One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. 2 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. 3 A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ 4 The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
6 Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. 7 Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” – Luke 18:1-8
I would like to think of myself as a man of prayer. And I do pray. I will say the Lord’s Prayer multiple times a day. I meet with three elders from our church weekly for breakfast. We talk about many different things. And then we pray. We use A Diary of Private Prayer, by John Baillie. It is eloquent and directs our thoughts to needs and opportunities that I would never imagine myself.
A brief excerpt:
You are everlasting Mercy in the very essence of your being. Give me a tender heart today towards all those to whom the morning light brings less joy than it brings to me:
Those in whom the pulse of life grows weak:
Those who must lie in bed through all the sunny hours:
The blind, who are shut off from the light of day:
The overworked, who have no joy of leisure:
The unemployed, who have no joy of labor:
The bereaved, whose hearts and homes are desolate:
And grant your mercy on them all.
But prayer is easily neglected – especially by those who are comfortable in life. If I’m not pressed hard and slowed by troubles and difficulties, I too easily press forward to the next urgent thing. Too often prayer is not one of those urgent things.
Today I offered a prayer as the conclusion of my message. I offer it here and invite you, Dear Reader, to join me in praying…
Lord Jesus, have mercy on us all! We need you desperately. Let us never forget that. But let us never forget that you are with us, and that you have gifts of peace, grace and life for us. Forgive us for we have sinned – most of all by not fully believing Your word. Have mercy on us because we do struggle. Sustain us in the good fight of faith. Give us joy, O God. Give us peace, we pray. Give us your Holy Spirit. Let us find ways to be with you today: intentionally, reflectively, and joyfully. In Jesus’ name. Amen