Luke 11:5-10 “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? 7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. 8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. 9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. 10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Prayer is the first thing, the second thing, and the last thing. It’s through prayer that we meet with God. It goes beyond asking and goes into the realm of seeking.
Many times, prayer involves waiting. ‘Patience is a virtue that carries a lot of wait.’
God answers all prayers, His answers are, ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ or ‘Wait.’
God’s giving is inseparably linked to our asking.
How is your ‘prayer life?’ Do you pray every day? What are your expectations in prayer? Does your prayer time line up with what Jesus said about prayer? What do you need to change?
Most people struggle with being a ‘control freak.’ You’ve got to let go and let God. Quit trying to ‘help’ God fix things. You’ve got to remain in giving to God. Trust Him. Let go. Focus your trust on Him and let go of worrying and controlling.
Perseverance is rewarded.
Jesus spoke all the time through parables, a story with a point. There are two types of parables, comparison parables and contrast parables. Comparison parables comparea natural thing with the spiritual. A contrast parable contrasts natural and spiritual.
The parable above is a contrast parable. The point of it was how we are to pray. It’s as if you have a revelation of a need that somebody reveals to you. The desire to help this friend comes upon you. You look and realize that you don’t have enough to help, but you remember that you have another Friend that has more than enough and plenty to share. It takes this man with two friends. He has a friend in need and a Friend indeed. We go to that Friend and knock on behalf of that friend in need. Perseverance is rewarded.
Elijah could stop the rain from falling and start it up again just by praying. Prayer works.
James 5:16e “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Do you pray this way? Do you recognize your Friend indeed? Do you frequently go to Him throughout your day? Is your time(s) with Him always asking or does it involve simply spending time with Him as well?
How could you call on somebody at midnight? It’s only if you have a relationship with that Friend. Your relationship with Jesus gives you access, not an automatic ‘yes.’ He has no obligation to say, ‘yes’ to you. He always does what is good for you, not necessarily what you want, when you want it.
Mat 11:12 “…the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
In the verse above, the word violence means ‘passion’ and/or ‘great desire’. The kingdom of God is approached only through passion and desire. The Kingdom is there, but it’s there for the taking. You’ve got to seek it on purpose. Results come from consistent seeking.
Righteousness is being on the same page as God.
Importunity means ‘without bashfulness,’ praying boldly, praying with faith and passion and trust. Patty-cake prayer doesn’t get stuff done in the Spirit. Keep coming back. It’s not about you. It’s about your friend’s need and the Friend who came meet that need.
Live in a continual state of effectual, fervent prayer. ‘Ask and it shall be given you.’ It’s a continuing to ask and seek and receive and find. You just don’t stop. Pray Until Something Happens. PUSH.
Importunity is a result of the relationship with have with God. It is intercession.
Are you on the same page as Jesus? How do you need to change your thinking in order to get there? How does this understanding change the way you pray?
Genesis 18 tells the story of a man who needed a friend. Lot needed a friend. Lot was righteous. Scripture says he was righteous, but he lived in a city that vexed his soul. His family got sucked into the world’s ways. There in Scripture, God decided to tell Abraham His plans. Abraham planned to tell his children about God and His ways. So, God had a relationship with Him.
If you don’t care about other people, how can you say you are saved? This is the very nature of Christ. How much like Christ can you be if you’re selfish? If you’re selfish and only pray about your own stuff, you’re not saved.
Jesus asked for very few things. All He asked was that there be more harvesters.
Having a relationship with Jesus reveals the needs of others.
Abraham requested that God spare the city that Lot lived in. He kept asking, starting with 50 righteous people and got all the way down to 10. There weren’t ten, but God got Lot out because of Abraham. Lot didn’t even want to go. The angel had to grab his arm. Why? Because a man wouldn’t stop praying.
Are you willing to pray like Abraham prayed? What does that look like for you and for the people you pray for?
There was a man who wasn’t so wicked, Cornelius. He kept praying. An angel showed up. He said, ‘Because you won’t stop talking, I have to answer your prayer. Your prayers have mounted up as a memorial to the Lord.’ Either you’re praying or you’re discouraged. Either you’re praying or you’re fainting. You’ve got to continue in prayer and never get discouraged. It is prayer without ceasing that gets things done. It’s the ones who continue in prayer.
Aaron had two friends, a praying brother, Moses.
Deut 9:14 “Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.”
God revealed His plans to Moses because of their relationship. If you want access to His plans, you’ve got to work on your relationship. Moses asked God not to destroy. It’s not about being sad or down. It’s about actually asking God. Faith in prayer without doing it is also dead. Believing is not enough. You’ve got to ask.
Do you get revelation from God in your prayers? What do you do with that revelation? Does it cause you to pray more?
Deut 9:15-20 “So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the Lord your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you. 17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes. 18 And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. 19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also. 20 And the Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.”
Acts 12:5 “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”
Sometimes you have to make prayer.
Why is nothing good happening in your life? There are two possibilities, you’re not righteous or nobody is praying for you.
Jesus said, ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ You’ve got to keep asking and keep going. It’s not because God is unwilling. It’s a principle based on importunity. If you stop too soon, you will not get your prayer answered.
1 Sam 12:23 “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:”
Paul didn’t literally mean to always be praying. Ceasing is symbolic of fainting or ‘giving up.’
1 Thes 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”
Col 1:9 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”
1 Thes 3:10 “Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?”
2 Tim 1:3 “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;”
Luke 21:36 “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
Rom 12:12 “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;”
Eph 6:18 “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
Col 4:2 “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”
1 Peter 4:7 “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
If you’re having trouble with prayer, then your relationship with God needs help. If you’re not getting the answers to your prayers, it’s because you’re giving up too soon.
God doesn’t ‘just do it.’ He created us with the purpose of bringing us back into connection with Him. Jesus was the reconciler to God. Prayer is real. You have been reconciled to God because somebody died for you and somebody prayed for you.
Intercessory prayer works!
Do you give up too soon? What if you didn’t give up? How would that change your prayers and your life?
Isaiah 59:16 “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.”
Eze 22:30 “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
Having the nature of Jesus Christ is having the nature of intercession.
2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Are you living out that ‘new creature’ life or are you struggling with the ‘old things’ and old ways of thinking and living? Are you willing to live out this truth? How does this knowledge change you?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!