“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,” Luke 18:1
“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:” 18:9
Unleashing greatness in 2017 is going to take persistence and consistency. Jesus spoke back-to-back parables in Luke chapter 18 and if we view them separately we miss out on the importance of not just prayer, but of loving others as well.
If we are honest, prayer for most of us is not natural. When we pray to God we are not going to a our own personal genie in a bottle, but rather we are acknowledging His Lordship in our lives and thus surrendering (turning over) our lives and will to Him. Prayer is not an opportunity to display to God our superiority in living our lives, but rather to acknowledge His superiority over our lives.
Being persistent in our prayer time with God will allow us to daily bring before Him our worship, our love, our gratitude, our perceived needs, our cares, concerns, desires and the needs of others. If we are persistent with those things it maintains our focus on Him, which will better allow humility to reign in our lives instead of pride. In this state, our minds and hearts are much more likely to receive His Word with a readiness to respond and when we are ready to respond we are more likely to change our day to day habits, behavior and ultimately our characters.
The flip side is that we behave like those in the second parable. We trust in ourselves. When we trust in ourselves we read and hear the Word of God with our minds already made up. Thus if the Word of God teaches us what we already believe then great, but if not, then we ignore it, downplay it or reject it. In this state of mind and heart there is no room for change and if there is no room for change: who exactly is it that we believe in? Only ourselves.
The kind of persistency and not losing heart Jesus is speaking of in the first parable and the followers He desires us to be is being persistent in prayer in those areas of life that have convicted us, bothered us, challenged us and yes, even plagued us for some time in our lives. We must be faithful in bringing these areas before God each and every day…even if we do not feel like it or even if we think God no longer wants to hear about it. First of all, God does want to hear about it and we can’t allow our feelings to govern our lives when we know full well certain aspects of our lives must change.
Forming new patterns in our lives demands persistence and true persistence begins with trusting God in prayer.
Take some time and write down the things you know you need to bring before God each and every day of your lives and then pray! Unleash greatness in 2017!
“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:7