Incense Rising Online Study 8

How long have you prayed for that loved one? Perhaps a child, a spouse, or a parent? The request may be for salvation or healing. How many requests have you stopped praying about? You didn’t intend to drop them from your prayer list, but for one reason, or no reason, that supplication is overlooked.

Sometimes we pray about the same thing for years, even decades. Many times, the prayer may not be answered within our lifetime.

Jesus wants us to continue bringing the same names and needs to Him. Let’s look at Luke chapter 18.

When I read the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:2-6), I picture Granny from “The Beverly Hillbillies”. She is a spitfire, and this evil judge who does not fear God, nor regard man, has ignored her request. Someone did Granny wrong, and she wants justice. When the judge who probably can be bought, does nothing, she returns. Wagging her skinny finger in his face, she demands justice once again. She is poor and cannot bribe him, but the judge doesn’t have time for Granny. He has corrupt politicians to blackmail, so he gives her the justice she sought.

The point? If an evil judge bestows sweet Granny’s request, think what more your loving heavenly Father will do.

Jesus says that “men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1).

Don’t lose heart! Don’t become discouraged! Don’t give up!

How do you feel when you continue praying without results?

What does it look like when you “lose heart”?

Then Jesus asks his disciples an odd question:

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

When we cease praying, it is likely we have lost faith. Faith is synonymous with trust. Sometimes we quit asking for something because the situation has changed. Many times, we give up, lose heart.

Jesus asked this question over 2017 years ago, Is there less faith now? Is there more? Where would you fall?

Jot down Luke 18:1 on some post-it notes and place them where you will see them. I am not telling you to keep praying. Jesus is telling you to keep praying.

The next parable in Luke 18 revolves around two men praying. One is a tax collector, a deceitful character. The other is a Pharisee. He believes he has no sin. His works buy him a spot in heaven, or so he thinks.

Of the two men, which one was more righteous? Why?

We need to understand righteousness because James 5:16 says:

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Who is a righteous man?

God sees the righteousness of Christ when He sees those who have been born again. This is called positional righteousness. Practical righteousness is when the lifestyle of a Christian is obedient to God. In other words, we cannot have habitual sin in our life and expect our prayers to be heard, much less answered. Obedience begins in the heart. Sins of attitude are still sin. What sins do you think the average believer struggles with most?

Over the next few days, ask God to search your heart, revealing all sin and cleansing you from it.

Heavenly Father, strengthen our faith. Rid us of discouragement. Cause us to be obedient, bringing You much deserved glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

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