Three Parables that Challenge our Beliefs about Prayer

Andrew Fountain
Sun, 2022-09-04
  • In Luke 11 & 18, Jesus gives us several strong motivations to pray, including an example, a parable and some very clear teaching that challenges our core beliefs about prayer.
  • Listen to Jesus and be motivated by him today!
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Sermon Slides - Three Parables that Challenge our Beliefs about Prayer

Video cover image by Marco Verch Creative Commons 2.0


That we would fully take in these strong statements by Jesus
which will change our beliefs about prayer.

Three Parables that Challenge our Beliefs about Prayer

  1. The Neighbor at Midnight
  2. The Parent Asked for an Egg
  3. The Lazy Government Official

1. The Neighbor at Midnight

Luke 11:1–13

  1. Now Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
  2. So he said to them, “When you pray, say:
    Father, honoured be your name;
    may your kingdom come.
  3. Give us each day our daily bread,
  4. and forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
    And do not lead us into temptation.”

Luke 11:1–13 cont’d

  1. Then he said to them, “Would any of you have a friend whom you went to at midnight and said, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
  2. because a friend of mine has stopped here while on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him.’
  3. Who would reply from inside, ‘Do not bother me. The door is already shut, and my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything.’
  4. I tell you, even though he might not get up and give him anything out of friendship, yet the very boldness of the request will make him get up and give him all he needs.

Quote from Klyne Snodgrass Stories with Intent p.448f.

  • Is God of such a character that he responds to prayers?
  • The parable answers, “Of course!” Well beyond what a human might do, God will respond.
  • Jesus’ conviction is that God is
    • a God who eagerly hears the prayers of his people,
    • is biased in their favor,
    • and can be trusted to respond.
  • The parable... is an invitation to pray...
  • Surely if you would ask for and expect help from a neighbor, how much more should you seek and expect the help of God?

2. The Parent Asked for an Egg

Luke 11:1–13 cont’d

  1. “So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.
  2. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
  3. What father among you, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish?
  4. Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
  5. If you then, even as bad as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give...

Luke 11:1–13 cont’d

  1. If you then, even as bad as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give
    the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

3. The Lazy Government Official

Luke 18:1–8

  1. Then Jesus told them a parable to show them they should always pray and not lose heart.
  2. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people.
    • government official
  3. There was also a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
  4. For a while he refused, but later on he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor have regard for people,
  5. yet because this widow keeps on bothering me, I will give her justice, or in the end she will wear me out by her unending pleas.’ ”

Luke 18:1–8

  1. And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says!
  2. Won’t God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay long to help them?
  3. I tell you, he will give them justice speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faithfulness on earth?”

Quote from Klyne Snodgrass

  • “The parable is not about persistence in praying or badgering God until we get our desires.”
  • It is simply about not giving up!
  • “the character of God, who is
    • not like the uncaring, unrighteous judge,
    • but is merciful, patient, and eager to assist his people”

Praying without giving up

  • Who has heard of the hymn “Amazing Grace”?
    • Do you know who wrote it?
  • John Newton’s mother never gave up praying
  • Luke 2:36 – Anna didn’t give up praying for around 64 years, and saw Jesus as a baby!!

1. Better than a neighbor

  • If you would help your neighbor who has need in the middle of the night…
  • How much more will God who is so much better than just a neighbor
    hear your request for help!

2. Better than your own mother or father

  • If earthly parents know how to give good gifts to their children…
  • How much more will the God who loves his children so much,
    give them the very best gifts!

3. Better than a government official

  • If a government official will eventually listen to you if you don’t give up…
  • How much more will the God who cares about you
    listen to your prayers!

Challenge for this week

  1. Pray about something right now! (small or big)
  2. Write down a list of 5–10 big prayers
    Try to pray about them every day, but don’t try to put pressure on God
    If one is answered, you can add another to replace it, but keep a record of the one answered
    Be patient, but don’t give up

Updated on 2022-09-04 by Andrew Fountain