Success in life,
…like success in any endeavor, has essential elements that cannot be skipped.
Baking a pie (sugar, not salt)
Running a race (no false starts, stay in your line, training and nutrition)
In Luke 18, the Lord Jesus gives us one essential for successful living…the necessity of prayer.
Here is the flow of the passage:
- The necessity of prayer 1-8 (illustrated by the needy widow)
- The necessary attitude of prayer v 9-14 (illustrated by the self-righteous Pharisee)
- The necessary dependency in prayer. 15-17 (illustrated by dependent infants)
- Further illustrations of prayer: 18-43
Why is prayer necessary for every season in life? The passage, with its illustrations, show us that, in view of the Lord’s return…
Life Must be Spiritually Discerned.
The Holy Spirit illustrates this to us by two individuals.
One is a rich young ruler (18-30), the other a poor blind beggar. (35-43)
The first is unsuccessful due to his self-sufficiency and love of things.
The other is successful for his persistence, his humility, his specific appeal and dependence upon the Lord Jesus to provide what was otherwise impossible for him.
Then tucked in between each of these illustrations, the Lord shows the disciples a mystery that, for them, they neither understood (couldn’t put it all together); Nor could they find it on their own because it was concealed from them by their pre-conceived ideas of Messiah;
…Nor was it even possible for them to know it. (There was no common bond with the Spirit of God as yet that would give them spiritual discernment to know it).
Knowing that there is an insatiable desire for wisdom in the human heart and mind, the Lord Jesus revealed this mystery to them that would never leave them until they found the key to understanding it.
By this means, He showed them their blindness and that the key to enlightenment is to pray for wisdom and understanding that can only be spiritually discerned.
In other words, pray for the impossible, that spiritual blindness be removed. For this reason, in every season of life, prayer is the necessary and essential ingredient.
Not only is it necessary in every season of life, it is imperative that we not lose heart or lack courage in prayer.
No Fainting Allowed:
Vines entry defines the phrase ‘not to faint’:
“to lack courage, lose heart, be fainthearted” (en, “in,” kakos, “base”), is said of prayer, Luk 18:1; of Gospel ministry, 2Cr 4:1, 16; of the effect of tribulation, Eph 3:13; as to well doing, 2Th 3:13, “be not weary” (AV marg., “faint not”).
This passage in particular teaches us to pray specifically for the Lord’s return.
Why would the Christian lose heart concerning the Lord’s return?
- Maybe we lose sight of our calling to be with the Lord and we are marked by complacency.
- Maybe we lose sight of our need for the Lord’s return and are fulfilled by self-sufficiency.
- Maybe we lose sight of spiritual reality of the Lord’s return and forget our dependency.
These parables and illustrations in Luke 18 remind us in regards to prayer:
- To not be complacent, but persistent;
- To not be fulfilled by our abilities, but to find fulfillment in our dependence upon God;
- To not be blinded to spiritual realities, but to open our eyes to the very real expectation of the Lord’s return in the air to claim His Bride.