So today has been a full, sunny day in Hamamatsu.
Church, lunch, a planning meeting for their youth camp, a band practice and a full wander around the town. Now, there is an hour before the evening service starts and I am taking the quiet opportunity to blog.
Now this morning’s sermon inspired me. It was on asking in prayer.
And how asking God for help will being with a serious conversation.
Jesus said to ask and seek and knock.
Are you bothered? Tormented? Stressed?
‘Asking me’, Jesus said, ‘will begin a serious conversation’.
Seeking God’s help will require our trust in Him.
Seeking His power to make us well will require our trust in His healing methods.
Seeking His words to speak will require our desire to listen to what He says.
Seeking His attitudes will require our hope in His appearance.
Jesus said to ask and seek and knock.
Knocking means that we will have to be persistent.
Persistent in looking at what God wants to do.
Persistent in dreaming about what God wants to accomplish.
Ask and seek and knock.
We have to be persistent in hoping for the kingdom of God to come and the will of God to be done.
Jesus told a a parable in Luke 18, about a persistent widow.
Jesus is talking to us.
At all times we must be praying and not giving up.
At all times we are to be asking and not giving up.
We must be seeking and knocking and not giving up.
Jesus is talking about a Jewish judge. But this judge is not a religious person. He does not fear God or man. The judge is unrighteous. He is a person who broke the law also. When the criminals came to his office, he did the same thing.
Why did Jesus tell such an awful parable? He’s talking about a judge who is evil.
But in this city there is also a widow. We don’t know anything about her, other than that she is a widow with a problem. Someone was trying to take away her possessions and she needed legal protection. We don’t know if the woman was a religious person. We don’t know anything about her character. But she believed that this judge could prevent someone from taking her possessions.
She went to the judge and began to beg him for protection. From the beginning of this women’s petition, the judge was unwilling to help her. But the woman began making a problem for the judge. She came to his office daily. He didn’t want to help her and he had no desire to. He was wicked himself. But she kept writing letters, turning up, asking for his help, again and again and again. And the judge began to suffer because the woman would not stop.
So finally, maybe after several weeks or months, the judge calls the woman into his office. And he gives her the legal protection that she asks for. He says that whoever is trying to take her possessions will be arrested. The law will protect her. That person must stop.
Not because he wanted to help her. But because she wouldn’t give up.
And this parable is really interesting.
It offers us three explanations about praying and not giving up:
1) We must be bothered by what we need. We must be bothered by what is messed up. We must be bothered by what is missing. We must be bothered by what has been lost. We must be bothered by what has failed to happen. We must be bothered by what keeps happening over and over and over the wrong way. The widow was upset. She was bothered by what was happening. And that way of thinking is important to talking to God. God is looking carefully at our hearts and the condition of the heart is what He will check very carefully. God is interested in solving the problems and giving the answers, but how we talk to Him is important. Keep praying and don’t give up. Because God promises to do something about the situation. But we give up so easily. So what we need must bother us. We need to make situations bother us. When we come to God in intercession, because we ought to pray, we should be praying, we must be asking, and we can’t give up.
2) We can be sure that our Heavenly Father has the solution to every problem. We can be sure that our God has the answer to every conflict. We can be sure that He is going to arrive with the right solution to every messed up situation. We are never in an impossible situation with no hope for rescue. The answer will come. We can always pray and not give up, because our God will not delay in bringing the right answer at the right time. Jesus spent many nights alone in prayer. All night in prayer. He prayed long hours. Probably after praying all night He was really tired. But this is the example He left for us. At all times we should pray and not give up. Because He will bring the answer.
3) We must have faith when we pray. But faith can be lost. When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth? Jesus is talking about His second coming. Jesus is not talking here about the faith of salvation, He is talking about the lack of faith in God’s ability to solve big, bad situations. The lack of faith in God’s power to change messed up situations. The lack of faith in God’s authority over evil forces. We can lose faith. The same thing keeps happening so we believe it can’t be changed. Something valuable is lost and we think we can never get it back. Something horrible happens and we doubt God’s goodness. The judge was evil. But the woman had faith she would get an answer from him. We must not lose faith. We must have with in God’s authority, God’s ability, God’s power, God’s Presence. We can say the right words, but have no faith. We can just believe that this is always the way that it is going to be. Faith in the Truth that defines who God is.
I was encouraged by this message! Encouraged in my intercession, encouraged by the promises of God.
And with that, enjoy some photos of some of my new and old friends in Hamamatsu 🙂