No other words of the Bible are spoken more often than the 65 words we call the Lord’s Prayer.
Countless times every day, in the worship of the church and in the personal devotion of many Christians, these words spring to life: “Our Father, who art in heaven.” The prayer is sung, recited in unison, mumbled mindlessly at times and, at other times, choked out through sobs of pain, desperation or remorse.
For two thousand years Christians on every continent, and in every language, have lifted this prayer to God. When you take these words on your lips, you stand on sacred ground.
Prayer is not limited to this expression of faith but, as we have seen from our studies, it provides a wonderful framework for us to use in developing our relationship with God. As end this series, our final study (from Luke 18) reminds us that prayer is not a one off event: a deep relationship demands the persistence of focussed prayer.
Shall I give you yet another reason why you should pray? I have preached my very heart out. I could not say any more than I have said. Will not your prayers accomplish that which my preaching fails to do? Is it not likely that the Church has been putting forth its preaching hand but not its praying hand? Oh dear friends! Let us agonize in prayer (Charles H. Spurgeon)
If you find your life of prayer to be always so short, and so easy, and so spiritual, as to be without cost and strain and sweat to you, you may depend upon it, you have not yet begun to pray (Alexander Whyte)
To think about
- When has your persistence paid off?
- Is John Wesley correct in saying that God does nothing but in answer to prayer? If it is true, why would God limit Himself to only act through prayer?
- How can we effective in prayer?
Please read Luke 18: 1 – 8
In the previous chapter (Luke 17 verses 20 to 37), Jesus warned His disciples that would face tough times before He returned. He said that the one who endures or perseveres to the end will be saved. For the Church to triumph in the face of rejection and persecution, we will need to be a people of prayer, listening and obeying the Spirit’s voice and God’s guidance. In Luke chapter eighteen, Jesus gives us two lessons on prayer to teach us to always pray and not give up (v. 1).
Don’t give up
- Can we ever change God’s mind? Explain your answer
- What was the widow’s strategy for getting what she needed? What can we learn from her approach about the need for persistent prayer?
- How is God different than this judge?
- Where will Jesus find faith in Swindon today?
- What can we do to develop the faith and witness of the church in his absence?
- How can we be sure we are praying for things that are within the will of God? When should we stop praying for a particular issue or person?
We have reached the end of our series on prayer but we have not exhausted the rich relationship that flows from the commitment to pray. Prayer changes our nature, it transforms our outlook and it develops our relationship and partnership with God.
Prayer changes history. It is a way to feel God’s heartbeat. Knowing who God really is makes us want to conform to Jesus Christ and his way of life. God graciously reveals himself to us while we pray, and it is during those moments that we can breathe in deeply his love. Prayer impacts others – it says we mean business, that we are committed and want the best for others. Let’s use this wonderful gift more.
Keep praying, keep growing
- What have you learned from this series which has helped you in your discipleship and/or in your understanding of prayer?
- How would you explain the value and blessing of prayer to a new believer?
- Where could we continue to develop the prayer life of GHBC? What practical steps can we take?
- What do you want to thank God for? What struggles do you face? Where is your heart moved for others? Bring this all to God in prayer