What cannot be overcome in prayer? Answer me! What cannot be done by the hand of the Almighty? Answer me! What can be done by your feeble arms? Answer me! He can take down the iron curtain in a day. He can convert a nation in an hour. Call upon Him! Believe Him.
Jesus was a man of prayer and I’ve just scribbled down here a bunch of verses and I’m going to kind of read a bunch of verses that you might come to understand the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus Christ and then come to understand that if prayer was so important to the Incarnate Son of the Living God!
Then how much more important should prayer be to us? How much more should we depend upon prayer? Jesus lived a life of prayer, that’s the first thing I want you to see. In Luke 5:16 it says, “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” You know oftentimes we find something that we greatly enjoy, as opposed to what we must grudgingly do, we try slip away to it. A man might want to avoid his yard duty by slipping away to watch a ball game. A man may come into work early so he can slip away to go hunting. A wife may want to slip away to go to the mall. They slip away to the things that they most enjoy.
Isn’t it a crime that Jesus Christ and the labor of the Kingdom seems almost to be work we want to slip away from? I heard an Evangelist tell a story, he came, he got off the plane he was received by the pastors and immediately they took him to play golf. I don’t have much of a problem with that, never played golf myself. But they took him out to the golf course. I guess they saw he needed to rest. And as they were going out there as you cross whatever you cross to play golf. The evangelist just happened to mention he said, “Well, you know the Lord is so good, the other day He was just…” And the preacher just stopped him and said, “let’s not talk shop out here, this is the place we’re going to rest.”
The only place you will ever rest is in Jesus Christ. And you know when you’re walking with God, when? When you slip away to Him. When you say there’s so much, there’s so much I have to do, so much grudging work, so much labor, I just wish that I could slip away to Him, for a moment. Because He’s the one to whom I escape. He’s the place I rest.
When prayer becomes a labor we’re not like the Christ. We’re not like Jesus. It says He would slip away into the wilderness and pray. Notice He would go into the wilderness. My friend the world, and even the church, it’s just so filled up with noise! So filled up with noise that every once and awhile, especially pastors, you’ve got to slip away. And you’ve got to go to a wilderness where no one can find you. And seek your God.
And be very careful that sometimes you don’t carry all those books with you. Because to many Jesus Christ can just become proper exegesis. Proper hermeneutic, a thing to be studied instead of a person to be loved. Jesus would slip away — in Matthew 14:23 it says, “After He had sent the crowds away He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray and when it was evening He was there alone.”
Someone said, “Why did Jesus need to pray so much, He was the incarnate Son of God?” We’re going to talk about that. But let me just show you the foolishness of that question. Could it just be possible that He always just wanted to slip away and be alone with God simply because He loved Him? Because He loved Him. It says in Luke 6:12-13 It was at this time that He went off to a mountain to pray and He spent the whole night in prayer to God and when day came He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them who He also named apostles.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had to make a really tough decision? Did you ever pass the entire night in prayer to do so? If you say no, I say to you: Behold we found a man stronger then Jesus. Isn’t it amazing that the Christ would slip away and spend the entire night in prayer to discern the Father’s voice to pick the men that had to be picked? But we’ve got the upper hand on that? That’s not so much needed anymore.
He goes on, Matthew 26:36, “Then Jesus came to Him at a place called Gethsemane and said to His disciples Sit here while I go over there and pray.” “Sit here while I go over there and pray”? Who could forget Gethsemane? Who could forget the war that was fought in that place. My friend, when He got up off his knees the battle was over. The war was fought there.
How many things do we have to fight with? How many Philistines do we have to put up with that stay in the land and they’re like thorns to us? Why? Because we do not take the matter by the horns. We do not go to the Lord and wrestle until the victory is won. Jesus Christ overcame in that garden, and He overcame by struggling through it in prayer and gaining the victory.
That passage: This kind only comes out through prayer and fasting? That just doesn’t have to do with demons, my dear friend. There are so many mountains in your life, so many obstacles, so many things in your life that seek to derail you, to stop you. And they’re going to stay there. Because some of those things don’t just go away by counseling. They go away by falling on your face before God till He delivers you. Jesus was a man of prayer. He showed it in every aspect of His life. Verse 1, He says He was telling them a parable that at all times they ought to pray and not lose heart. That’s the teaching of Jesus Christ, right there. If you want to sum up everything He taught about prayer, We ought to pray at all times.
Now for you young men here, let me just teach you something that will help you. I hear so many young men today saying, well, I don’t really have a specific time in which I pray, I am more, you know, throughout my day I just practice the presence of God. But I don’t really have that secret place that I go to. Let me tell you something young man, there is no way you can learn to practice the presence of God if you don’t spend much time in secret prayer. The power to practice the presence of God, the power to live a life of prayer, to always be speaking with the Father. That is born out of secret time with the Lord. Segments of time with the Lord in prayer. And He said we ought to pray always, and not to lose heart.
The initiating of prayer is not the problem. Do you realize that? You have initiated so many petitions before the throne, the question is have you wrestled them through? Have you pressed on in, to lay hold? Have you kept going? Are there petitions on your heart in your mind, down on a piece of paper that possibly have been there for fifteen years. But you say to the Lord I will not let you go! But it’s so easy to initiate prayer. But to persevere in that praying.
So He said we ought to always pray and not lose heart, because losing heart is the very end of all praying. And then He says in Luke 18:8, what I consider to be one of the saddest verses in the entire bible. It is this in 18:8, I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly however when the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth? Now why is that so sad? Jesus has just given them a parable to demonstrate to them why they should always pray and not lose heart. It’s almost as though Christ is going: Listen, my Father is faithful, my Word is true, He’s willing to do far more than anything you could ever ask or think, I am telling you ask and you’ll receive, knock and it will be opened to you, seek and you will find! And then the Lord stops and goes: But then again, when I return, will I find anybody believing this? Is anyone going to take Me at My Word? We cast so much doubt, not just upon the infallible written Word of God. We cast so much doubt on the character of God when we do not avail our-self, boldly of the promises! Either we have no passion for the advancement of His kingdom or we somehow feel it can be advanced through the power of the flesh. The power of the intellect, the power of ecclesiastical structure.
Lord I pray for Your people, I pray for Your people, Your dear saints here, pour out on them a Spirit of prayer and supplication. Let them see Lord, pressing on and pressing in is where the battle is won. And that the feeblest, the least gifted among us, the smallest man of the smallest tribe of Zion, can gather more victories then the greatest warrior in twelve tribes. By praying, by seeking Your face, by glorying in Your power and putting no confidence in the flesh. God help us. In Jesus’ name, amen.