PARABLES ON PRAYER
Persistent Friend Lk 11:5-10
Widow & Judge Lk 18:1-8
Pharisee & Tax Collector Lk 18:9-14
I. Background to the Parables
a. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, and He gave them the example prayer in Lk 11:2-4, often called the Lord’s prayer.
b. Continuing His teaching, Jesus taught about persistence in prayer, Lk 11:5-10.
c. The Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom would come. Jesus taught about the coming of the kingdom, and about judgment on Israel, Lk 17:20-37. Also see Mt 24.
d. Then Jesus taught His disciples two parables about prayer, Lk 18:1-14.
2. Definitions/Cultural Insights
a. Pharisee: a separatist, exclusively religious. They laid stress not upon the righteousness of an action, but upon its formal correctness.
b. Tax collector: an Israelite who collected taxes for the Roman government. They were hated by the people and classed with harlots/sinners.
II. Understanding the Parables
1. Jesus taught… about seeking help through prayer in the parable of the persistent friend, Lk 11:5-13.
a. The friend had a sudden need for assistance, and went to his friend for help, :6.
b. His request was reasonable, he asked for three loaves to feed someone else, :5.
c. His request was heard because he woke up his friend at midnight, :8.
d. If we understand how a friend would help us because of the trouble we caused , then we should know that God will answer our requests, :9-10.
e. If our human fathers give good gifts to their children, how much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts to His children when we ask, :13.
2. Jesus taught… about persistence in prayer, and seeking justice through prayer in the parable of the widow and the judge, Lk 18:1-8.
a. The judge in the parable was unjust, :2.
b. The widow continually requested him to give her justice, :3.
c. The unrighteous judge gave her justice to stop her from troubling him, :5.
d. How much more certain is our righteous God to help us when we make a request, crying out to Him day and night, :7-8.
3. Jesus taught… about trusting God for salvation instead of trusting our own righteousness in the parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee, Lk 18:9-14.
a. The Pharisee bragged to God about his own righteousness, :11-12.
b. The tax collector humbled himself before God, and begged for mercy, :13.
c. God respected the prayer of the tax collector who admitted being a sinner.
d. By implication, God did not respect the prayer of the proud Pharisee who trusted in his ability to keep the law, and considered himself righteous.
e. The proud will be humbled, and the humble will be exalted, :14.
III. Consideration and Application of the Parables
1. God Hears… our requests
When we understand that God will help us more readily than a close friend, we should have courage to ask God for our needed help, Heb 4:15-16. Our request should be unselfish, Js 4:1-4. What kind of requests are we making to God? Are we seeking help for others, or only for ourselves and our family? Do you have confidence that God will help you?
2. Persist In Prayer… God gives justice
Just as the widow asked for help with her problem, and was rewarded for her persistence, we know that God will hear the prayers of His children and give us the needed help against our enemies. God will hear and take vengeance for His saints, Rev 6:10-11. Who is our adversary that we need God’s help to overcome, 1 Pet 5:8? Why should we make repeated requests to God for help? What does it mean to pray without ceasing?
3. God Hears… humble, dependent, confessing prayer
Sometimes people believe that they are righteous because of their ability to do all the right things. However, this righteousness of our own through keeping law is a lie, because just one sin leaves us short of righteousness. We all are sinners, and depend on the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ for salvation, Phil 3:8-11. Jesus is able to give us complete righteousness through faith. How do you feel about your own righteousness before God? Are you doing so well spiritually that you can brag to God about your ability? Do you look down on other people because you see them as sinners? What does it mean to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, Js 4:10?
IV. Memory Verse - Lk 18:14