Luke 18, one of my favorites. When I was going through a particular difficult time, the story of the persistent widow was of great comfort. I learned, as I cry out to God both day and night, eventually God would answer. That is a truth.
But as I read Luke 18 this morning, I discovered Jesus’ example of how to pray did not end with the story of the widow.
In the next parable, he taught us to pray with humility. The Pharisee boasted about the “right” things he had done to become righteous. The tax collector recognized his need for a Savior.
Are you petitioning God from the standpoint you know what is right? Are you praying your desire or His desire? Are you leaving room for the Holy Spirit to speak, to refine your desire, to change your perspective?
Let your persistent prayer be married to humility. Jesus promised, whoever exalts himself will be humbled but whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 18:14).
Next Jesus tells us to pray like a child, with the wander of a child, with the expectancy of a children. Children pray without years of disappointment, years of rules, years of theology that tell why God can’t or won’t. They just believe.
Let your persistent, humble prayers be conjoined with child like faith. Jesus said we enter the Kingdom of God like a child. (Luke 18:17).
Then enters a rich young ruler. A nice man, he kept all of the commandments. But was unwilling to give all he had to the poor. And this perhaps is our greatest challenge in praying, learning to pray with our actions.
As we pray, we need to be willing to listen and obey. We pray for racial reconciliation. God says cross the street. Prayers end. We pray for a financial blessing. God says give generously. We walk away like the young ruler. Prayers begin on our knees but end on our feet.
Let our persistent, humble prayers be conjoined with a child like faith and evidenced with obedience. Jesus said if we give our all to him, he would gives us much more in return. (Luke 18:29, 30)
As we pray, Jesus reminds us to remember the cross. Remember His sacrifice. We are healed by his stripes. We are made righteous by His atoning sacrifice. He defeated the enemy and has given us power and authority.
Therefore, let our persistent, humble prayers be conjoined with child like faith, evidenced with obedience be full of power and declared with authority.
And Luke ends this chapter with an example. A sightless beggar.
Bartimeus, heard Jesus was passing by. He had no reason to expect anything from Jesus. He was an untouchable in this society. But with child like faith he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David! Have mercy on me.”
When told to be quiet, he chose not to obey man but to obey that gnawing feeling inside that said, “Don’t worry about how you look to others, cry out to Jesus.” So he persisted.
He humbled himself. He didn’t think he deserved an audience with Jesus, so he cried out for mercy. And when he was brought before Jesus, he asked for the impossible. He asked for that which could only be done by God. He asked for his sight.
Bartimateus is our example of what happens when our persistent, humble prayers are conjoined with child like faith, are evidenced with obedience and are full of power and authority.
Let us pray!