This evening I’m going to be reading from Luke 11 from verse 1 and I’m reading from the NKJV. This is what it says:
This reminds me of a book I once read that I would recommend to every believer, and it’s titled “With Christ in the school of prayer” written by Andrew Murray. That book captures for me this thought that Jesus Christ actually wants to teach us to pray the kind of prayers that He delights in responding to and answering. That’s the thought that the book captures for me and that’s why I would recommend it to each and every person who is a believer. For every believer to read that book and begin praying with faith and to pray the prayers that Jesus Christ delights in responding to.
It continues in verse 2 and this is what it says:
This is a very interesting lesson that Jesus Christ is teaching us here, and it is the power of persistence in prayer. He shares a very interesting thought: he says, even though the friend might not rise and give him on the basis of their friendship but on the basis of persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. Jesus is teaching us the importance of persistence and that God wants us to persist in our prayers.
When we are coming to Him, He doesn’t want us to just pray for something once and quickly forget about it. He wants us to pray about it over and over again. To remind Him. To go to Him persistently. To bring our requests to God. To bring those family members to God. To bring those people that we are praying for, to God, persistently. He says, even though he might not give him on the basis of friendship, but on the basis of persistence; that persistence trumps relationship and friendship in this instance. He teaches us that God wants us to continue to persist in our prayers.
In verse 9 it continues and it says:
Everyone! I like this. It is not a “might”, it is not a “maybe”, it is not a possibility but it is a definite. To everyone who seeks, they will find. Everyone who asks, receives. And he who seeks, finds. And to him who knocks, it will be open. There is no question about it. But it leaves me with this question: what about those times and those prayers that have remained unanswered in my life? What about those times where I have asked and I did not receive? How do you reconcile that with this teaching?
That is the lesson that Jesus Christ is teaching us: it is not just the asking, but it is the persistent asking that receives. Sometimes I do pray, I will admit, sometimes I do pray for something, then I just forget about it. I pray for it once and then I forget about it. He says that’s part of the reason that sometimes our prayers remain unanswered. It is because we do not persist in prayer.
He continues to say in verse 11:
How many of us as parents, if our children come to us with a request, wouldn’t give them what they want? What He is teaching us here is that God wants us to receive whatever it is that we are asking for in prayer. That Gods heart and will for us is that we receive everything that we ask for in prayer and he says what parent among you doesn’t want your children to receive what they ask for? Some of us even go out of our way to make sure that our children get everything that they want in life. Sometimes that’s not the best thing to do because it results in them growing up spoilt and having the belief that they will receive everything that they want in life just because they want it.
God is a perfect parent. He knows exactly what you want, he knows exactly what you need, and he knows exactly what is good for you. He will not hesitate or withhold something from you that he knows is right for you and good for you if your heart and motives are right and He knows that you will use it for the right reasons. He will not withhold it from you. Otherwise, what kind of parent would he be?
He continues to make this conclusion in verse 13:
That’s the conclusion and the point of this whole teaching. It is interesting because Jesus is actually teaching us to persist in praying and asking for the same thing that God has already promised to give us. Which is a very interesting teaching indeed. That God has made a promise to give us the Holy Spirit and Jesus talks about it in John chapters 14,15 and 16, yet here he is teaching us to persist in asking for Him. Continuing to remind God about it. Continuing to knock and to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is God’s heart for us as born-again believers: that we persist in our prayers and that we receive everything that we ask for in prayer, taking into consideration that our heart is right within us.
James 4 brings a complementary teaching which balances this one and helps us to understand more fully. James says we do not have, the things that you do not have in life that you need and that you have bee praying for, you do not have because you do not ask God. He goes a level further and says even when you ask God you still don’t receive because you are asking with the wring motives. James is teaching us that our motives also matter. The reasons for wanting the things we are asking God for also matters. It’s not only about asking but also about assessing our motives.
I would like to ask you this question: what do you need from God? What is it that you have been asking God for in prayer and have still not received? What is that thing? I would like to encourage you to continue to persist in prayer for it. To persist in your requests and in your asking God for it because His will for you is that you receive everything that you ask for in prayer.
Before we go on and persist in asking for that S Class Maybach or even that Range Rover SV Autobiography, before we persist in asking for those kind of things, perhaps we first need to sit down and assess our motives. What is the reason that I want the things that I want? Why do I need this so badly? Why am I asking for it? To assess whether my list of priorities aligns with Gods priority list. Whether my will aligns with God’s will for my life. Whether the thing that I am asking for is the thing that God wants for me.
I think, as we approach God, it is appropriate for us to begin by praying this prayer which we find in Luke 11 beginning at verse 2: