Prayer: How to Keep Holding On

A sermon idea based on Luke 11:1-13.


The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

Prayer is easy enough. It’s just a matter of having a conversation with God. What’s hard is continuing the conversation with God when you’re just not sure if he’s listening.


Information about the text that matters to the message…

There are two “levels” of prayer introduced in this passage. On the one hand, Luke records the request of one of the Lord’s disciples, “Lord, teach us to pray…

And Jesus obliges, with Luke’s version of the model prayer of Jesus, which can be outlined as follows:

  • PRAISE: Father, hallowed be your name.
  • PURPOSE: Your kingdom come.
  • PROVISION: Give us each day our daily bread.
  • PARDON: And forgive us our sins.
  • PEOPLE: For we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
  • PROTECTION: And do not bring us to the time of trial.

This is a fantastic “conversation guide” to prayer. I have often outlined some of my own written prayers using the above outline. But Jesus doesn’t stop there.

The Lord takes the basic idea of conversing with God in prayer to another level by challenging the disciples to keep on praying, persistently, until they’ve heard an answer from God.

He challenges them to “ask… seek… knock” but then drives the point home with a present tense version of each of those verbs.

  • Whoever asks, and keeps on asking continuously…
  • Whoever seeks, and keeps on seeking continuously…
  • Whoever knocks, and keeps on knocking continuously…

will receive an answer from God.

Does that mean God will always say “Yes” to every request we ever make? Certainly not, but he answers when we persistently show up in humble dependence. It is in the emptying of ourselves in humility before him that our hearts are prepared for his most poignant answers.


The big call-to-action in the message…

Don’t give up on prayer! God may be saying YesNo, or Wait, but prayer is never wasted. We grow spiritually anytime we’re talking to God about our lives and our world.

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