Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29, 2012 … Yes, Pray; … But Pray Humbly!

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 303

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Luke, Chapters 18 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: Luke 18: 1; 9-14 : [NLT] … { If a Christian had to find the one baseline discipline which Jesus emphasized as important, what would it be? Duh! It is prayer; is it not! And in this chapter, when Jesus was teaching about the attitude which one must carry through life, He used a story about two men praying to illustrate how a believer should approach life with an attitude of humility … IN PRAYER. }  
1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up. … 9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector. 11 The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.”
Reference Passage: 1st Thessalonians 5: 17 : [NLT] … { Pray, pray, and pray some more! }  
17  Keep on praying continually.

My Journal for Today: Chapter 18 of Luke’s Gospel account was my assignment today in my chronological reading plan, now unfolding in the New Testament; and there is a lot of content and some great lessons which Jesus taught in this chapter. For example, there is the parallel lesson in Luke 18: 15-17, which is also taught in Matthew 19 and Mark 10, about how believers must go through life with the faith of a child, not letting our jaded attitude about life get in the way of our faith in God. And in this one lesson Jesus also gives His attitude about any child, which makes them each so precious and which most certainly applies against the scourge of abortion about which so many of us grieve over in our times.

And also in this chapter, in verses 18-29, is another lesson, also taught in Matthew 19 and Mark 10, where Jesus told the parable of the rich young ruler, who sought the formula for salvation but went away in sadness, learning that one must be willing to give up everything in this life for God to grant entrance into Heaven.

And most certainly those are Jesus lessons worthy of blogging this morning; but the lesson at the outset of Chapter 18 of Luke is the one I want to emphasize in my journal entry today and that is Jesus taking the time to point out the power of prayer in life and also the attitude one must carry into prayer which makes it powerful for our living. Right at the outset of this chapter, in verse 1, Jesus launches into a story where our Lord emphasizes a point which is re-emphasized often by God through the Apostle Paul in his NT writings; and that is the POWER OF PERSISTENT PRAYER.

And Jesus uses a parable of a widow praying before a judge in verses 1-8 of Luke 18, so that we might learn how important God felt about a believer’s prayer – and then praying some more … and then praying even more – about issues in life which require God’s attention beyond the abilities of man to handle life’s demands. This lesson of persistent prayer, as I copied one short verse from Paul’s epistle to the church in Thessalonica (i.e., 1st Thes. 5: 17), is also repeated by Paul to the church in Rome (i.e., Romans 12: 12) and to believers in Colossi (i.e., Colossians 4: 2), and it was the same lesson Jesus taught at the outset of Luke 18; and that is for believers to pray, … and pray … and keep on praying, especially when life seemed overwhelming.

But just praying persistently, Jesus taught, was not enough. In another parable, found in verses 10-14 above of Luke 18, the Lord also taught, as recorded by Luke (and Matthew 19 and Mark 10), that we, who believe in Jesus as Lord, must come into prayer with a mindset of HUMILITY, surrendering self to our Savior before our prayer can be met with God’s grace. This is a lesson about the attitude of believers which is heralded in many places in Scripture (see Prov. 3: 34, James 4: 6, and 1st Peter 5: 5-6), all teaching Jesus’ point here in Luke 18 that God cannot pour His grace into prideful prayer. No, … humility is the key which opens God’s floodgates of grace; and humble prayer becomes the vehicle which turns that key to unlock God’s mercy.

So, … this is a lesson I need to be reminded of often; because my flesh so often defaults to pride, thinking that I can do what I need to surrender to God’s grace to accomplish. And oh how Satan wants me to think that I can pridefully handle life without going to God, humblied in prayer … over and over and over again as Jesus teaches in Luke 18.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for being here daily when I come – prayerfully with humility – to seek Your grace. Amen

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