and asked what kind of leadership is this? The Red Sea before us Pharaoh behind us, mountains on both sides; what kind of leadership is this? The Lord says to Moses, stretch out you rod. Moses stretches out the rod, the Red Sea rolls up like a scroll, the Lord takes an east wind pins the bottom of the sea; they march across on dry land and they say “Woo!” Ain’t nobody like our pastor, Rev. Moses! Woo, our pastor got power! Lord our pastor got power; don’t mess with the pastor now—don’t mess with the pastor! A few days later—short memory sheep; they say, look Moses this water is bitter. Moses cuts down a branch, throws the branch in the water, they say, “Woo!” Nobody like our pastor; don’t mess with the pastor. That’s our pastor! A few days later—short memory sheep; we need some bread. God rains down bread; a few days later, they say look we’re tired of this bread, we want some meat. We miss those Big Mack’s back in Egypt. God paralyzed the wings of the quail they walk and pick up the quail. I mean it was always one thing after another. He will answer you speedily, but often He is preparing you for what He has for you.

{Are you still with me?}

Thirdly, let me say this, watch the text, the text points something else out. The third thing the text points out is that:

III.           The Elect Are Better Than The Widow

Here’s what I mean; He contrast the widow with the elect. That word “elect,” in the Greek is “eklektos” (ek-lek-tos), {stay with me}; I have favor, because I’m his favorite. In fact He calls Israel the apple of his eye, and the Hebrew carries the idea that I am part of the eye itself. He loves me, because I am part of His eye itself; I have favor. Now watch the text, the widow had no friend in the court. You and I have a friend in the court. Song says, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”  What I’m trying to say to you is that this woman had no access to the court. But the Bible says, “You and I have access.” As a matter of fact, in the book of Romans, the Bible points out that we have access. And you know the Greek word for access is “prosagoge (pros-ag-ogue-ay) which simply means an introducer. If you wanted to meet the Queen of England this evening, you honestly couldn’t meet her without an introducer. What the introducer would do is that the introducer would give you the proper clothes.

·        And-a! Then He would-a—He would instruct you in how to have proper protocol in front of the Queen.

·        And-a! He would walk you into the Queens presence.

·        And-a! What I am saying is that Jesus is our introducer.

For-a! You see, first of all He clothed me in God’s on righteousness! Yes Sir! And-a, He-a! He walks me in to the presence of almighty God. And, that’s why the Bible says, “Let us come boldly before the throne of grace to obtain mercy! Ha-a! Ha! Lord-y! Let me close here! You see, we have favor in God’s court room because Jesus is our advocate. And-a! The word for advocate simply means a lawyer! And-a! My grandmother used to say that Jesus is a lawyer that never lost a case! You see, one reason He never lost a case is because the lawyer stands down here! And-a! The judge stands up here, and says, “Over ruled” or “sustained.” But-a! My lawyer has the same power that the judge has. I heard my lawyer say, “When you’ve seen Me you’ve also seen the Father.” {Ain’t God alright! Touch somebody and tell them keep on praying.} Pray—Pray—PRAY! Let me tell you another reason—the second reason! You see in God’s court room, the judge recommends my lawyer. I hear! A-hi! I hear the judge talking about my lawyer! Said, “This is my beloved son, in whom I’m well pleased! {Tell somebody to keep on praying!} Yea-a! Let me tell you! I’m related to my lawyer and I’m related to the judge. The judge is my father, and my lawyer is my big brother! And every now and then I call my big brother—ah, Jesus. {I’m-a close here.} Finally, my lawyer always pleads to the judge that the case against me be dismissed. I heard Jesus say, Father I move that the case be dismissed against him. I hear the devil, which is the prosecuting attorney say, wait a minute LeBlanc is guilty. But I heard Jesus say, Father I moved that the case be dismissed. And I hear the judge say, on what grounds. And I hear Jesus say, Friday—Friday—Friday—ah! Friday, he died—Jesus died! Grab your neighbor by the hand and tell them, “Jesus paid it all; all to him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain—but ah! He washed—ah, he washed!

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