Persistent in Faith and Prayer

Luke 11:5-8 NASB

Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”

What are your needs today? What are the concerns on your heart? What have you been praying about, but you have not yet seen answers to your prayers? Who are you praying for? What are their needs? And, I am not speaking of just physical needs here, but what are their spiritual needs? What are your spiritual needs? And, needs are necessities, not just wants.

Are you being persistent in prayer, even if you have been praying a long while without the results you hope for? Or, have you given up in defeat? Have you let your trials overtake you? Have you let others discourage and dishearten you? And, so now you are fearful? Or, you are discouraged? And, so you have bought into the lie that Satan is more powerful than God, or that other people are, or that your circumstances are able to defeat God?

And, what about your personal life? How are you doing spiritually? Are you walking with the Lord, in fellowship with him, in obedience to his commands? Or, are you slacking off, giving in to your flesh, in order to medicate yourself as a way of dealing with your circumstances? If so, do you not realize that what you do and how you live can hinder your prayers? And, that could be one reason you are not seeing the results you hope for?

For, it is not just persistence in prayer that gets results, but it is persistence in our walks of faith which gets results, too. For, if we pray, but we doubt that God will answer us, then we are double-minded, and we won’t receive from God what we ask. Or if we ask with the wrong motives, to spend what we get on our own pleasures, then we also will not receive from God (Jas. 1:5-8; Jas. 4:1-10; 1 Pet. 3:7; Jn. 15:1-11).

Thus, we must pray, believing that God will answer, and pray with the right motives, and not for selfish gain, but also according to the will of God, and not according to the will of man. And, we must not be holding on to sin in our lives or our prayers will be hindered. For, how are we even going to know what to pray, according to the will of God, if we are not even living according to his will, but if we are living to please our own flesh?

Luke 11:9-10 NASB

“So 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. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.”

This here is an example of why we should not interpret Scriptures out of context. We cannot extract these verses here from the passage, as a whole, or from the whole of Scripture, and assume that we can ask anything of God and that he will give it to us, as though he is a genie in a bottle in the sky there to grant our every request.

If we go back to the beginning of the chapter, which I didn’t quote here, we read that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Luke’s version of the prayer is shorter than Matthew’s (Matt. 6:9-13), but they encompass the same thoughts.

First, the prayer begins by praising and glorifying God, and by showing him honor, respect, and reverence. And, for this to be an honest and true prayer to the Lord, this has to be more than just words spoken, but it has to come from a heart which truly reveres, respects, and fears God for the holy God he is. And, to revere God is to obey God.

Then, it moves on to praying for God’s kingdom to come, and for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So, this is praying in the will of God for God’s will to be done, not ours, and for his godly and righteous kingdom to come to the earth, to be born into the hearts of the people of the earth, which also requires repentance and obedience to Christ as Lord.

It is a prayer also for forgiveness of sins and to not be led into temptation, but to be delivered from all evil. So, again, if this is a sincere prayer, it comes from a heart humbled before God, desirous to do his will, who has repented of his sin, and who truly wants to resist the devil, and to flee temptation, and to draw near to God in full assurance of faith.

So, this signifies that it is those who have humbled themselves before God, who have repented of their sins, and who have made the choice to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands, because they are desirous to do his will, who are the ones asking, seeking, and knocking, and who are finding, receiving, and having doors opened to them.

Luke 11:11-13 NASB

“Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

Now, this is not saying that if you are evil that God is going to answer your prayers. Again, we must read this in the context of the passage, and in the context of the whole of Scripture.

It is referring to us being sinful human beings by nature. It is saying that if we, who are sinners by nature, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts, which in this case is the Holy Spirit, to those who ask him.

But, again, we have to read this in context, for this was said by Jesus while he still walked the face of this earth, prior to his death on a cross, and prior to his resurrection, and prior to his ascension back to heaven, and prior to him sending the Holy Spirit to indwell his followers.

Now we receive the Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. When we believe in Jesus, if our faith is genuine, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us (Rom. 5:1-5; Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Co. 6:19-20; Eph. 1:13-14; Tit. 3:4-7; 2 Tim. 1:12-14).

So, this would be like saying that we who are sinners by nature, if we ask to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God, that we will receive deliverance from our slavery to sin, eternal life with God, and the promised Holy Spirit to indwell us.

But, again, context is everything. We must ask with the right motives, believing that we will receive what we ask for. But, according to Scripture, we must also humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins, and turn to our Lord to follow him in obedience to his commands, to walk in his ways and in his truth.

And, then we must walk according to the Spirit, who dwells within us, by faith in Jesus Christ. And, we must not walk according to the flesh, if we want salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For, Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26; Gal. 6:7-8).

Master, The Tempest is Raging!

Lyrics by Mary A. Baker, 1874
Music by Horatio R. Palmer, 1874

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threat’ning
A grave in the angry deep?

Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today;
The depths of my sad heart are troubled—
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul;
And I perish! I perish! dear Master—
Oh, hasten, and take control.

Master, the terror is over,
The elements sweetly rest;
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast;
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more;
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
And rest on the blissful shore.

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, peace, be still!

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