Week of April 20
Pray Without Ceasing
By Skip Heitzig
In Luke 18, Jesus’ message is that men ought always to pray and not to faint. The greater context here is the end times, because Jesus has been talking about the last days in chapter 17. But we also want to apply it to our lives generally: “Men ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
You know, in times of difficulty, you do one of two things: you faint and lose heart, or you commit it to God. In times of great stress it seems there’s no middle ground. But the Bible says you are to cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Your prayer ought not to be reserved for once a night or once a week. That is, you shouldn’t store up all the anxieties, and then have an “unloading” time. Instead, deal with them as you get them. Treat them like hot potatoes. Instead of grabbing them and getting burned, you say, “Whoops, too hot! I’ll toss it up to Him!”
If you were wearing a backpack and every time somebody hassled you they threw a stone in the pack, you might not be too weighed down at 10 a.m. But by the end of the day you’d be so burdened that your back would ache. Now, you could dump all the stones at the end of the day or once a week—or as you get them. You should cast all your cares upon Him. We would faint less if we prayed more!
But going back to the larger context of the end times, Paul says that in the last days, “men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4). Sounds like today, doesn’t it? And Paul’s warning is this: “And from such people turn away!” (v. 5)
Jesus said that when He returns, it will be as it was in the days of Noah and the days of Sodom (Luke 17:26-30). How was it in the days of Noah? As I read it, only eight people turned to God. And only a small group of four people fled from Sodom. And so Jesus asks the question at the end of the parable in Luke 18: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (v. 8).
I hope you have that kind of faith, the persistent, relentless kind that doesn’t give up! Pray without ceasing, and don’t lose heart!
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