This message is about our need of faith in prayer.
In Lk 18:1-8, Jesus spoke a parable to his disciples to the end that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. This parable is about a woman who came to a judge so he would avenge her of her adversary. To avenge is to exact satisfaction for a wrong by punishing the wrongdoer, i.e., 1 Sam 24:12. The judge neither feared God nor regarded man. So, he wasn’t of a mind to grant her petition. However, he avenged her, because she troubled him with her continual coming. If he hadn’t avenged her, she would have worn him out.
The lesson for us in this parable is that, when we pray, we need to “cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with (us)”? We must always pray and not faint even though it may seem like the Lord is not answering our prayers. This is particularly true right before the Lord returns.
When Jesus concluded the parable, he asked, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth”? He asked this because, before Jesus returns, men’s hearts will be failing them for fear, Lk 21:26. Scoffers will be asking, Where is the promise of his coming? 2 Pet 3:4. Many of his servants will think he is delaying his coming, and they won’t be looking for him, Matt 24:28. Few will believe he’s coming. And faith will truly be lacking before he comes.
This question that Jesus asked points us to one of the key elements of effectual prayer, Faith. We need faith in prayer to keep praying until the Lord answers our prayers. Our faith is founded in three things. We need:
Faith in God’s words – Rom 10:17. Faith comes by hearing the words of God. Look at 1 Jn 5:14-15, “This is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him”.
God discloses his will in his words. And people who believe these words have a more effectual prayer life than people who don’t. For example, when John Paton was sailing to New Hebrides, he prayed for the salvation of the cannibals on those islands. The verse he believed was Ps 2:8. Interestingly, this is a verse that God doctrinally fulfills at the second coming of Jesus. Nevertheless, this is the verse he believed and according to which he prayed. And God answered his prayers. Untold thousands of “the heathen” in those islands believed.
Faith in God – Lk 18:35-42. When the blind man heard that Jesus was near “he cried saying, Jesus, thou Son of David have mercy on me”. He knew that he was talking to the Messiah, when he called him the Son of David. And Jesus heard the man’s petition and gave him his sight. When the man received his sight, he glorified God. He knew who had answered his prayer.
When we pray we must have faith in God. 1 Jn 5:14-15, says, “This is the confidence that we have in him… he heareth us… the petitions that we desired of him”. We must know whom we are addressing and that he can and will answer our prayers, for his glory.
Faith in Prayer – Mk 11:23-24. When we pray, we must believe that prayer is enough/. We must not doubt; we must believe. Jesus said, “Ask and ye shall receive”. In Jas 1:5-8, we ask in faith. We can’t be double minded.
I must confess that I pray like I used to train for track and cross country. When I trained, I was satisfied that I had done the workouts that the coach gave us to do. I wasn’t of a mind to “win”, but rather to do the workouts… to do my duty. My prayers have often been of the same tenor. I’m satisfied that I’ve done my duty, regardless how God might answer, if he answered at all. Our prayers shouldn’t be more about the doing than the result.
Conclusion – Yesterday, I preached a graveside service in Commerce for a friend of mine from Beeville. I was able to tell his family about his salvation. One of my friend’s nieces approached me after the service with tears glistening her cheeks. She said, “I prayed for my uncle and aunt everyday for years and years. I am so grateful to know, beyond doubt, that God heard my prayers and answered them. What a joy”.
For more information see Prayer is Your Voice of Faith.