And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 . . .
If nothing else, just pray with the song given at the end of this post . . .
Life aches over the long haul, not just for a second or two. If life was a 50-yard dash, then we could endure the pain through sheer force of will. But life isn’t a sprint. It’s a cross-country marathon that hurts each step of the race. Soon enough we find ourselves singing with Jackson Browne that we’re “running on empty.” We lose heart and can barely put one foot in front of the other.
So the question becomes, “How can we go on when we’re running on empty?” Where can we find the strength to make it through so many aching years? The general answer is, of course, the LORD. Scripture promises that those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength (Isaiah 40:28-31).
But the general answer, “the LORD will give us strength,” doesn’t suggest any particular course of action. How is it that we are going to see God get us through life? Jesus answered the question of how we can be renewed in Luke 18. He taught his disciples a parable for the purpose of showing that the antidote to wearing out in life is to always pray. Notice Luke 18:1 at the top of this page. Christ gave this parable so that they always pray and not lose heart.
The parable that Christ gave in Luke 18:1-8 is a curious picture. The LORD told the story of a widow persistently petitioning an unjust judge. The judge eventually grants the widow’s request because she has worn him out. Christ reasoned that if even an unjust judge eventually gave in, we can be sure that God will hear the persistent prayers of his own who call out in prayer.
Do notice the emphasis on persistent prayer. The key to always praying so that we don’t lose heart is recognizing that prayer should be a long, steady pull – – – not a quick jerk here and there. For those areas of life where we hurt, we should find ourselves on our knees day after day after day. Over and over again, we should approach God with the bright anticipation of children who ask a loving parent for a gift.
When we find ourselves wearing out, then we should respond by getting on our knees each day to bringing our requests to our heavenly Father, “We should ask God with anticipation, “Is it today that you will grant my request? Lord will you hear my prayer?”
Forget Jackson Browne and the lament that we’re running on empty. Instead, let’s sing the old chorus, “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, / Standin’ in the need of prayer. / It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, / Standin’ in the need of prayer.” Or, “Pass me not o gentle savior, hear my humble cry. / While on others thou art calling, / do not pass me by.
As you pray persistently, do not forget to ask God for those areas of vision that we are targeting as a church. We are striving to be a church that features: (1) Word centered Worship (2) A passion for outreach locally and around the world. (3) A passion for raising up a new generation of Christians who continue in the faith after High School. (4) A current constitution and a strong-evangelical doctrinal statement (5) A shared vision for giving sacrificially of our time, talents, and treasure. (6) Meaningful membership and maintained rolls (7) A name that reflects our identity – (8) A staff to lead and feed our church: (9) Facilities where we can minister and share life together. Persistently pray!
See also on prayer:
Specific Family Prayers Provide Particular Encouragement
Jesus Example of Prayer in the Gospel of Luke
Pray Like a Drunk