Praying Effectively

Key Verse: “He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
—Luke 18:1

Selected Scripture:
Luke 18:1-14

THE SELECTED SCRIPTURE for our lesson contains two parables, both of which show important lessons to spiritual Israel concerning prayer, specifically regarding importunity and humility, both of which must be learned in order for us to pray effectively.

In the first parable (Luke 18:2-5), we are told about a widow and her experience with a local judge of that day. The judge was said to be an individual who had no particular regard for either God or his fellow man. One day the widow came to him, pleading that he would vindicate and grant her legal protection from an adversary who intended to do her harm. At first he would not, but later, realizing that the widow would continue to trouble him about the matter, he granted her the protection she desired, “lest by her continual coming she weary me.”—Luke 18:5

Jesus comments on the parable, saying there is a lesson to be learned from this unjust judge. He says, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” (Luke 18:7-8) Certainly if the unjust judge was willing to grant the desire of the widow because of her importunity, how much more will God watch over, guide, and protect his chosen people. The phrase ‘though he bear long with them’ seems to imply that God, at times, will not immediately relieve us of the experience concerning which we have approached him in prayer. He instead waits to see if we truly are desirous of doing his will and importune him as did the widow. God is not displeased, nor is he wearied, by our continual coming to him in prayer concerning our difficult experiences. This shows him that we are sincere in our desire to have his overruling in our lives. Thus, having proven our sincerity and desire for his will to be done, he will most assuredly relieve us of the experience in one way or another.

The second parable of our lesson (Luke 18:10-13) is about two men, a Pharisee and a publican, who went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee in his prayer thanked God that he was not sinful like so many others around him, especially as this publican who was also in the Temple. He also gave God an accounting of many of the righteous acts which he had done, boastfully saying that he fasted twice a week and gave tithes of all his possessions. The publican, on the other hand, realizing his own unworthiness, would not even lift his eyes toward heaven, but smote his breast, “saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”—vs. 13

Jesus also comments on this parable (vs. 14), saying that the publican left the Temple in a more justified condition than did the Pharisee. He then states, “Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (vs. 14) God’s desire for humility and abhorrence of pride in his creation is an eternal lesson to us all. As Apostle Peter says, “God resisteth [opposes] the proud, and giveth grace [favor] to the humble.” (I Pet. 5:5) The lesson that all mankind must learn is that “all have sinned” and that true justification comes “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”—Rom. 3:23,24

Dawn Bible Students Association
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