June 10, 2020 – God’s People Need to Pray

Read Luke 18

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:13 

 

Today’s lesson is about prayer again. God told Solomon that He needed His people to humble themselves and pray.  Prayer and seeking His face are opposite sides of the same coin. They are the two parts of communication. In all communication, someone has to begin speaking. Truthfully, we are not the ones who started this process of communication. God began communicating to man. God revealed Himself to us in His Word. His Word shares with us that God wants to talk with us.
 
Prayer is a response to God’s revelation. It is accepting God’s communication, acknowledging that we have received it, and agreeing with what we have heard. Then it is asking for more revelation from God. 
 
Prayer is first acknowledging that we are sinners. Humility requires us to come naked before God in confession of our sin. Prayer requires us to see our weakness and His strength. It is a plea for help. We read in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
 
“Boldly” sounds contrary to humility. It is based on the work of Christ on the cross and is an acknowledgment of my unworthiness without Him, but also our ability to come through Him. It does not exalt us, but His promise. Humility is understood in the words “grace” and “mercy.” We see that it is critical that we see our need and that our prayer is a call for help.
 
The Lord shared a principle of prayer in Luke 18. This is the account of two men who went to the temple to pray. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” (Luke 18:11) This was not a prayer for a need. It was not a prayer with humility. It was a prayer exalting himself. The second man simply smote upon his breast crying out, “God be merciful to me the sinner.” The Lord said that this man, not the other was justified before God.  
 

Again, before we can pray, we have to acknowledge who we are praying to. We have to see our need before the God of the universe. In seeing our need, we also have to acknowledge our weakness and our sin.

 

 An Exercise to Increase our Faith: Spend time in prayer and remind yourself who you are praying to. Imagine being ushered into His presence and you are given an audience to say the most important thing on your heart. What would you say?

 


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