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Rightful Attitude to Prayer
Bible Passage Luke 18:1-17
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2022 & books Deuteronomy, Leviticus, Luke.

Rightful Attitude to Prayer

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached September 17, 2022

SCRIPTURE 📖
1 And He also spoke a parable to them to show that it is necessary to pray always, and not to give up,

2 Saying, “There was in a certain city a certain judge who neither feared God nor respected man.

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Avenge me of my adversary.’

4 Now for a time he would not; but afterwards he said within himself, ‘Although I do not fear God and do not respect man,

5 Yet because this widow is causing me trouble, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming.’ ”

6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.

7 And shall not God execute vengeance for His elect, who cry out to Him day and night, and patiently watch over them?

8 I tell you that He will execute vengeance for them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall He find the true faith on the earth?”

9 And to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others, He also spoke this parable:

10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed with himself in this manner: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men— extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers—or even as this tax collector.

12 I fast twice in the week, and I give a tithe of everything that I gain.’

13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat himself on the chest, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled; and the one who humbles himself shall be exalted.”

15 Then they brought to Him infants also, so that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.

16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Permit the little children to come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.

17 Truly I say to you, whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God like a little child shall in no way enter into it.”

 

BACKGROUND
We all require some sort of help in one way or the other at certain points in our lives. Even where we have money to pay, certain services require other hands to assist us. When we need the assistance of people, we find ways to get them to give us what we need.

Jesus told the disciples a parable of how people should persevere in prayer to receive what they ask God. They may suffer injustice from opponents of the gospel, but they must persevere in prayer, confident that God will hear them (Luke 18:1).

The widow was someone who was without help (Malachi 3:5). She had no friends who could persuade the judge to act for her. She had no money to encourage the judge to answer her request.

If an ungodly judge will give a just judgment to a helpless widow solely to be rid of her ceaseless pleading, how much more will the holy God answer the cries of His persecuted people? The world may be unbelieving, but the disciples of Jesus must maintain their faith to the end (Luke 18:2-8).

In the second parable, Jesus rebuked those law-abiding people who thought their behavior made them and their prayers acceptable to God. People went to the temple court for private prayer. The Pharisee ‘stood’. The Jews usually stood when they prayed.

The Pharisee recounted His good deeds and expected God to be pleased with Him. He informed God of the wrong things that he had not done. He then spoke of some religious practices that the Law did not require. The Law told every Jew to fast on a special day that they called the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29). Pharisees fasted twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. The Law ordered that people should give a tenth of their oil, grain, and wine to the Levites (Deuteronomy 14:22-29). The Pharisee did more than this. He gave even a tenth of the small plants in his garden.

He compared himself with the tax collector. The Pharisee thought that he was praying. But really, he was praising himself. He used the word ‘I’ many times, as he was interested only in himself. He compared himself with other people. He should have compared himself with God, who is holy 😂.

The Pharisee despised the tax collector and was sure that God did too (Luke 18:9-12). But the tax collector made no attempt to impress God. He put his head down. He kept hitting himself to show how sorry he was. He knew that he was a sinner. He knew that he needed God to forgive him.

He simply confessed himself as a sinner and asked God for mercy. God accepted the man who humbly repented, but rejected the one who boasted of his virtue (Luke 18:13-14).

Many people thought that they could gain entrance into the kingdom of God through their own efforts. Jesus referred to the children gathered around Him to illustrate that this was not so. People must realize that in relation to entering His kingdom they are as helpless and dependent as children. There is no room in His kingdom for those who hold high opinions of themselves, or who think they will gain eternal life through their wisdom or good works.

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 God expects us to pray to Him and we must do that tirelessly, persistently without fainting

🔷 No one can be safe or proud or perfect before our Holy God. Hide what you think are your good acts when you go to God.

🔷 We must be humble and always ask God for His mercy and compassion

🔷 We must trust in God and accept His rule over our lives with delight to inherit His kingdom

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Pray and cast your anxieties and needs to God
💥 Ask God to forgive you any proud attitude and self-righteousness in you

CONCLUSION📙
God will answer our prayers when we go to Him with contrite hearts persistently. Here, we must put all our eggs in the same basket and depend on our good God who will surely grant our requests.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections