“How To Pray – Part 2” and “God’s Purposes Never Fail”

Luke 11:5-13 (NIV) How to Pray – part 2

In Luke’s Gospel our passage for today follows directly after the form of prayer taught by Jesus to his disciples. Thus he taught them not only what they should pray for but what expectation they should have when they prayed.

We could do worse than have this passage before us every time we pray. Jesus is saying, when you pray, pray like verses 1-4 and pray with the understanding taught in the passage we are considering today. It would be hard to find a greater incentive to pray than the encouragement that Jesus gives in these verses.

There is a translation variation in verse 8 that is worth noting. It does not really alter what Jesus taught but gives an insight into the culture of the times and shifts the emphasis from the one asking to the one being asked.

Hospitality was a paramount value. Not to exercise it when called upon to do so would incur shame in the sight of the community. Village communities were not large so everyone would know what was or was not done.

The Greek word translated here as ‘boldness’ or in some translations “persistence” has been the focus of close study. It conveys the idea of “shame” or “being shameful”. Also, while the attitude described by that word has most often been applied to the man coming to seek help they may be applied differently. Here are two different but equally possible translations of that last part of verse 8:

1.”because of your shameless persistence he will get up and give you whatever you need” – referring to the man asking.

2. “because of the prospect of him being shamed, he will get up and give him as much as he needs”- referring to the man being asked
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1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (NIV) – God’s Purposes Never Fail

This letter to the Thessalonians is being considered in sermons and life groups in our church. It provides lots of material for prayerful private consideration as well.

The two verses that are our focus today draw on the memory of recent events when Paul came to Thessalonica proclaiming the gospel of God in the Lord Jesus.

He reminds them that the electing purpose of God effectually drew them to Him (See 1:4). Their visit did not lack results

He was to them an example that carrying the gospel of Christ can be costly personally as some of them had already experienced themselves (Acts 17:6).

He taught them from his own experience where the will and strength to persevere came from – God himself.

By his commitment to his calling as one set apart for the work of announcing the good news to the Gentiles, he set a powerful example for them to emulate. As he says in other places God was the one enabling him (1 Corinthians 3:10 and 15:10). We must learn to draw on the same resource to do what God would have us do.

RHG

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4 thoughts on ““How To Pray – Part 2” and “God’s Purposes Never Fail”

  1. Thanks Harry. My Bible says,”Ask and KEEP on asking and it shall be given you; seek and KEEP on seeking and you shall find; knock and KEEP on knocking and the door shall be opened to you etc. I wonder if a lack of persistence is the reason why prayers remain unanswered. In saying that I must say that I am amazed as to how quickly God does answer prayer.
    A great phrase in the Thessalonian reading, ‘We were EMBOLDENED by our God to speak the Gospel to you in spite of great opposition”. Something that we need to ask God for to make us bold and secure in Christ to share the story of Gods lifeline to the world.

    A powerful message at Fuse last night. A timely reminder for me that when things go wrong or when you just fell like throwing in the towel to cling to my hope which is in Christ. Great to hear of Spurgeons conversion when he knew he was forgiven. It reminded me of that moment when I too received forgiveness for all my sin. Spurgeon certainly was a man who preached with Gods power upon him, the Holy Spirit indwelling him and he preached with such a strong conviction of what he spoke about.Thank you Ian.

    • Connie, your Bible translation caputres well the sense of the original.- ask and persevere in the asking. This I take it is ‘an asking’ that is not petulant but trusting in the faithfulness and lovingkindness of our heavenly Father and surrendered to His sovereign will.

      Paul knew that every grace and all equipping was the work of God’s Spirit in him. So we too can pray that God will make us bold.

      God bless

      Harry

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