Persistence In Prayer

Jeremiah 31:27-34 • Psalm 119:97-104 • 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 • Luke 18:1-8

18 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”

Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

Luke 18:1-8 New Living Translation (NLT)

Today we continue to walk our way through the gospel of Luke. Jesus tells his disciples about the importance of persistence in prayer. He does it as he usually does in the form of a parable.

There are times when we feel our prayers aren’t being heard – that our prayers are only going as far as the ceiling. Perhaps we have been praying for something so long that we think it is not worth it. Jesus reminds us that we need to be persistent in prayer, just like the widow in this story. She kept on asking the unjust judge to grant her justice. Because she was so persistent, finally the judge relented.

The same needs to be true in our prayer life. We need to be persistent. At the same time, we need to be careful that our prayers are centered on God’s justice – not our own version of God’s justice. In his letters, the disciple John writes this:

14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15

It is important that our prayers align with God’s will and what pleases him. God will not grant answers to prayer that aren’t in keeping with his commandments.

The important thing to remember is that if we ask for those things that please him and are persistent in our prayers, God will answer.


Prayer for the Week

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Your Faith Has Healed You

18th Sunday After Pentecost | October 12, 2019

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 • Psalm 66:1-12 • 2 Timothy 2:8-15 • Luke 17:11-19

11 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria. 12 As he entered a village there, ten men with leprosy stood at a distance, 13 crying out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 He looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” 16 He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And Jesus said to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.”

Luke 17:11-19 New Living Translation (NLT)

As we continue our walk through Luke we come upon the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers. We know that lepers from the Jewish law that lepers had to keep their distance. Instead of crying “unclean, unclean” (as required by the law) they cried out to Jesus, “Have mercy on us!”

Luke then tells us that Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priests – which was required to determine whether or not they were healed. We are not told if there is any argument from the lepers but that they go and they are healed on their way.

You may remember that last week, we looked at the importance of obedience in following Jesus. You may remember that I said that obedience is the bare minimum in following Jesus – that you won’t get an “atta boy” or a pat on the back, simply for obeying – because obedience is required in following Jesus. Over the week, God clarified and challenged me with this: Obedience is the first mile – what does the second mile look like in your life?

While at Chick-fil-A, it was always reinforced that we make each guest’s visit remarkable – for the opposite is unremarkable. We never wanted a guest to leave having an unremarkable experience. For much of the quick-service restaurant industry, the purpose is to sell food quick. My boss was famous for saying, “it’s more than chicken and waffle fries.” Selling food and serving our guests was the first mile. What could we do to go the second mile?

Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Perhaps, that second mile is what working our our salvation with fear and trembling means.

So let’s get back to our story. The ten lepers were indeed healed, but one of them – seeing he was healed – went back to thank Jesus and give God all the glory. The man fell at Jesus feet.

The last paragraph is interesting. Jesus says to the man, “Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you.” The only one who came back to praise God was a foreigner – he wasn’t even Jewish and to add insult to injury, he was a Samaritan – a race that was hated by the Jews.

Perhaps he came back, realizing the great gift he received from Jesus. Perhaps he came back realizing that he had to go the second mile to make his healing complete. In praising God, he was recognized as having great faith, much like Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness.

I challenge you this week to bring healing to others by going the second mile – whether you are thanked or not – whether you are called names or not – reach out to the disenfranchised – reach out to the least of these – go the second mile with them.

If Christ has worked in your life – be sure to praise him for what he has done – that would be going the second mile.