Jesus taught that prayer must be with expectation—expecting the best from God (from Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:8-13; Luke 18:6-8).
When you read these passages you will see that the emphasis of Jesus’ teaching on prayer is not entirely on the persistence of prayer, but I think it is more on the sure answers that God will give when we are persistent in prayer. Hence, when we pray, God does not want us to be so focused on our own persistence in prayer, but rather on how loving He is and how He wants to answer our prayers quickly. In both the Matthew passage and the Luke passage the emphasis is not so much on the asking but on the receiving, not on the seeking but on the finding; again, it is not on the knocking but on the door being opened.
The teaching Jesus uses in these three passages to…
That verse, from Romans 12:21, was put in front of me last night after I prayed, “Lord, give me a Scripture verse to guide me.”
Sometimes, occasionally, I feel overcome by evil. But here, I reasoned, is a way to counter it. I can overcome evil when it comes against me by doing good. It does not have to overcome me—and get me down.
Another verse, earlier, verse nine, says “Let love be without dissimulation (hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”
I am wondering how exactly to read these verses; in what context? Well, certainly, as it is here, it is regarding evil men of the world. But in a broader sense we can take it as all the evils of the devil and the world and the flesh. It all will overcome us if we let it. How many ways can evil overcome us? Many ways! But we can overcome it all by doing good—in the will of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I think there are as many good things we can do as there is evil. And in every good deed there is prayer behind it, and hospitality. And in all the good we do we are loving God and are looking up to Him. If we are weary and feel beaten down, we can have hope in Him and rely on Him in all we do and in all we think about.
Jesus taught that prayer must be with persistence—not losing heart (from Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:5-10, and Luke 18:1-8)
Jesus taught this lesson of persistence in prayer from two different stories, on two different occasions. One of His stories, recorded in Luke 11:5-10, is about a man who needed bread and who goes to his friend at midnight and begs for it until his friend gives him the bread. The other story, in Luke 18:1-18, similarly, is about a widow who goes before an unjust judge and pleads for justice from her adversary; and she continues to come to him, begging for justice, until he finally gives it to her.
We will not go into all the details of the stories (you can read the stories yourself). However, I want to emphasize the central teaching: that when we pray we must pray with persistence and not lose heart
In this post and in the following eight posts our discussion will be drawn strictly from what Jesus taught us about prayer in the gospels.
In my study, I found fourteen different passages in the gospels where Jesus taught on prayer. I have organized them into eight different categories. This is an excerpt from my book Principles of Prayer.
#1. Jesus taught that prayer is not to be directed to others or self but to God alone; therefore, it must not in any way be a show or an effort of good works, but rather to be as a humble cry to God for help (from Matthew 6:5-8 and Luke 18:9-14).
We will outline this section in three parts. First, from Mathew 6:5…
1. Prayer must not be a show of good works.Jesus said, “And when you pray, you shall not be like the…
Recently, as I was meditating on 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, I suddenly realized, by the wording of verse 19, that since my body is a temple of the Holy Spirt, that that has a great significance to my purity.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
The fact that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in me, is the reason why I sin against my body when I am immoral. Let my explain. The devil and sin are always directed in some way against the Holy Spirit (God) and God’s dealings with me. Since my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, that fact in itself compels sin and Satan to come against me, because they hate God and God in me.
Now it seems to me that if we can really understand what it means that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit—that is, if we really understood the significance of that relationship, and also what effect our sin has on it, we would be well on our way to achieving greater victory over sin, especially over the sins of immorality.
I wish I could find the little book I read a long time ago, My Heart Christ’s Home. It might be stored away in some box. It has a lot to say about this issue—that since He lives in me, it would be good for me to purify my heart and life. The sin of immorality so affects my body (the temple) and also my relationship with Christ in me. Romans 6:23 is so true in this case. The wages of sin is death—death to my relationship with God; death to my spirituality. When I act in an immoral way this is what happens.
I am not married, but I know how a clean house can affect a marriage. I know that every case is different, but can’t you just imagine the difference a clean house makes. If a house is clean and without odors and with fresh air throughout and even has the sweet aroma of flowers—oh, how that will affect a relationship.
And it is also true in our relationship with God. The affects of sin leaves a bad odor and dead air in the temple (where God dwells). But the removal of sin by repentance cleans out and airs out the temple, and thus also by continual fellowship with Him a sweet aroma will flow through the temple and draw you closer to Him.
Please remember, as I should, that Christa lives in us and we ought to keep this temple (our body) clean and pure, so as to glorify God in us and in all we do.
Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will do these three things for us and in us:
1. Bring us into communion with God
Since we know that God is spirit and that He is omnipresent, we can be sure that He is always with us and in us. The Bible tells us that we cannot escape from His presence (Ps. 139:7-12). We also know that since He is a person, we can relate to Him as a person. For these reasons, it is possible to have a great and lasting relationship with Him.
The only problem is that our sinful flesh often gets in the way, and therefore, we often reject Him. But our flesh need not be a problem. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and so, we can simply confess our sins, repent, and come back into fellowship with Him. And the Holy Spirit is…
As Christians we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. But it is up to us every day to ask Him for His help. Here are four things we can ask of Him.
1. That He will give us power over temptation. The Bible says that if we live by the Spirit—that is, if we have our mind set on what the Spirit desires and we do what the Spirit tells us—we will not carry out the desires of the flesh (Rom. 8:5; Gal. 5:16). It seems so easy. But the reason why it often turns out to be so hard is because we try to live by the Spirit without asking for His help.
We cannot live by the Spirit or set our mind on what the Spirit desires without bowing our head in prayer—constantly asking for the Spirits help. Pray for His help and power! And…
I’m not sure exactly what the Psalmist was referring to, but for me it has plenty of application to my old age. Every morning I get up reeking with arthritis pain, and it takes me a while to get going. And I also find that every little thing I do is more worrisome. These pains and problems tend to drive me more to God in prayer and in the word. I seek Him more now than ever before. So, I conclude with the Palmist that affliction is good for me; it keeps me in line with Him, seeking His will.