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Pray Hard

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Pray Hard

What is prayer?
What are some barriers people have in prayer?
Prayer is a habit to be cultivated. It is a discipline to be developed. It is a skill to be practiced. We cannot reduce prayer to a time clock where we clock in and clock out, doing our “job.” However, the bigger the dream, the harder we will have to pray.

Background and Text

Luke 18:1–5 NKJV
1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”
The parable of the persistent widow is one of the most unique pictures of prayer in Scripture. It shows us what praying hard looks like: knocking until your knuckles are raw, crying out until your voice is lost, pleading until your tears run dry. Praying hard is praying through. And if you pray through, God will come through.
What is praying through?
Praying hard and praying through is two-dimensional, “we must, pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on us.” It is praying until God answers, no matter how long it takes. It is doing whatever it takes to show God we are serious.
We are told to pray persistently, but what might people say about us when we pray persistently?

1. Desperate Measures

If we aren’t desperate, we will not take desperate measures. And if we do not pray like it depends on God, the biggest miracles and best promises will remain out of our prayer reach. But if we learn how to pray hard, like the persistent widow, God will honor our bold prayers because our bold prayers honor God.
Can you describe what people do when they are desperate?
Praying desperate prayers means breaking protocol, but God could not care less about protocol.
Romans 8:26 NKJV
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

2. A Small Cloud

1 Kings 18:41–46 NKJV
41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ” 45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. 46 Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
1 Kings 18:
Too often we stop praying because we can’t see any tangible difference with our natural eyes. We allow our circumstances to get between God and us instead of putting God between us an our circumstances.
What would have happened if Elijah had quit praying after the sixth time?
Why do people give up on their prayers?
What percentage of people do you think give up too easy on their prayers?

3. Praying the Promises

A hyperlink is a link between two documents. For instance, when we send an email and include a website, it becomes a hyperlink, connecting the email to the outside source.
A hyperlink is a link between two documents. For instance, when we send an email and include a website, it becomes a hyperlink, connecting the email to the outside source.
In scripture, we have hyperlinks. A story, passage, or verse, though thousands of years old can connect to our current setting.
Our most powerful prayers are hyperlinked to the promises of God. When you know you are praying the promises of God, you can pray with confidence. It is the difference between praying on solid ground and thin ice.
2 Corinthians 1:20 NKJV
20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

4. Praying the Promises

One primary reason people do not pray through is they run out of things to say. Their lack of persistence is really a lack of conversation pieces.
Psalm 119:105 NKJV
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
When we read the Bible, the goal is not to get through it, but to pray through it, understanding God’s promises of us! It is estimated there are more than 3,000 promises in scripture.
What are some of God’s promises for us?
How can we pray these promises?

Prayer Challenge

What scriptures can we pray over our lives?
Are we teaching our families the pray the scriptures?
What needs need persistent prayer this week?
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