How Often Should We Pray?

Luke 18:1-8

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

Here Jesus is in the last days of His ministry on earth. As is typical, Jesus is teaching. He uses a parable to tell a simple story to illustrate a spiritual lesson.

In the first verse of Luke 18, Luke states the meaning of the parable before sharing it. Many rabbis in Jesus’ day taught that praying too often annoyed God. They advocated setting aside three hours of the day for prayer. They believed that sufficed.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray continually and not be discouraged by external events that might shake their faith and lead to doubt and discouragement.

Luke 18:1-8: Pray Always
Parable of the Unjust Judge

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

2 He said: “In a certain town, there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time, he refused. But finally, he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you; he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.

8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

What did Jesus mean by “praying always and not giving up?” To “pray always and not give up” means to have our minds constantly on the things of God, and to be in constant communication with him, so that every moment will be fruitful.

Spending time with God increases our faith. Faith is a living expression that grows as we dare to put it into action. So, if we take time to remember all the miraculous ways God has answered
our prayers in the past, we will find new courage and hope for the future — and our faith will grow.

Prayer involves God in our lives and in everything we do.

In verse 8, Jesus presented a final quiz on the matter at the end of the parable of the persistent widow and unjust judge.

He asks, “But when the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on the earth who have faith?” Just as Paul stresses in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, continual devotion to prayer should be a way of life. The Lord wants to know if He will find any faithful prayer warriors left on the earth when He returns. Will we be among God’s people still praying at Christ’s second coming, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done” (Matthew 6:10)?

The judge in the parable does not represent God. The judge is unjust and doesn’t care about what this widow needs. Jesus tells this parable to his disciples to help them understand that if this unjust judge finally listens to the woman’s request and grants her justice, how much more will a loving and just God answer the petitions of his own children who cry out for help?

When you feel you have no power and no means, know that God is a loving God, and He meets your needs.

The Persistent Neighbor - 
Parable of Reluctant Neighbor

Luke 11:5-10 says, 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give
you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity (or yet to preserve his good name), he will
surely get up and give you as much as you need.

9 “So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Immediately after teaching the disciples to pray the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus told the story of the neighbor who needed bread for a visitor in Luke 11. The disciples had just asked Him to teach
them to pray, and the lesson He is teaching through this parable is to be persistent in prayer. 

We should always approach God with an attitude of thanksgiving and be mindful of who He is. We should never be demanding or disrespectful. He is our Father who loves us.

James tells us that we don’t have because we don’t ask, or we ask with the wrong motives (James 4:3). Our gracious God allows us to approach Him which indicates His mercy and graciousness toward sinners.

He is our Abba Father (Romans 8:15), and we are His children. So we come before Him as a child comes before his earthly Father, in confidence that his Father loves him and wants the best for him.

And if this man would give his neighbor what he wanted not out of friendship but just because of his shameless boldness, how much more will God, who loves us perfectly, give us when we come into His presence?

Jehoshaphat’s Prayer
A Lesson in How to Pray

Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of Judah. He was a godly king even though he did not remove all the idols throughout Judah.

In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat was informed that 3 armies were coming up against him in battle. The 3 armies were far greater than the king of Judah.

Verse 3 says, “And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” Jehoshaphat knew he and his army could not defeat this vast enemy. So, he sought the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout the land.

And [Jehoshaphat] said, “O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so
that none is able to withstand thee?” Jehoshaphat recognized who God was in his prayer.

Jehoshaphat made his requests known to God. “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do:
but our eyes are upon thee.”

God answered his prayer. “Thus, saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Upon hearing these words, Jehoshaphat knew his prayers had been answered. He promptly bowed down and worshipped God, thanking him for the victory he could not yet see.

Jehoshaphat began his prayer by recognizing who God is. Next, he prepared his heart to receive the answer from God by fasting. Then Jehoshaphat made his requests known to God. And finally,
he thanked God for the answer even though he could not yet see the answer objectively.

Pray Continually

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: 16 “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer is the will of the Father. Praying is to fellowship with Him, which puts a smile on the Lord’s face.

Always, thank God for your answer.