Does this say we should nag God in our prayers. Do we have an obligation to do things when we ask for things from God in prayer. Two different people could be praying for opposite things. Where does faith come in and how does it differ from persistence? Maybe what we pray for isn’t really what we want or need.
Chuck V. Wrote the following.
When we were reading the parallel passage in Matthew (Chapter 7, Verses 7 and following) you may remember I read you a mini-sermon, in which I contended that it isn’t the mere asking, but rather the continual bugging, as it were, of the Heavenly Father, which finally gets us what we want.
I think that’s born out in this parable of the importuned friend. I believed then—and I still do—that Jesus was giving us this tip out of his own personal experience. (Used the Holy Spirit as a channel between his humanity and his divinity, perhaps?)
But something still bothered me; my persistent nagging of God is not going to let me win the lottery, is it? Or—even closer to home—not even my fervent and prolonged haranguing of the almighty Father is going to cause my choral arrangements to be performed and loved. The best I can hope for, according to verse 13, is the Holy Spirit.
But wait! It came to me last week: Isn’t possession of or by the Holy Spirit the ultimate gift? What greater blessing could God give than the Holy Spirit.
How do we know we have the Holy Spirit? Intern says we are sealed with the Holy Spirit in baptism. Dan is going through a serious situation with his wife. What can he pray for? He wants a miracle but is it going to happen. Community may help. How will persistence prayer help? What should we be praying for in a case like this? Should we bargain with God by making promises with our prayer? Whatever he does is maybe out of his control and all he can focus on is some comfort for her. Should we be asking for the courage to face life’s problems however devastating they may be. We and Christ are in this together. How do we clean up the loose ends in the event of death. It is good to be able to clean up the loose ends. Is the Holy Spirit in us or among us. Jesus says in John 14 that he will send an advocate to help us come to God and seek his help. What is the supposed unforgivable sin, the sin against the Holy Spirit. It is to harden your heart against repeated attempts from the Holy Spirit to reach you.
Story of Martha and Mary. There were stories of mothers and wives who were these two people. These are Lazarus’ sisters, but before the time that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead as reported in John 11. This is in a reading talking about a work ethic. Sometimes you have to chose the right attitude towards work, sometimes we are too busy to see the lovely tree in the forest. Was Martha too busy with daily things to learn what really mattered. Jesus told Martha to stop worrying so much and pay attention to what he was saying. Jesus calls Martha to be a disciple and learn from Him. Maybe we need others to step up and help Martha with her work. Both men and woman could be a Martha and be so busy about the arrangements. Martha was admonishing Jesus to tell Mary to work. The point of the story is that we should be listening to the Word that Jesus brings to us.
We read the Lord’s prayer. Is the form more important than the words? It appears that John the Baptist had prayers giving his disciples the form to pray. He didn’t tell us to ask for specific things but rather to keep his name holy and wish for the kingdom of God to come. Luther thought the fewer the words the better the prayer. It seems that there is very little in the Lord’s prayer that would suggest that praying for anything more than our daily sustenance is what we should do. It doesn’t suggest that we should pray for things or successes or relief from pain or to be saved from tornadoes or anything of that nature. Pray for a right relationship with God and that our sins should be forgiven. If we are in the right relationship with God, we will have what is needful.
No one knows the father but the son. The disciples had to faith in Jesus gave them the confidence to go on the mission. Jesus may not have the mist transparent mission at times, see only the father knows the son and the son the father. We are all searching for faith. Who is the authority in our lives? Why is it that little children seem to have the faith.
The good Samaritan. Who is my neighbor? Is the guy on the corner begging Jesus? The young lawyer asks what do I have to do for eternal life. Worship, praise, study, share are faith practices. The priest and Levite didn’t recognize the man as a neighbor. This conflicts with Jesus teaching to the Samaritan women that he came to the lost nation of Israel. The Levite and priest were doing what was required of the law. They would have been required to be clean for the task. If the beaten man was a Jew why didn’t the Jewish priest and Levite help him out. But maybe the beaten man was beaten because he had lost the faith or didn’t believe in God. You have to remember this is a rabbinic parable. Luke put together a very powerful story that touches many issues. Who was good one and Jesus says the one who showed him Mercy. Our good Samaritan law gives some legal protection to those who help others on the highway. Bonhoeffer says “Only the believing obey, only the obedient believe.” who in our world would show Mercy. This is the point of the rabbinic parable. Have you been in the ditch, have you been the Samaritan, have you been the priest or the Levite? If I were destitute what would be on my sign? Where would I find my help?