The Prayer Problem

Over the years I have worked hard to maintain a commitment to study of the Scriptures. I will visit passages over and over. I find different ways to make my way methodically through Scripture, trying hard not to “skim over” places. I know it happens, so I’ve tried to dedicate my life to continually plowing through so I can make sure there are opportunities to hear the Spirit in every passage I study at some point in my life.

I know I’ve glossed over places that just don’t make sense… which is why I am working my way through Ezekiel and the other prophets right now.

But what always gets my attention is when I realize something new in a passage I think I’ve studied fairly well. I don’t get as shocked any more because I know the depths of the Word and no matter how “deep” I think I go, there is always a new insight I’ve missed.

Yet, it still gives me a jolt when I go over a passage like Luke 11 and read the teaching of Jesus on prayer and this thought hits me: “Jesus taught these guys to pray just like he prayed.”

An obvious “DUH!” I know. Which is why it came as a jolt to me.

5 He also said to them, “Imagine that one of you has a friend and you go to that friend in the middle of the night. Imagine saying, ‘Friend, loan me three loaves of bread 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has arrived and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 Imagine further that he answers from within the house, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 I assure you, even if he wouldn’t get up and help because of his friendship, he will get up and give his friend whatever he needs because of his friend’s brashness.  (Luke 11:5-8)

I have read this, prayed this, taught this, and always focused on v. 8 and talked about being bold, being brash, being audacious…

But yesterday it hit me: “Jesus was this way with the Father.”

Jesus wasn’t teaching them something he knew they should do and would need, but he could just say a word and didn’t know that struggle. Jesus bugged the Father. 

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them because they saw the end result, but they also knew he spent hours in prayer. He would spend the night in prayer and powerful things would happen the next day.

My prayer problem in the past has been maintaining a tenacity. In the past several months that has been going through a transformation. I have prayed over things with a tenacity I didn’t have before. I had short bursts of tenacity, but then would move on. I am now praying things God has asked me to pray for over the past year, and I have things I know I will keep bringing to God for the next 20 years.

I now realize that tenacity isn’t because Jesus said to be tenacious. That tenacity is necessary because Jesus was tenacious. He is calling out to me: “Hey! I had to wrestle with these things! YOU can wrestle with these things I have given you!”

Lord, let my prayers be truly brash, bold, tenacious… obnoxious. 

Let me follow you in prayer.