Sunday School Lesson
Oct 21, 2001
PARABLES ON PRAYER
Bible Background – Luke 18: 1-14
Devotional Reading – Genesis 32:22-30
1. To know the importance of Prayer
2. To learn how to develop a more consistent prayer life
KEEP IN MIND: “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to Faint” (18:1).
The biblical content of this lesson is drawn from the text in which JESUS told a parable about the need to be persistent in prayer (v.1).
This lesson examines what it means to pray effectively. A major concern for those who want a closer walk with the LORD is in knowing how to pray. Many of us know the need of persistence in prayer but we often fail to pray, at least not as much as we should. The goal of this lesson is to show that persistency transforms our perspective and makes us ready to receive. Persistency in prayer helps us to grow in our ability to trust GOD.
In regards to the people, places, and times, a judge in Israel was expected to be an unbiased observer but also a defender of those who could not be represented, such as the less fortunate. Orphans, the poor, widows, and foreigners were in this category.
Widows were a defenseless group in Palestinian society. The marriage age was 13 or 14 years, so a widow could be very young. Whether young or old, however, a widow was an easy target for exploitation.
For a woman to lose her husband was also to lose her position and status in society as well as her protector.
Widows in JESUS’ time had no one to intervene on their behalf. The widow in the parable was so poor that she had no money to bribe the judge. Bribery was not out of place then, but without money or justice the widow was on her own.
The Pharisees were a distinct body or party from the 2nd century B.C. Their main agenda was to resist all Greek or foreign influences that threatened to undermine the sacred religion of their fathers. They con-sciously took a strong stand upon divine Law. The Pharisees desired that the state and all public and political affairs be directed and measured by divine Law. Their doctrine was an ethical, spiritual, and sometimes mystical Judaism, which enabled the religion to survive the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. This doctrine later became the dominant form of Judaism. Pharisees stood for purity and separation and prided themselves on their strict adherence to GOD’S LAW.
1. FAITHFUL PRAYER (Luke 18:1). The waiting time of fasting and prayer is just as anointed as the answer to the prayer. With believing prayer we tap into the power source of prayer: JESUS. We are often discouraged because we don’t receive immediate answers to prayer. The widow and the publican each thought they were alone in their situation and sin, but GOD heard their cries in their persistent and faithful prayer and granted them grace and mercy.
2. PERSISTENT PRAYER (vv.5-11). Persistent prayer develops and arouses a Christian’s spiritual life that may have been dormant. Christians can really experience spiritual growth and an awareness of GOD and what His mission is for their life. A new direction can surface as a result of persistent and diligent prayer. The parable of the widow who would not give up is an illustration of JESUS’ message about persistent prayer being heard and answered. We are totally powerful against evil forces as we depend on GOD. Through prayer, we show GOD that we trust Him by opening our souls and hearts to Him. Devotion and sincerity are the hallmark of effective prayer. It is not so much the amount of time as the depth of intimacy with GOD that affects the outcome of our prayers.
3. FASTING AND PRAYER (v.12). Fasting is a sign of disciplined obedience, a sign to God that a Christian is willing to “do without” and sacrifice himself so someone else can benefit. The act of fast-ing requires abstention from food and/or drink for a specified period of time. The early Christians associated fasting with penitence and purification (Matt.6:16; Mark 9:29). Fasting is coupled with prayer over this specified period of time. Prayer is the means of bringing a Christian through the fasting process. JESUS emphasized the need to pray always and not get discouraged if the prayer isn’t answered right away. Diligent prayer brings a Christian closer to GOD; it awakens the spirit and unfolds GOD’S message to the Christian while he is in steadfast prayer. Revelations or answers to other situations may also be revealed while one is waiting on an answer to another prayer.
Rev. Chris Lowe, Sr., DD
Email Dr. Lowe
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