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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1043. Let persevering prayer be fuelled by a true knowledge of The Father (26/4/24)

This week, in our Luke series, we have been reflecting on Jesus’ teaching on prayer from Luke 11:1-13. Today, in our final devotion on this section,  we consider how that perseverance in prayer needs to be inspired by a true knowledge of God. 

‘Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’  And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.  “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:5-13) 

Lesson: We are to be inspired by God’s Fatherly love in order to persevere in prayer. 


You can listen to this devotional at:




In 2011, the British boxer, Frank Bruno led the London Marathon for about 200 metres! He, for fun, wanted to see how long he could lead…and it was not for long! Most of us can start something, but how many of us persevere and complete what we start? Many Christians make a good sprint start only to become tired, discouraged and shiftless. The key to sustaining prayer is faith that’s built on truly knowing God and His promises. In today’s text, Jesus gives us two parables that are designed to inspire us to persevere in prayer. 


Firstly, He tells shows how perseverance will get what it wants from a reluctant ‘friend’ at midnight. Secondly, He tells us that if fathers - who are evil compared to God - will give good things to their children, how much more should we expect God, the perfect Father, to listen and answer our prayers! Both of these parables tell us the same thing - God, our good and holy Father, will definitely hear and respond to our prayers!  I love what Paul writes about the example of Epaphras: 

‘Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis.’ (Colossians 4:12-13). 

We are not told, but I must believe that Epaphras was ‘always wrestling in prayer’ because He believed in the goodness of the Father. As Paul’s companion, he must have been inspired by Paul who was overflowing with God’s grace, which led to devotion to prayer.   Here are a few examples of what Paul wrote about persistence in prayer: 

  • Without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers. (Romans 1:9-10)

  • I give thanks to my God always for you. (1 Corinthians 1:4)

  • I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Ephesians 1:16)

  • Praying at all times in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:18)

  • We have not ceased to pray for you. (Colossians 1:9)

  • Continue steadfastly in prayer. (Colossians 4:2)

  • Epaphras…always struggling on your behalf in his prayers. (Colossians 4:12)

  • Constantly mentioning you in our prayers. (1 Thessalonians 1:2)

  • We also thank God constantly for this. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

  • As we pray most earnestly night and day. (1 Thessalonians 3:10)

  • We always pray for you. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

  • I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. (2 Timothy 1:3) 

  • Be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

  • Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)


I hope we can see that persistence in prayer is not born of insecurity that goes to extremes in order to be heard. We are not like the prophets of Baal who, in their showdown with Elijah, even cut themselves to be heard (1 Kings 18)! No! Our radical perseverance comes out of confidence that the Father hears us without fail and on the basis of our salvation and adoption in Christ! 


Response

We are to be inspired by God’s Fatherly love in order to persevere in prayer.  When we began this week’s devotionals in The Lord’s Prayer, we began by seeing how we are to begin with praise to God as our Father, and Jesus ends this section by recapitulating the goodness of the Father to us. I hope we can see that prayer begins and is sustained by worship. Seeing God as He is revealed in scripture is the fuel for persevering and powerful prayer. 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

This Sunday we have Dale Barlow from the New Ground leadership team coming to speak on The Holy Spirit so let's be praying in advance for our time together.



Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals, which are accessed in Church News, the Teaching button on the website and are now available on the major podcast platforms. 


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

Our message from our series in Luke on Sunday, based upon Jesus’ teaching on prayer from Luke 11:1-13. Having set them such an example of devotion to prayer His disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus gives them a structure that contains the vital elements that need to be in our prayer-life personally and as churches.   


Please read Luke 11:1-13, and discuss: 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • Praise - Jesus teaches us to begin with praise: “Father, hallowed be your name.” How can we use the Bible in our worship? 

  • Petitions - Secondly, Jesus teaches us to ask for things: “Your kingdom come [your will be done]. Give us each day our daily bread.” What has been your experience of God answering your petitions? 

  • Peacemaking - Thirdly, we are to make peace by receiving and giving forgiveness: “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” Are we doing this and why is this important? 

  • Protection - Finally, we are to ask for protection as a constant habit: “And lead us not into temptation.” Why do we need to do this every day without fail? 

  • Perseverance - The final section (11:5-13) contains two parables that teach us to persevere in prayer. What promises does this section give to inspire faith for persevering? 

  • SIV - Praying, “Your kingdom come” involves asking God to bring people into His Kingdom. How faithfully are you praying for individuals and for multitudes to enter the kingdom? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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