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October 27, 2020 8:00 am
When you think of people praying you probably picture them bowing their heads closing their eyes and speaking quietly to God.
But when Jesus talked about praying he told about a man pounding on his neighbors door in the middle of the night and refusing to go away until the neighbor got out of bed and gave him what he wanted.
Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act quickly. Luke records not one but two parables that Jesus told the story line is about a person who keeps on demanding something and won't stop asking.
One is about a man who need some bread to feed a guest's arrived late at night he goes and pounds on his neighbors door and asked to borrow the bread and won't take no for an answer.
The other story is about a woman who goes again and again to a judge to demand justice. The judge couldn't care less about justice, but he does care about getting the woman out of his hair so to find some PC does with the pesky woman wants and gives her justice on the face of these stories don't seem to be lessons about prayer. Yet that's exactly what Jesus said they were now there may be a few things, these parables seem to teach about prayer that Jesus didn't really intend to teach, so let's listen as Dr. Boyce tries to sort out what the parables mean and what they don't. George Miller, the founder of the great Christian orphanage work in England in the last century was savanna prayer and one of the things C knew about prayer was how to continue the price even when the answer to his prayer seem to be delay.
He had two friends that he prayed for most of his life. He began praying for their salvation when he was quite a young man and he prayed for them for more than 60 years.
One friend became Christian in the last year of Mueller's life. Shortly before his death, probably at the last service at which Mueller preached and the other friend became a Christian in the year after his death, point of that is that we should learn something from Mueller about continuing in prayer and not giving up and there should be more George Miller's among us whenever we talk about prayer. I think we have to acknowledge that there's a great deal. We don't know about.
We don't understand fully. I'm sure how our prayers relates to the all wise and sovereign counsels of God. God knows what is going to do. We don't know we pray for things that may or may not be in as well and were not quite sure how our prayers relates to that counsel or, again, we pray for things and we don't receive what we ask for and we understand in some circumstances that that's because we don't pray rightly we don't pray with right motives. James says that explicitly in his letter, but on the other hand would seem that at times we do pray with right motives. At least our motives are as right as we know how to make them and we still don't receive answers to our prayers by what we do in circumstances like that we give up we keep on praying and we suppose that by praying we get God to change his mind are people who have suggested that no Christian who is believing is he or she pray should ever pray the same prayer twice because the argument goes, God hears all prayers.
He's promised to answer believing prayers. Therefore, if you pray once he is heard it and he will answer it and therefore to pray again is to show that you really don't believe that he's heard it or that he's going to answer it. In other words, pray again is not to trust God well before we get to spiritual along those lines, we should remember that the Lord Jesus Christ himself, repeated prayers.
Have a great example of them praying and disseminating before his crucifixion. He prayed over a period of hours repeating were sure the same prayer at least three times as we haven't mentioned explicitly. Lord, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt and is all that event, undoubtedly, that the author of Hebrews wrote during the days of Jesus life on earth. He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was hurt because of his reverence submission. So whatever we do not understand, or perhaps do understand about prayer lease this much needs to be said the Lord by his explicit teaching and by his example encourages us to continue in prayer and not give up. This is the point of the two stories which we now, Luke's gospel in chapter 11 verses five through 13 and then later on in the same gospel in chapter 18 verses one through eight. We have two parables that deal with perseverance the first one has to do with a man who had a friend come to visit him late at night after a long journey and he wanted to give them something to eat. When was larger and there was nothing there so he did the only thing he noted that we went next door to his neighbor and he said friend. Can you loan me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine has come on a journey that I have nothing to give them Aldebaran already gone to bed did want to get up so he called back from the bedroom doorway don't bother me I'm already in bed.
My children are in bed with me. The door is barred. I don't want to give you anything tonight. The man below kept persisting in his request of our Lord said that eventually the neighbor got up and gave him what he wanted, not because he was his friend, but because of his persistence that he made this application.
It's been called the Magna Carta of Christian prayer way he explained it was this, ask and it will be given you seek and you will find knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened, and he made another job in another application, and he said this, which of you fathers of your son asked for the fish, will give him a snake instead or if he asked for Nagel to give him a scorpion. If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him making chapter. There's a similar story.
At any rate, a story that makes the same point is prefaced by these words, the Lord Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. The story was.
This was an unjust judge who lived in a certain city. He didn't care for justice. He didn't care for God. He didn't care for man was in the same city poor widow who had been taken advantage of in some way didn't have a husband to plead her case and therefore came to the judge or self of this cry, give me justice against my adversary on the judge said even though I don't care for God or man. Nevertheless, because this widow keeps coming to me and pestering me with her cries. I'll give her justice lists over the course of time she wear me down and then our Lord applied it. He said will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night really keep putting them off. I tell you, he will see that they get justice and that they will get it quickly. I want to be tomato stories with these stories, particularly dealing as they do with prayer and prayer itself. Being a difficult subject, we have to at least make an effort to put them in a broader biblical context. This, to say that the first thing we have to determine is what they don't teach, we suggest a number of things that these parables don't teach.
First of all, they do not teach that God is going to bed and that he is reluctance to give gifts to his children.
Matter of fact, when we read these stories carefully. You see that the comparison that Jesus is making is not in the area of similarity but in the area of contrast, he sang look, here is this neighbor was in bed.
It was reluctant to give what this neighbor of his needed and yes, he gave it to him even in spite of his reluctance because of the man's persistence that would happen on the human level.
Under those circumstances, how much more ready. Is your God to grant your requests because he is not unconcerned. He is not in bed and he is not stingy again. You get the same sort of thing. In the parable of the unjust judge.
God is not saying that he is like math. Jesus is teaching. By contrast, the God is the God who is always ready to dispense justice and will do it, and therefore those who prayer to be encouraged by the knowledge of that fact. So I say again, these stories do not teach that God is in bed asleep, reluctant, do not teach that he is unjustly teach the contrary, God is John Scott is concerned.
God is always a large and therefore were to be encouraged to pray by that contrast. Secondly, they do not teach that the privilege of prayer is for everyone. This is something that always needs to be said. When we talk about the biblical doctrine of prayer. The Bible teaches that there are two classes of men and women there to fatherhood, so there are two bodies of people related to those two fathers is God in his children, and there is the devil and his children, and God the father of the Lord Jesus Christ does not promise to answer the prayers of those would not come to him through Jesus Christ his son. This is taught in the parables in Luke as well.
For example, when this friend who has his friend come from the journey goes tomorrow. Something he borrows it not from someone who is a mere stranger goes to the neighbor and he says friend friend is, in other words, he is a special relationship to the one probably makes a request.
Moreover, when you get to the end of the parable of the Lord begins to apply it. He says if you then, though, your evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him as he is talking there about a family relationship so we talk about prayer. We talk about a God who is willing to answer the prayers of his children. When a God who is willing to answer the prayers of his children.
So the question is are you a child of the most high God to become lax about my birth by faith that incorporation into the body of Christ, so that you become children of God spiritually through what Christ has done.
The third thing that this collection of stories does not teach, and that is, it does not teach that we can pray for just anything and get it simply because we pray for it again and again by you might think that the stories teach that if you look at them just on the surface it really sounds in the context of those stories as if Jesus were saying. Pray for anything key that you pray for long enough, God will do it actually is not saying that in the broader context makes it clear this first story. For example, in Luke 11 follows immediately upon Luke's version of the Lord's giving of what we call the Lord's prayer versus immediately before the essay he said to them when you pray, say father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us and lead us not into temptation is in that context that he goes on to say ask and it will be given you seek and you shall find, knock and it will be open under you and other workers who are the ones who have the right to pray in that way. Well first of all, they are those who come to God.
His father, through faith in Christ. Secondly, there are those who desire the honoring of the sanctification of God's name above all, hallowed be your name. For those who desire the coming of God's kingdom, not their own little kingdoms.
Your kingdom come, and then finally, there are those who pray for the provision of their own needs and not merely their own needs but the needs of others, for they pray, not merely give me this day my daily bread but give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins and lead us not into temptation. People if we could put it in simple language or desiring the will of God for their own lives. Above all else, and it's as if Jesus is saying the people who thus pray will receive what they pray for what we pray for must be in conformity with the will of God. Having said that, having made the qualifications we come back to this matter of perseverance in prayer we want to be specific, we want to say here what is it that the Lord Jesus Christ specifically encourages us to pray for and keep on praying for even if it doesn't come in once to answer this, I think we have to put it into categories.
First category is prayer for that which the Scripture explicitly states is God's will for us.
That is for each of us individually see if the Bible says something is God's will for you then you know it's God's will for you and you can pray for it, knowing that it's God's will for you know God is going to do it. We have to turn to the great principles of Scripture because the Bible is filled with principles.
I think for example of John 640. This is a verse that says this is the will of God that everyone who looks to the son, and believe on him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day I would call this the will of God for any unbeliever, here is the Lord himself saying that it is God's will.
If you are an unbeliever, you turn to Christ, believe on him receive eternal life. And then, in addition to that, you have the promise of Jesus Christ will raise you up at the last day is not a believer you have to begin here. People want to begin at the other end. They get into trouble in their business or in their marriage or in their personal relations or some such thing. And they say all. How could God ever let this happen to me and they become very religious. At that point they come to see the preacher they say what kind to God is made a mess of my life.
How my going to get it straightened out. The point where they need to get it straightened out is not in terms first of all of their business for the relationships with her marriage or whatever it may be the point of their relationship to Christ, God's will. You are an unbeliever for you is that you come to Christ. First of all, in faith for salvation.
And then after that, he begins to work out the other things but is not going to teach you calculus until you learn rudimentary math.
Secondly, is a principal like Romans 12 12 Romans 12 one and two speaks of the will of God. Here Paul is speaking of the Christian life.
He says I urge you in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind and then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is that is is good, pleasing and perfect will set principal that has to do with sanctification.
God's will is that you become increasingly holy. Did you become increasingly conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, so we could put that in this kind of form, anything that contributes to your growth in holiness is God's will for you and anything that does not contribute to your growth in holiness, but rather hinders that growth in holiness is not God's will for you so you put something in your life you say is this helping me grow as a Christian that that is that's God's will for you. Pray that you might grow the God might bless he certainly will see there's a great principle that helps us sort our way for many different things any of the promises of God can be taken in this way. James 15 if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God gives all men liberally abrade.
If not, it shall be given him.
You lack wisdom you feel foolish all I think we don't often talk about that but I think many many many of us feel foolish much of the time when we let our hair down with one another.
We say all you know I was so embarrassed that situation. I didn't know what to say. Everybody else sounded so sophisticated and I felt like a bump on a log and I wished I could crawl under it. James says of you lack wisdom, ask God and God will give you wisdom.
How about Philippians 4 verses six and seven. Don't be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus you feel anxious. Are you worried the events of your life. Pressing upon you, and you say I don't know what I meant to do all says make your requests known to God and one piece of God passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds and will be known as a man or woman of peace, even as Jesus Christ himself was known as a man of peace, say well that doesn't cover everything. What about the little things of life. The verse immediately after the speaks of those brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such thing. See if you get into doubtful situations you say.
Well I suppose it's all right to do this, but is that really the best thing for me to do. I really could do something else. This is a verse that speaks to that situation. It says Christians should always choose the best, but I kind of a revelation of the will of God.
You can pray to God to lead you in that way.
Just make sure that when you pray along these lines, you take your guidance from Scripture that we come to that second category.
The first category is that which the Bible explicitly says is God's will for you. The second category is that which the Bible reveals to be God's will generally but not specifically his will for you, or in any one particular. History would have to be very careful at this point, we have to recognize that we don't know the mind of God and that we do have a tendency to pray for things which are colored not so much by our desire for the honor and glory of God, but for our own convenience so we recognize that to be a difficulty, yet at the same time in the same passage in which James says you don't receive because you pray with wrong motives. He also says you don't have because you don't ask. So we go very slowly.
Here we say well what about these things switch in general conform to the will of God. Now you know it's against the will of God. You can pray for it all, but in general they conform to the will of God. And yet we don't know that they apply to us in a particular instance when I get the suggestion. If as you pray in one of these areas, you find that you grow stronger and stronger in your prayer that you become increasingly aware of God's presence that you have a growing awareness of God's desire to answer your prayer. If as you pray.
That happens, then you should persevere in prayer.
Taking this is an indication that God is certainly going to answer it, no matter how long the answer is delay. I don't think I want to let you off the hook quite as easily as that. However, because I know the kind of thinking that goes on in our hearts were lazy. Most of us most of us should have a burden in prayer and don't and it's very easy to say at that point.
Well thank goodness, then nothing is pressing upon me so much that I feel I just have to keep praying for it.
Therefore, I just won't persevere. Well I can tell you what it is that you should persevere in prayer for, but I can tell you one thing that we should all be persevering in prayer for if nothing else we should pray for God to move in the power of his Holy Spirit to bring revival to Reformation in our time or Jesus Christ said pray the Lord of the harvest, that he will send out laborers into his harvest.
As we pray for laborers.
We pray not merely that they might labor that that God might bless their labors in the church might be strengthened in society might be blessed through the increasing presence of the Christian witness in its midst say is prayer linked revival. Yes, I believe it is I don't believe there was ever a great revival in history. The didn't have its inception in some measure in the prayer of believing people often a very very small core back in the 17th century in Ulster in Ireland. There was a great revival that swept over that country and spilled over into England and was a source of major transformation, but it began not in any great way but by seven otherwise rather undistinguished ministers who simply banded together to pray for revival and they prayed regularly and fervently in the revival came revival that swept over England under the preaching of Wesley and Whitfield began as those small bodies of Methodists met throughout the country to ask God would move in their time England was in a mess of those days, corruption was rampant, society was operating at a low level net these men and women band together to pray and God heard their prayers in the spirit of God moved, and England experience the greatest spiritual transformation in its history. That revival spread over in the American colonies as well. The same thing was true of the preaching of DL Moody and those that operated in his time there great movements for God were born and sustained by prayer doesn't require a great many people to play God works through the prayers of few, I'm convinced that there's never been a great moving of the spirit of God in revival and reformation. The didn't begin with such believing in persevering prayer by Christian people so that's the message of these parables or Jesus Christ gives them on the point of the parables is that we might pray and not give up as pray is not give up.
And while we pray for the many things that God lays upon our hearts. Let's pray with the spirit of God, like move and move in a mighty way, even in our own time. Let us pray all our father, we confess that we are weak men and women in this area of prayer. We don't know how to pray and we don't pray as we ought our father, we are convicted as we hear the teaching of our Lord and we say before you now. We want to become men and women who do pray pray above all for the moving of your spirit, and for Reformation in our time, OR father, grant that not because of who we are, but because of who you are. We desire. The Jesus Christ I be honored and glorified in our time as Savior and Lord is the King of Kings and we pray believing in his name. You are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce, a listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Aiken and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse.
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