Luke: Chapter 18 How to Pray
In this chapter, Jesus tells his Disciples again that they are moving towards Jerusalem and He describes what will happen to him. He knows the cross is in his future.
He tells his followers that they should always pray … always be in the spirit of prayer. He tells them not to get frustrated and become discouraged and stop praying. I have to say that until we learn that prayer is answered, just not always what we are expecting, it is easy to give up on praying. I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer and I am certain that the more of us who join in prayer, the better. At one point in our family, my mother was ill and her mother was ill. She had asked for prayers for her mother. Grandmother improved and so did Mother. I asked her if she realized that she had gotten better, too … and she told me that she did realize that and that she was certain that her own improvement was also a result of the prayers. She said, “people are praying for our family.” She was right.
Jesus tells a story about a woman who continued to ask a judge to avenge her. The judge was no good, but finally helped the woman because he got tired of having to deal with her. He warns us not to pray constantly because we think God is reluctant to help us. In fact, it is just the opposite. As I said earlier, God may have answered our prayer and we just don’t know it. We might need to change the way we feel about something … and that sometimes comes with continued prayers.
Jesus also tells a story about people who are self-righteous. They pray and tell God how important they are! The suggestion is that God isn’t listening to folks who talk about themselves in their prayers. Those prayers are my will be done and not Thy will be done … kinds of prayers! It doesn’t work that way! Humility is required.
People had started taking their children to see Jesus and listen to his teaching. Some of his followers didn’t like this, but He made it clear that the children should be allowed. He warned that we should never block the way of a child.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter Heaven.” This phrase is a favorite of mine! Jesus tells of a rich man who asked Him how to enter the Kingdom of God. The rich man says that he follows all the commandments and is faithful. Jesus reminds him of his wealth and tells him to share it with the poor.
The last part of this chapter is the story of Bartimaeus, the blind man. He asked Jesus to restore his sight and Jesus did so … telling him that his faith had made him see.
My take-away from this chapter is all about prayer. My belief in the power of prayer was multiplied a hundred times when I was diagnosed with cancer. I couldn’t imagine leaving this earth and leaving behind my husband and daughter. I knew what losing me would do to my parents, because they had already lost one adult child. There were just a couple weeks between the time of my diagnosis and my surgery, but during that time one of my friends told me he was spending a lot of time on his knees for me! That meant he was kneeling and praying for me! I was humbled by that. My cancer was gone with surgery. I was one of the lucky folks who didn’t require any post-operative treatments. No chemotherapy, no radiation.
After a few weeks, I came to realize exactly why that happened. Young advertising reps that I worked with had a prayer chain going the morning of my surgery. People from television, radio and newspapers in multiple states were in communication and praying for me. A group of Methodist men had a prayer breakfast especially to remember me. Friends from a Pentecostal church in a little town where I had worked met together to pray for me. Of course, my own family and closest friends were remembering me that morning of the surgery. Oh, the power of prayer.