It’s impossible to drive a car without a steering wheel but very easy to drive knowing you have a spare tyre to reach for in case of emergencies! Prayer can be a bit like that, we reach for it in an emergency, but I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he taught his disciples how to pray…
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tyre?”
Corrie Ten Boom.
Words for the Week
Luke 18:1-8. The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Jesus tells this story in Luke to his disciples to make two points. Firstly, they should always pray and secondly, they should not give up.
Jesus himself was always praying. In the temple, on his own, with friends, early in the morning, during the night and in times of crisis. He lived his life with a constantly open channel between him and God. He said he only ever did what the Father told him. Not only did Jesus speak to his Father he listened and acted on how the Father led him. It paints a picture of constant connection, prayer weaved into his every response, action and deed. I love that.
Don’t give up
The widow in the story is very persistent, I admire her tenacity and boldness going back again and again to a judge who doesn’t fear God or man. Yet still she keeps on, believing that the answer she longs for will come eventually. I admire people who pray like her and I want to grow in my persistence, tenacity and boldness in prayer too.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
The end of the parable makes the link between prayer and faith which can sometimes make me feel a bit inadequate, my faith can feel a bit small at times. Then I remember Jesus words, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’, and it will obey you.” Luke 17:6 Jesus uses a crazy picture to make a strong point. Even your small faith can achieve incredible things when you harness it to your prayers and to your God!
“Pray with ambition. Pray with adventurous imagination. There is no better measure of the person you are becoming than the way you are praying right now.”
Pete Greig, Dirty Glory.
Own it personally
As we enter prayer week take some time to reflect on your prayer habits. Are you growing and expanding in the way you pray? Are you persistent, or do you give up and forget easily? How bold are you in what you pray for? Are your prayers small and self focussed? Wherever you find yourself choose a next step to help you grow. Some ideas. Start a prayer journal, go along to Woodies Prayer Watch, join a prayer triplet, use the triggers in your day as fuel for prayer. When you hear bad news take a moment to pray for the situation, when your celebrating/struggling turn it into a prayer in that moment.
“Miracles happen. But prayer is needed. Prayer that is courageous, struggling, and persevering, not prayer that is a mere formality.”
Speak it out
Find an hour this week to pray through the ‘hour of prayer guide’ as part of prayer week.