So, is it OK to nag God? To pester him? To badger him with your requests?
According to E.M. Bounds apparently not just OK but required.
There is neither encouragement nor room in Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes; all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent. Flamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delights heaven. God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest and persistently bold in their efforts. Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to pop-calls. Our whole being must be in our praying. ~ E.M. Bounds
And if E.M. Bounds is not enough of an authority for you try this…
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Luke 18:1 _______________
He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8
So when Jesus made up stories or parables it was always to make a point. His point, again, Luke the author states unequivocally: to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
· not give up = not lose heart
o don’t lose heart if the answer isn’t forthcoming
o don’t’ lose heart if the thing seems too big…a personal issue or corporate concern like revival.
And to convey this point he makes up story about a woman who was a widow and a judge, who is the only one who can solve her problem.
· the widow:
o she is clearly alone/widow
§ voiceless and powerless
§ the most vulnerable in society
o her problem was some kind of injustice done to her by an adversary
· the judge:
o unjust = a bad man
o likely and atheist = didn’t fear God
o and a mean old coot – didn’t care about people
Unfortunately he is all she’s got in solving her dilemma so she pesters and nags him until…
· he is bothered and Vs. 5 - worn out (beat down)
· he grants her justice
Now, let’s make this clear about how Jesus told the story.
· again the why is persistence but the how
· He was NOT trying to make a comparison btw us/widow and judge/God
He told the story to make a contrast. Look again at verse 6.
6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? Luke 18:6-7
· “and will not God”(7) …if a bad dude who cares little for human would respond wouldn’t God do the same and more?
· and if a voiceless vulnerable widow can nag her way to success what about his chosen ones who cry out day and night!
Again, his point…since God cares and God is just and you are not just anybody but a chosen one loves by him…then by all means pray often, pray hard and pray with an edge to you.
Now, I have to be honest. Verse 8 is a conundrum to me…
8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8
· I tell you – note of authority …take this to the bank…believe me!
· When we pray hard, often and persistently…God will see that you get justice…quickly!
o which doesn’t make sense if it takes nagging which takes time how can he respond quickly?
o does he mean once we get God’s attention he’ll act quickly
o or once we finally nag God enough He responds quickly?
I do not know. But Jesus puts a strong period on the story when he says
However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
· praying and not giving up is one of Jesus’ defining signs of faith.
o to give up praying is to no longer have faith
o to not persist is to not have faith
Persistent hard bold prayers are a clear sign of faith.
I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this, the measure of the intensity of your prayer. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
Possible insert right here of the self-assessment with video prompts
OK…so let’s recalibrate what we’ve learned about prayer and then back up and reset this series and give a preview of the next two months.
Prayer is the conduit to revival. Spiritual awakening simply will never happen without God’s people engaged in sustained passionate, persistent prayer to that end.
And by prayer I mean specific focused prayers toward revival:
4 Essential Prayers for Revival:
1. Prayers of consecration and repentance
· prayers that “stop the presses” and say “hold up”…this is a time like no other
"Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." Joshua 3:5
· prayers that confess personal and communal sin and rebellion
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
2. Prayers of faith and boldness
· prayers that right size God
· prayers that right size our own authority
I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18
3. Prayers of abiding
· Prayers in which we strive to stay connected to the vine…which is God himself.
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
· these are consistent…getting up in the morning prevailing prayers
· Tim: These are prayers of great confidence that our hearts our connected to the heart of Jesus… prayers of great confidence that our desires are connected to the desires of Jesus…
4. Prayers of persistence
· Effective praying is often like the felling of a great tree – it takes repeated blows. John Eldredge
Those prayers become the conduit of revival…God works through them to awaken our lives and the lives of our community and nation.
Prayer is essential…as is walking in the Spirit. the Holy Spirit is the catalyst for revival.
In Part 1 of our series Days of wind and fire we studied the Holy Spirit. We learned that He must come upon us all individually and corporately if we hope to have awakening.
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Acts 1:8
Be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Be filled with the Spirit.
Walk in the Spirit.
So now we’re ready for next week when we begin to study the greatest spiritual awakening in history. The great revival of 33 AD. When Jesus prediction came true.
· people prayed…the holy spirit came…and stuff started to happen.
· Mountains began to move!
· that stuff is chronicled in the book of Acts…when the supernatural became natural…and normal:
o mass conversion to Jesus
o love and community
o conviction and holiness
o and the most important supernatural happening that began: Ordinary people became filled with the Holy Spirit…were given dreams of their callings and began to heal universal brokenness.
You need to know that next week I am going to give everyone gathered at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse the opportunity to be baptized and filled by the Holy Spirit.
· I am not playing. I am not equivocating. I am not tip toeing around this…I am praying that a spiritual awakening will begin next week that will make a mark in history.
It is time to pray. Pray with boldness…pray with persistence…and pray with authority…for us to be swept up into a new day of the Holy Spirit Wind and Fire. the Day of the Holy Spirit.