by Tony Nester

Open to Prayer
Tony Nester
Luke 11:5-13

Jesus had unlimited confidence in prayer. Alone in the wilderness he prayed and faced down Satan. He spent all night in prayer to make the right choice in selecting the twelve disciples. He prayed in order to heal the sick. He prayed away demons who were tormenting sick people. In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed for the power to endure the cross. And on that cross prayer was how he ended his life, "Father, forgive them .... Into your hands I commit my spirit."

Jesus' confidence in prayer was not only unlimited, it was also contagious. When his disciples saw how much he believed in prayer they said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray." He taught them what we call "The Lord's Prayer," which would be better named "The Disciples' Prayer."

Jesus put no limits on what God could do through prayer:

(Matthew 21:22 NRSV) "Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.""

Because Jesus had so much confidence in prayer he taught his followers to persevere in prayer and not surrender one's soul to unbelief, or to spiritual laziness, or to discouragement.

Today's Scripture is one the parables Jesus told to stir up our persistence in prayer. How open is your heart and mind to prayer? Jesus wants us to keep the door of heart open to prayer. If that door closes, we are shutting out the power of God in our lives.

Still, I know as you do that it's not easy to keep the door of prayer open. There are many times when we close that door. It usually happens when we've asked God for something we're sure is good and right and God doesn't answer that prayer -- at least not in the way that we wanted. We've prayed for a loved one, or a friend, and watched with sorrow and grief as the suffering was not removed. And then we've closed the door on prayer. And with that closed door has come a shrunken spiritual life. Some have even given up completely on their belief in God because a prayer was ...

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