How Autism Grew my Faith

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Persistent Prayer

This summer my home church was doing a study on parables.  I was asked to preach in the mid-week service and one of the parables I chose is located in Luke 18 called either “The Persistent Widow” or the “Unjust Judge.”  First of I find it interesting how we can find those different Bible headings- you can focus on the injustice or the persistence of the widow. As in all parables, Jesus gives the reason for the parable. In this one Jesus tells you upfront why He is telling the parable, “And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint.” Then He tells the story of a widow who was being mistreated in the judicial system and the judge finally relents because  she was annoying him (v5).  Jesus says if a unjust man who does not love this woman and does not fear God or man can relent after the widow’s pleading, how much more does the Father who loves you, who does care for you personally, want to act on your behalf.  He is making the point that God the Father is opposite from this unjust judge in EVERY WAY. Yet even the unjust judge finally acted on her behalf. At the end of the parable (v8) Jesus said, “Nevertheless,  when the Son of Man comes, shall He find such faith on the earth?”

If you have read my previous blog on Forgiveness- catch this important point. Luke 17 ( the proceeding chapter) is one of Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness and He says one of the main things that block our prayers is our own un-forgiveness towards others.

Then Luke 18 tells us in our prayer life we must be persistent.  Jesus had previously taught the disciples “how” to prayer in Luke 11 in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.”   We then put Luke 11, 17, and 18 together. When Jesus teaches how to pray he starts with “Our Father Who Art in Heaven- Hallowed be Thy name.”  Although the point is simple, God the Father is holy and righteous and He is the ONLY one who can meet our need or bring healing to us. We cannot look in other places then finally come to God for help when nothing else has worked. HE is the one to whom we pray, and the one who can meet the need. “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”  We can pray until we are blue in the face with great faith and passion, but if what we are praying for is outside of God’s will IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. God will not give us something or do something on our behalf that is outside of HIS WILL AND PURPOSE. So as Steven Furtick said recently,” EVERYTHING I ever thought I NEEDED that God TOOK AWAY, turns out it was BLOCKING something BETTER He had PREPARED.”

We have to trust God in the answer- even if the answer is NO or WAIT or NOT YET. God is not a mean God when He does not answer the way we wish. He will only answer a pray that is in HIS WILL. “Give us this day OUR DAILY bread.” God promised in the OT and NT that His children will not go begging for bread. He promised that if HIS people tithe, He will provide their daily bread- their daily NEEDS. We confuse our wants and our needs. God has promised the NEEDS and sometimes we get the WANTS. “Forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us.” What is a trespass? The original GREEK word is paraptomah. Paraptomah means a mistake, sin, offense, unintentional error, malicious intent, willful intent, fault, a slip, or a fall. That pretty much covers everything a person can do to us right?  Back in Luke 17 Jesus told his disciples they had to forgive “everyone their trespasses.” Who is everyone? Glad you asked. The Greek word for everyone is hekastos. Get this: hekastos means “each and every, every man or woman, verb tense is one that means past and present or those who have not yet done anything in the future. So we have to forgive EVERYONE sinner and fellow Christian of everything from a little oops, a little mistake or error to intentional, malicious harm. So, “Forgive us our trespasses AS WE forgive those who trespass against us” should take on new meaning.

“And lead us not into temptation.” We know God never tempts us, so this passage is asking for wisdom to not even go into situations that could be tempting. Help me BEFORE I am tempted- and God will. Once you are in the situation, it is not God’s fault for decisions you make. First of all He wants to help you not get into the tempting situation. Then when you are there, if  you FLEE and ask for help HE WILL be faithful. But we need to ask ourselves do we put ourselves in situations that are too tempting then blame God for our mistakes? “For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory FOREVER.” We sometimes forget that God is eternal and we have eternity in our hearts. If we do not see a need met or healing here on this earth- it will be done in Heaven. WE are not guaranteed to see our answers this side of Heaven- and that is sometimes where we get tripped up.

So when we pray, we are to pray without growing weary. We are to TRUST that even though we do not see what is going on, God will act on our best behalf. He is a HOLY God that knows what we need, when we need it, and how we need it. God is both holiness and love. He loves us and will care for us and provide for us, but He is HOLY and He will not answer a prayer outside of His will. God’s time line is not our time line. Remember we are eternal beings and our 75 plus years on earth are nothing compared to the eternity we will spend with Him.

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