Chapter 1.
Tips from a Troubled Widow

Luke 18:1-8

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Have you ever had to deal with bullies in your life? You know, those folks that love to pick on you and make your life miserable. Most of them are found in school or the neighborhood. Bullies will taunt and intimidate you. Some will push you around or even steal from you. As you get older, they are found at work sometimes. They may lie about you behind your back, argue with you, or even threaten to do something harmful to you.

Unfortunately, bullies can be found in the church, too. Usually they try to undermine or ruin the ministry of the pastor or a Bible teacher to get revenge, to get their way, or gain control of the church. Many pastors have quit the ministry or have left to go to another church because the bullies in the church were destroying the ministry or discouraging the pastor. Let me say that God's judgment and chastening on these folks will be extremely severe.

At the crack of dawn of Luke chapter 18, we find a wee widow woman with wearying woes. She was faced with the trauma of dealing with a bully and the frustration of someone who had the power and authority to help her, but didn't care about her situation at all. Many have faced the same type of situation in their own personal lives. Jesus used this woman as a role model. We are given tips from this troubled widow on how to be victorious in our Christian lives. This parable teaches us about the importance of praying, persevering, and having powerful boldness. Let's take a look at it.

I. Defense Against Discouragement and Defeat

Luke 18:1

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Men ought always to pray and not faint. This word "men" in not in the Greek text. It has been inserted by the translators. Not only men, but also women and children should always pray. This is a great tip in preventing discouragement and defeat. If the disciples were going to be steadfast and faithful after the Lord was gone, they had to learn the importance of prayer. We too, must learn this same truth if we are to be faithful in serving the Lord Jesus Christ. Men ought always to pray and not faint.

Men Ought Always to Pray and Not Faint...

Jesus said, "Men ought to pray." The word "ought" is from the Greek word dei {die} which means "it is necessary, there is need of, it is right and proper." It is also translated "must" 58 times in the New Testament. Praying is necessary and vital if we are to guard against quitting or fainting. Our schedules are filled with things that we feel we need to do. God, however, states emphatically that praying is something that is necessary, it is something we need to do, and it is something we must do. {See the Insights on Prayer in the Gospel of Luke toward the End of this Chapter}

The Lord tells us how often we should pray. He said we are to do it "always." Praying always does not mean that we are to pray every second of the day. That would be pretty hard to do. It does mean, however, that we are to have a consistent prayer time with the Lord each day and also be in an attitude of prayerfulness as we work, walk, eat, and play. No matter what circumstance we may face, whether serene or stressful, wonderful or woeful, in times of plenty or poverty, we are to remain faithful in our prayer life.

1 Chronicles 16:11 – Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.

Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Philippians 4:6 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Colossians 4:2 – Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.

The reason consistent praying is so important is it helps to prevent spiritual fainting spells. The word "faint" is from the Greek word ekkakeo {ek-kak-eh'-o} which means "to be utterly spiritless or lose heart, to be exhausted, to give up or be wearied out." This same word is used in Galatians 6:9.

Galatians 6:9 – And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Multitudes of Christians have fainted in our day. They have quit church and serving the Lord. Some, who have been called to preach have quit. They have ceased to be committed to Christ. Why? Why do Christians faint in their faithfulness, fruitfulness, fervency for God, and forward growth? What has worn them out? We find a number of reasons in the Bible.

Reasons why Christians Faint, Quit, or Wear Out

Satan has a huge arsenal of devices to keep us from serving the Lord and from praying. Listed below are some of those weapons. Paul warned us about these devices that he tries to use to gain an advantage of us.

2 Corinthians 2:11 – Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

1. Deception

Satan does not want us to have God's best for our lives. He deceives us to get us off track. Two key deceptions that Satan uses on believers: 1) possessions are more important than God, 2) sin will not hurt you.

Galatians 6:7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Matthew 13:22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

2. Discouragement or Depression

Satan tries to use our discouragement or fatigue to get us to quit. If he can shift our focus from faith to focusing upon our frustrations, fears, and feelings of hurt, then he can fuel our discouragement to the point where we want to give up. When we give up, we stop praying or we pray for foolish prayers. In 1 Kings 19, we find this is what happened to Elijah who said, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers (vs. 4)."

Paul admonished us to not quit in his letter to the Galatians.

Galatians 6:9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

3. Defeat

Failure is bitter, sometimes to the point where we faint or quit. Some folks learn from their mistakes and go forward in wisdom. Others, however, are overwhelmed by their defeats and blunders. David was on the brink of total spiritual ruin, but he cried out to God and the Lord raised him up.

Psalm 51:3-4, 12... For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Some believers feel they are totally worthless after they have suffered a spiritual defeat and have scarred their lives by their sin. Peter struggled until the Lord restored him. Those who have suffered defeat need our love and encouragement. We can help them get the joy of their salvation back.

4. Depravity or Defilement

Sin will ruin your testimony and effectiveness in telling others about Christ. For this reason Satan tempts us to ruin. Our sinfulness hurts our testimony and our credibility with those who do not know the Lord. It takes the wind out of our spiritual sails. When Christians realize the damage they have done by their waywardness, they tend to quit or give up, especially in their prayer life. When we are living in sin, and not willing to repent, the Lord doesn't want to hear what we have to say and we don't want to talk to Him.

Psalm 66:18 – If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

5. Distraction

There is another reason why believers quit or faint. They become distracted from doing God's will in their lives. Satan has a clever way of getting us distracted and off course to the point we don't grow in the Lord. He uses distractions to keep us from praying and spending time with God. The story of Atalanta is a great illustration of Satan's tactics.

Atalanta was a gorgeous maiden of passing beauty and was exceeding swift of foot. Her hand in marriage was offered to any Greek who would beat her on the race course. Many men tried and failed, and as a consequence, they forfeited their lives. At last, Hippomenes ventured his fate and set off from the mark with the maiden on his heels. As she was about to pass him with her blazing speed, he threw out on the course a glittering golden ball. Atalanta pounced after the toy while the young man shot ahead in the race.

Again she overtook the young man, and again he enticed her from the race course. A third time he played his trick of distraction upon her, and she bounded after the golden ball as he passed the finish line, won the race, escaped death, and claimed his beautiful bride. Not by the superior speed of her opponent was Atalanta overcome, but by her own folly in being distracted and leaving the course for a mere toy.

Satan has used this same tactic on Christians for 2000 years. He knows the effectiveness of distraction. We as a people, are distracted...

Mankind is distracted from God's glory...

These things can turn the heart from God. When a person's heart is turned away from the Lord, he is facing the wrong direction. The distractions of Satan can make one unstable. When the love for the Lord fades for a love for something else, you will be unstable. Satan can use money, fame, a handsome, attentive man or beautiful woman to distract you and get your eyes off of God. Such was the case with King Solomon and Demas, both men who started out so well, but got sidetracked later in their lifetime.

1 Kings 11:4 – For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

2 Timothy 4:10a – For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world...

Revelation 2:8Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Have you become distracted because you have lost your first love for the Lord or for something else?

6. Disease

When people are sick, it is difficult for them to serve the Lord. Sometimes, it is also difficult for them to pray for they wonder if their prayers do any good at all. It is in these moments, we find out the caliber of our character and the firmness of our faith. You may not feel like praying, but go ahead and do it anyway. You will find that your prayers will help you spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and also physically.

Fainting in your prayer life can be catastrophic. King Asa found this out.

2 Chronicles 16:12 – And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.

Persistence in your prayer life when you are weakened by illness leads to blessing. Hezekiah's faith and persistence in prayer led to great blessing.

2 Chronicles 32:24a – In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord....

2 Kings 20:5 – Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.

7. Delay

When people don't get the answer to their prayers, they want to quit serving the Lord and give up on praying. They become afflicted with the "What's the Use" syndrome. Satan's "delay" device is most effective and one of the reasons why Jesus shared the parable about the persistent widow in Luke 18.

The reason "delay" is so effective is we tend to be impatient with the Lord. Our unwillingness to wait discourages us. Is your impatience causing you to faint? Learn to wait on God.

Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

8. Distrust or Doubt

I am amazed at the number of Christians that struggle with doubt in our day. Some doubt the Lord, some doubt the truths of the Bible, and thus, they doubt their salvation. Doubt is an extremely effective weapon in Satan's arsenal. If Satan can get you to doubt, if he can get you to flush your faith, he can get you to quit serving the Lord and praying. This is why James told us to pray with firm faith.

James 1:5-6... If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

If your faith needs a booster shot, get back into the Word of God.

Romans 10:17 – So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

9. Division and Disunity

Christians give up, quit, or faint because of division or disunity with other believers, whether it is in the church or the home. How many churches have been destroyed in this nation because of church splits and in-fighting? The answer is most likely "thousands." How many Christian homes have been destroyed by divorce because of division between the husband and wife? The answer is "millions." The division among the Corinthian believers was killing that church. Paul strongly rebuked them. He told them they were a bunch of babies.

1 Corinthians 3:3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Praying and reaching the lost for Christ, both are difficult when there is division because the focus of believers is directed to fighting. Eventually, people get tired of fighting. They quit their marriages. They quit attending their churches. The Lord, however, can restore a marriage and a church, if people are willing to have them restored. If you have been offensive or wrong, seek forgiveness and clear your conscience with God and men.

Acts 24:16 – And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

When restoration takes place, we can become fruitful and effective again for the Lord. We can begin to fulfill the purpose for which we were created and saved. In May of 1990, the cargo ship Hansa Carrier was hit by a severe storm during its voyage from South Korea to the United States. In the middle of the tempest, a large wave swept 21 shipping crates into the sea, five of which contained Nike shoes.

About six months later, a dedicated beach scavenger named Steve McLeod spotted a clump of Nike shoes while walking along the Oregon coast. Then another clump was discovered. Soon, McLeod's Cannon Beach apartment was packed with several styles and sizes of Nike tennis shoes, each of which he carefully cleaned, dried, and de-barnacled. There was only one problem. The vast majority of the shoes were left-footed.

This phenomenon attracted the attention of local scientists working to decipher the Pacific's ocean currents. With the help of Nike and the Hansa crew, they determined that the shoes had not been connected during their ocean voyage. Furthermore, the slight toe curvature of the right-footed shoes caused them to tack northeastward into the Alaska Current, while the left-footed Nikes slid neatly into the southeast-bound California Current. Thus, for months, a small physical difference forced each shoe farther and farther away from its mate.

Once Steve McLeod had put these pieces of this puzzle together, he began contacting other known scavengers for news of another Nike windfall. Sure enough, he heard about a large number of shoes that had beached to the north along the Queen Charlotte Sound. A meeting was arranged and, in one day, 1,200 pairs of Nike tennis shoes were reunited using serial numbers. Once the pair became whole again, it went home with whomever it fit. Their restoration made them useful and of value. This is what the Lord does with the restored believer. He makes that Christian useful and valuable in the cause of Christ when he is restored with others.

If you are struggling with spiritual fainting spells, if discouragement and the urge to give up or quit has a grasp on your throat, there are some principles you can put into practice that will help you to overcome the urge to "give up."


Formidable Fundamentals to Fortify or Free Yourself from Fainting

A. Remove any guilt from your life

A new product called "Disposable Guilt Bags" appeared in the marketplace. It consisted of a set of ordinary brown bags on which were printed the following instructions: "Place the bag securely over your mouth, take a deep breath and blow all your guilt out, then dispose of the bag immediately." The wonder of this is that the Associated Press reported that 2500 kits had been quickly sold at $2.50 per kit.

Oh that we could dispose of our guilt so easily. There is nothing on this earth powerful enough in itself to dispose of our guilt. We cannot fix ourselves, which is what many of us are trying to do. Satan will endeavor to use the mistakes and failures of your past to keep you from removing guilt and dealing with discouragement. Guilt is removed by repentance and confession of sin to the Lord or others we have wronged. Realize, Satan will use past failures to keep us from removing guilt and dealing with discouragement.

James 5:16aConfess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed....

B. Take up the shield of faith by quoting God's truth when you recognize Satan's lies

Ephesians 6:16 – Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

2 Corinthians 10:5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Satan has a variety of lies. God counters these lies with His Word.

C. Encourage your heart in the Lord by meditating on Scripture

A Bible that's falling apart probably belongs to someone who isn't. Think on God's Word.

Psalm 19:8The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalm 119:97O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

Joshua 1:8This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

1 Samuel 30:6 – And David was greatly distressed: for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

In 1 Samuel 30, David was greatly "distressed." This word means "pressed in, closed in, cornered, or squeezed." Problems are putting a squeeze on David.

He has been squeezed and choked by...

In spite of all these dire circumstances, he encouraged his heart in the Lord. The best way to do this is by spending time with God and His Word. The stress of our trials can cause us to draw near to Christ.

Psalm 119:67Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

D. Establish a quiet place to be alone with God

Have you ever wondered why a pigeon walks so funny? According to an interesting article in the Detroit Free Press, a pigeon walks the way it does so it can see where it's going. Because it can't adjust its focus as it moves, the pigeon actually has to bring its head to a complete stop between steps in order to refocus. This is the way it walks: head forward, stop; head back, stop. Don't laugh—that's how it goes!

In our spiritual walk with the Lord we have the same problem as the pigeon. We have a hard time seeing while we're moving. We also need to stop between steps—to refocus on where we are in relation to the world and the will of God. That's not to say we have to stop and pray and meditate about every little decision in life, but certainly, our walk with the Lord needs to have built into it, a pattern of "stops," which enable us to see more clearly before moving on our path.

Psalm 46:10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

E. Remove yourself from fearful or negative people as much as possible

Fearful people generate more fear and discourage others. God instructed Gideon to remove the fearful from the army.

Judges 7:3Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.

One of God's requirements for service in Israel's army was not to be fearful.

Deuteronomy 20:8 – And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart.

Yet, it was discouragement and fear that kept Israel from entering the Promised Land at Kadesh-Barnea. They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years as a result of their fear and disobedience.

Numbers 13:31But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

Numbers 32:9For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the Lord had given them.

As a pastor, your ministry will involve encouraging people who are having a hard time. They need our help and we should help them. Yet, there are some folks who are constantly down in the dumps. Life is one big negative and all they do is complain, gripe, and belly-ache. You don't need to be around people like this. They will affect you. The best thing you can tell people like this who are never thankful for anything is "Grow up! Count your blessings and get your eyes off yourself! Help somebody else."

F. Read the biographies of great Christians

Seeing how God met their needs in difficult times will encourage you. One example is in the life of Adoniram and Ann Judson. Ann gave birth to a baby boy named Roger on September 11, 1815. They were so excited and happy. Their joy did not last long, however, when little Roger began to have fevers at night and developed a choking cough. He soon died at the age of eight months. This was their second baby to die.

After little Roger's death, Ann wrote in her diary and revealed her surrender to God's will and plan for her life. She said, "When for a moment we realize what we once possessed.... the wound opens and bleeds afresh. Yet, we would still say, 'Thy will be done.'"

G. Avoid making major decisions during times of discouragement

Dr. Norman Peale said, "Once walking through the twisted little streets of Kowloon in Hong Kong, I came upon a tattoo studio. In the window were displayed samples of the tattoos available. On the chest or arms you could have tattooed an anchor, flag, mermaid or whatever. But what struck me with force were three words that could be tattooed on one's flesh, "Born to lose." I entered the shop in astonishment and, pointing to those words, asked the Chinese tattoo artist, "Does anyone really have that terrible phrase, 'Born to lose,' tattooed on his body?" He replied, "Yes, sometimes." "But," I said, "I just can't believe that anyone in his right mind would do that." The Chinese man simply tapped his forehead and said in broken English, "Before tattoo on body, tattoo on mind."

Some folks have been tattooed by discouragement. When you are discouraged, you are not thinking clearly. For example, when Elijah was depressed, he wanted God to kill him. He didn't want to live at all. This was not a good time for making any kind of decisions in his life.

1 Kings 19:4But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

H. Focus on God's reputation

Make sure what you are doing is God's work and do it God's way. If you do, God will show Himself strong on your behalf.

Isaiah 43:2When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

I. Offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise to God

Recall the Lord's blessings and thank Him for what He has done. There is power in praise. Praise Him especially for the possibilities that He has made out of your impossibilities.

Hebrews 13:15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

J. Realize the Lord is the source of your strength, not booze, drugs, or other people

Isaiah 40:28-31... Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Psalm 46:1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 42:5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Psalm 9:10aAnd they that know thy name will put their trust in thee....

K. Overcome the pride of not telling your authorities, family, or friends that you are discouraged and need prayer

Proverbs 27:17Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Proverbs 11:2When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

Jacques Cousteau reported the strange behavior of a dolphin he sighted near Corsica. The great animal was not swimming, it was just watching the boat draw nearer and nearer. They decided that the dolphin was sick, so they netted it and examined it. There was neither resistance nor fear on the part of the dolphin. There was no sign of any wound or illness. Yet, an hour later, the animal was dead. The conclusion Cousteau reached was that the dolphin may have been ostracized by other dolphins. When they are excluded in this way, they become desperate, attach themselves to anyone or anything, and sometimes in their sadness, they "will" themselves to die.

Like the dolphin, we need fellowship. We need companionship. We need support and encouragement from one another. This is why it is important to share our discouragement with those who care about us. When they know there is a need, they will do what they can to encourage us.

L. Remember the Lord, His love and care for you

Nehemiah 4:14And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

The people were discouraged when they got distracted by the rubbish. They were at the point of making a decision to quit when they were discouraged. This is why you should not make major decisions when you are discouraged or down in the dumps. Nehemiah directed their attention back to the Lord, "Remember the Lord!"

"Remember the Lord" was to be their motto, their rallying cry. There have been many cries in American history.

Napoleon always reminded his soldiers of some past history to stir them up to fight. When Paul the apostle wrote his swan song to a young preacher named Timothy, he gave him a rallying cry. The correct translation of 2 Timothy 2:8 is, "Remember Jesus Christ!" That is the rallying cry of believers today. "Remember the Lord" was the rallying cry for the Jews in Nehemiah's day. Beloved, call to mind what God has done and who He is! Don't forget God's promises to you.

Isaiah 26:3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Psalm 118:6The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

M. Receive God's grace when you are weak and helpless, thereby making yourself strong

2 Corinthians 12:9,10And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

We are strong because we are dependent upon His Spirit and power instead of our own.

N. Establish your own ministry in serving other people

Beloved, when you are discouraged, one of the best things you can do to snap out of your discouragement is to help other people. This will get your mind off of your problems.

Philippians 2:4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

You don't have to go through life being discouraged and overwhelmed. These fundamentals will help you to fight the urge to faint.

We have examined in 18:1 the Defense against Discouragement and Defeat. We found that men ought to always pray and not faint. We will now direct our attention to verse two, the Disrespectful Judge.

II. The Disrespectful Judge

Luke 18:2

Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

Jesus begins His story by telling us about a judge in a city that did not fear God at all and neither regarded, respected, or cared about people. His attitude about others should not be surprising. Folks that have a wrong relationship or attitude toward the Lord usually have the wrong kind of attitude toward other people. Disrespect for God leads to disrespect toward others. Why? It takes a great deal of selfishness, hardness, pride, or disdain for a person to have no respect or gratitude for the Lord, especially when you consider all the blessings He bestows upon us all every day.

Psalm 68:19 – Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Lamentations 3:22-23...It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

If a person treats God with irreverence or indifference, it will be nothing for him to treat people the same way. This is why the first tablet of the Ten Commandments deals with our relationship with the Lord and the second tablet deals with our relationships with people. If you want to have good relationships with people, make sure your relationship is right with the Lord. If you want to have a great marriage, walk with God. Notice what Peter said about this matter.

1 Peter 3:7 – Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

If you want to enjoy and stay close to your parents, make sure you are in love with God. If you are rebellious toward the supreme authority of the universe, the Lord, then you will struggle with the authority of your parents, husband, pastor, your boss, the police, etc.

Why did this judge have these rotten attitudes? It is very likely that he was a Roman magistrate on King Herod's payroll, and was not Jewish at all. Many of these Roman officials did not care about the Jewish people or their beliefs in the Lord. Their courtroom was not in a building, but in a tent, because they moved from town to town hearing cases. These Roman magistrates established their own agendas. Anyone could watch the proceedings of the court from the outside of the tent, but only those folks whose cases were approved would have their case heard.

Money played a big role in getting your case heard. These Roman magistrates had a tendency to be very corrupt, being easily swayed by bribes. This attitude was reflected in the actions of Felix when he heard Paul's case.

Acts 24:25-26...And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. 26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.

If you were poor, you would have a problem getting a matter heard and settled before a magistrate. The Jews despised these corrupt Roman judges. The official title of these men was Dayyaneh Gezeroth which means "Judges of Punishments." The Jews, however, called them Dayyaneh Gezeloth which means "Judges that Rob." If this man was a Jewish judge, he would have been one of three judges that were responsible in dealing with disputes. He would not be judging a case all by himself.

III. The Dispute of a Desperate Woman

Luke 18:3

And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

As Jesus continues the story, we are introduced to another character, a desperate widow that has a serious problem with another person. I would say that the person afflicting her was probably not a Jew, but a Roman. God warned His people against afflicting widows. He exhorted rulers not to do them injustice because they were considered insignificant or unimportant.

Exodus 22:22 – Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.

Deuteronomy 27:19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.

The clothes of this widow were most likely tattered. From the stress she was facing, her brow was probably wrinkled and her eyes sunken with shadows under them. Lack of abundant provisions and rest most likely left her pretty thin. Her purse or bag was not weighted with pearls, precious jewels or coins to sway the judge. She was all alone in a man's world, with no man and no money to secure legal counsel to plead her case. All that she had in order to gain the judge's attention were her pleas of "Avenge me of mine adversary!"

What does she mean by this word "avenge?" This statement shows this gal had a spunky side to her. The word "avenge" is from the Greek word ekdikeo {ek-dik-eh'-o} which means "to vindicate one's right; to protect or defend one person from another; to exact justice; to punish a person for a thing." If she had been cheated, she wanted justice to restore what had been taken from her. If she was being threatened, she wanted protection from the judge.

The word "avenge" reveals her spunk. The mood of this verb is imperative which means this was a command. She was giving a command to this magistrate. It was his responsibility to protect her and correct injustice. We also see her spunk and persistence in the tense of the phrase "came unto him." It is in the imperfect tense which means she came to him continually or repeatedly. Again and again and again she pleaded her case to the judge.

Her persistence in pleading with her authority was an object lesson of how we are to pray to the Lord. We are not to give up, but repeatedly come to Him with our needs. With the Lord, we do not bark out orders, but we can repeatedly ask Him to meet our needs.

Isaiah 62:6b-7....ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, 7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

When I was a young boy, I would sometimes play a trick on one of my friends in my neighborhood. I would run up to his door, ring the doorbell, and then run away before anyone could get to the door and open it. Did you ever do this or am I the only heathen here? Unfortunately, this describes the prayer life of many Christians. They ring the Lord's doorbell and run before He can answer the door. Beloved, when it comes to prayer, God wants us to knock on His door and keep knocking. He wants us to come before Him with boldness, just as this widow.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Matthew 7:7 – Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

There is a hidden treasure found here in this verse in the mood of the Greek verbs. In the Greek language, there are two kinds of imperatives or commands. There is the aorist imperative which issues one definite command. For example, "Shut the door behind you," would be an aorist imperative. There is also the present imperative which issues a command that a man should always do something or should keep on doing something. It expresses continuous action. "Always shut doors behind you," would be a present imperative.

The imperatives here in this section are present imperatives or commands showing the priority that prayer is to have in our lives. It is our duty to pray. Jesus is saying here, "Keep on asking. Keep on seeking. Keep on knocking." He is telling us to persist in our prayer life and never be discouraged in prayer and to never give up until the Lord removes the burden to stop praying about a matter. This will test our sincerity and steadfastness in the area of our praying.

IV. The Disturbance from the Diligent Widow

Luke 18:4-5

And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

In spite of the widow's pleas, the judge ignored the widow and was unwilling to assist her for a while. He admitted he did not care. For a judge, this was a terrible shame. It didn't bother him at all. In Jeremiah's day, the people of Israel had no shame or embarrassment about their sinfulness.

Jeremiah 8:12 – Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord.

One of the great problems that America faces today is the lack of shame for the sinfulness of our people. Our brazenness in wickedness, however, will lead to a heavy burden. In fact, as a nation, we are feeling now the weight of our wickedness financially in our shattered economy, physically through our diseases, mentally through our foolishness, emotionally through our nervous breakdowns and suicides, and spiritually through our idolatry or defiance toward God.

The judge was indifferent toward the widow, yet, after a period of time, he began to think about his decision and reconsidered the widow's case. Admitting he had no concern for God or for other people, he decided to help this widow because she was driving him crazy. She troubled the judge and was a constant source of distraction and interference in his activities. She troubled him.

The word "troubleth" is from the Greek word parecho {par-ekh'-o} which means in this context "to make trouble, to annoy, to disturb, to embarrass by distracting." In a way, I believe this woman intimidated the judge, exposing his unconcern or unwillingness to act. It is possible the person that was afflicting the widow was someone who was powerful or influential and the judge did not want to mess with her case.

Because of her persistence, however, the judge made the decision to avenge her or give her the justice that she deserved. She wearied the judge by her continual pleas. The word "weary" is an interesting word. It is from the word hupopiazo {hoop-o-pee-ad'-zo} which means "to beat black and blue; to smite so as to cause bruises and livid spots like a boxer when one buffets his body or handles it roughly; to wear out or knock out; to give a black eye." This judge was not only pooped from this widow's persistence, he feared being worn out or exhausted by her pleas like an exhausted, beaten boxer after many rounds of fighting. He had enough and gave "in" to her. That is kind of persistence we need in our prayer life and in our dedication to the Lord.

When we look at the life of Abraham Lincoln, we find a man who faced failure with greater persistence. Before he was elected President of the United States, he suffered a dozen traumatic failures in his life in business and politics. Evangelist Junior Hill relates another side of Lincoln's "failure"—reminding us that, even in the midst of difficult times, God's mandate to "care for widows and orphans" still stands.

Early in his business career (which would soon fail), Lincoln dreamed of becoming a lawyer. At one point he fancied that, if he could only get his hands on a copy of Gladstone's Book of English Law, he could learn enough to accomplish that goal. But, times were tough, and finances were very lean—so that dream remained just that... a dream.

One day, a traveler stopped his wagon in front of Lincoln's shop. He explained to Lincoln that he and his family were on their way out West, but had fallen on hard times and were penniless. He pointed to a barrel in the back of the wagon and begged Lincoln to buy the barrel for just fifty cents—fifty cents which, he explained, could buy his family enough food for the next leg of their journey.

Knowing he only had about fifty cents himself, Lincoln could not help but look compassionately upon the traveler. He relented, and handed over the coins, and took the barrel. Later that day, Lincoln examined the barrel more closely, and discovered that the barrel contained a copy of Gladstone's Book of English Law. The rest is history!

Lincoln's actions remind us that in our faithfulness to the "small things" of life, like compassion, generosity, and Christian duty, God is able to provide the "bigger" things which might otherwise remain just out of our grasp. God provided the tool for Lincoln to achieve his dream and through his persistence, hard work, and God's hand on his life, he was used to keep our nation intact in its most traumatic time in history.

V. The Directive from the Lord

Luke 18:6

And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

The Lord tells His disciples, "Listen up to what this judge said! Learn the lessons that he was teaching!" The judge revealed a vital truth about the importance of persistence and applying it to prayer. Jesus is still telling us today to, "Listen up!" He has to do this because we are not paying attention. We are so distracted by trivial matters. God says, "Listen up!"

James 1:19 – Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

VI. The Dispatch of God's Vengeance

Luke 18:7-8

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

If the judge answered the plea of this widow, don't you think God will answer the pleas of His own children that cry out to Him day and night? He dearly loves His own. He will not put them off, but answer them swiftly. God is never reluctant to answer the prayers of His children. He wants them to cry out to Him. This does not mean, however, that the Lord does not sometimes delay His answers. The delays create problems for believers.

The unconcerned judge did not give the widow the time of day because he didn't care, he had no character, and he did not receive any compensation from her. On the other hand, the Lord delays the answers to our prayers for several reasons.

Reasons for Delays in Prayer

For Repentance and Restoration

He gives us time to get matters right with Him and others. He wants us to deal with our sin and confess it to Him.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

For Renewal and Reinforcement

He uses delay to renew and strengthen our faith in Him and our patience.

Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

For Right Timing

He delays our prayers to give us the best situation for our answer and to work all things for good on our behalf.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The Son of man is coming again. That is for certain! When the Lord returns one day, however, will anyone be praying? Will anyone be crying out to Him? Will He find any faith in Him or will the world be so wicked that God is flushed from the lives of people? Unfortunately, the world will be gripped with great apostasy when Jesus returns.

1 Timothy 4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Nevertheless, He is coming back! May we be victorious in our Christian lives and persistent in our dedication, obedience, and prayer. May we cling to the promises of God and move mountains with them.

Isaiah 65:24 – And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Jeremiah 33:3 – Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

The Ring Nebula, in the constellation Lyra, looks, through binoculars, like a smoke ring. It is a star in the process of exploding. Light from its explosion first reached the earth in 1054; it was a supernova then, and so bright it shone in the daytime. Now it is not so bright, but it is still exploding. It expands at the rate of seventy million miles a day. It is interesting to look through binoculars at something expanding seventy million miles a day. It does not budge. Its apparent size does not increase. Photographs of the Ring Nebula taken fifteen years ago seem identical to photographs of it taken yesterday.

Huge happenings are not always visible to the naked eye, especially in the spiritual realm. How often it is that this nebula resembles the process of prayer. Sometimes we pray and pray and seemingly see no change in the situation, but that's only true from our perspective.

If we could see from Heaven's standpoint, we would know all that God is doing and intending to do in our lives. We would see God working in hearts in ways we cannot know. We would see God orchestrating circumstances that we know nothing about at all. We would see a galaxy of details being set in place for the moment when God brings the answer to fulfillment. While He works on our behalf, let us trust and be persistent in our faith in Him! When we look through the Gospel of Luke, we find that it provides a number of insights for us about "faith."


Insights on Faith in the Gospel of Luke

When we look through the book of Luke, we find a number of insights about the matter of faith. We will examine the classes of faith, the consequences of faith, the concepts in gaining and maintaining faith, and the complications or hindrances to faith.

A. Classes or Kinds of Faith

1. Scarce Faith

Luke 18:8 – I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

2. Strong, Splendid Faith

Luke 7:9 – When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

3. Saving Faith

Luke 7:50 – And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Luke 23:39-42... And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

4. Sparse Faith

Luke 12:28 – If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

5. Small Faith

Luke 17:6 – And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

6. Snatched Faith

Luke 8:12 – Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

7. Struggling or Slipping Faith

Luke 8:13 – They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

8. Submissive Faith

Luke 5:5 – And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

9. Serving Faith

Luke 5:18-20... And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19 And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. 20 And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

B. The Consequences of Faith

1. It Saves Us

Luke 18:42 – And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

Luke 23:43 – And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

2. Sins Are Forgiven

Luke 5:20 – And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

3. Sickness Is Healed

Luke 8:48 – And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

Luke 17:19 – And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Luke 7:10 – And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

4. Sensational Accomplishments

Luke 17:6 – And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

5. The Savior's Blessings

Luke 1:45 – And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

6. Success and Satisfaction

Luke 5:6 – And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.

7. The Savior's Delight and Admiration

Luke 7:9 – When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

C. Concepts in Gaining and Maintaining Faith

1. Search or Desire It

Luke 17:5 – And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

2. The Saint's Prayers

Luke 22:32 – But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

D. Complications or Hindrances to Faith
1. Being Scared or Fearful

Luke 8:25 – And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.

Luke 8:50 – But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.

2. Stubbornness

Luke 22:67 – Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe:

3. Shock

Luke 24:41 – And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?

4. Self-Righteousness and Self-Exaltation

Luke 18:9 – And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Luke 18:14 – I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

5. Stifled or Stuck by Impossible Situations

Luke 1:18 – And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.


Insights on Prayer in the Gospel of Luke

A. The Consequences of Prayer

1. The Avengement of God

Luke 18:7 – And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

God has a way of dealing with those who afflict us. Vengeance belongs to Him. Paul said, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19).

2. The Aversion or Escape from Judgment to Come

Luke 21:36 – Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

3. Our Appearance or Countenance is Changed

Luke 9:29 – And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.

When you walk with God in prayer, it will change your attitude and disposition. This is why we are instructed to pray for our enemies in the New Testament. Prayer helps us to keep from destroying ourselves with bitterness and hate.

4. The Aspirations of Others to Learn to Pray

Luke 11:1 – And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Our prayer life can be a challenge and encouragement to others to learn to pray and spend time with God. Praying does not come naturally to people. That is why we may need someone to teach us how to pray.

5. Amazing Answers to Prayer

Luke 1:13 – But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

The birth of John the Baptist was a miracle because of the great age of Zacharias and Elizabeth. With God, however, nothing is impossible. Never underestimate what He can do. I like what Jeremiah said, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).

6. Aids Us in Remaining Dedicated to Christ

Prayer strengthens us to in our service for Christ. Anna is a great example of a woman of God who was consistent in her service to the Lord. Her prayer life played a huge role in her dedication.

Luke 2:36-37... And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

Luke 11:13 – If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

The heavenly Father gives both heavenly gifts and earthly gifts. When a person puts their faith in Christ, they are given eternal life. We are also given another gift. It is the presence of the Holy Spirit who indwells every Christian, beginning at the moment of salvation. Believers today are not to pray for the Holy Spirit today because this prayer of the disciples (for the Holy Spirit) was answered at Pentecost. Paul said in Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."

7. The Attainment of Your Goal or Desires

Luke 11:9-10...And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Prayer helps us to reach the desired goals that the Lord has impressed upon our hearts.

B. Concepts on Prayer

1. Self-Effacement and Prayer

Luke 18:13 – And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

When we pray, we are to have a spirit of contriteness or humility.

Psalm 51:17 – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Isaiah 57:15 – For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Isaiah 66:2 – For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

2. The Souls of Men and Prayer

Our prayers should include the salvation of the souls of men.

Luke 10:2 – Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

Luke 16:27-28... Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

3. Solitude and Prayer

Luke 5:16 – And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Find a place or time that you can get alone with the Lord and talk to Him. Slow down and talk to the Lord and let Him speak to your heart through His Word.

4. Steadfastness or Perseverance in Prayer

Luke 6:12 – And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

Luke 18:1 – And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

Luke 22:45 – And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow.

Prayer is hard work and requires perseverance sometimes. Fatigue, a distracted focus, and frustration can weaken your prayer life. Jesus was an example to us on how to pray.

5. Spiteful People and Prayer

Luke 6:28 – Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

Luke 23:34 – Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

We are to pray for those who hurt us and maintain and attitude of forgiveness toward them.

6. The Scheme of God and Prayer

Luke 11:2 – And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

The desire of our hearts should be to do the will of God. The prayer of our hearts should be for the Lord to teach us to do His will.

Psalm 143:10 – Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

7. Self-Exaltation and Prayer

Luke 18:11, 14b... The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 18:14b.... for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased.....

Luke 20:47 – Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

Arrogance will hinder our prayer life and lead to God's chastisement.

8. Spiritual Strength and our Prayers

Luke 22:40-41... And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

Luke 22:46 – And said unto them. Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Luke 22:32 – But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Luke 11:4 – And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

We ought to pray for spiritual strength for ourselves and for others. We need strength to serve Christ and to resist temptations to do wrong.

9. Suffering and Prayer

Luke 22:44 – And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Suffering will do one of two things to us. It will make us bitter and doubtful, or it will draw us closer to the Lord and strengthen our prayer life. It will make us more dependent upon Him. May the attitude of our heart be like that of the disciples, "Lord, teach us to pray."