We must be “Devoted to Prayer”
Church history began with her disciples devoted to the Word of God and to prayer (Acts 2:43; 6:4). Every day the leaders gathered to pray and minister to the Lord (Acts 3:1). In this clarity of vision and simplicity of purpose, the church of Jesus Christ never had greater power or capacity to make true disciples. If we want to make disciples, we must be given to prayer. These men and women revealed the purity of the kingdom of God.
Today, however, our qualifications for church leadership include almost everything but devotion to God’s Word and prayer. Leaders are expected to be organizers, counselors, and individuals with winning personalities whose charms alone can draw people.
In Luke 18, Jesus challenges our modern traditions. He asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (v.8). His question is a warning to Christians who would limit the power of God at the end of the age. Jesus is calling us to resist the downward pull of our traditions; He is asking us individually, “Will I find faith in you?”
Before we respond, let us note that Jesus associates faith with “day-and-night” prayer (Luke 18:7). He is not asking, “Will I find correct doctrines in you?” The Lord’s question does not so much concern itself with right knowledge as with right faith. What we believe is important, but how we believe is vital in securing the help of God.
Indeed, procuring the supernatural help of God is exactly the point of Jesus’ parable in Luke 18. His intent was to show that “at all times” we “ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1). To illustrate the quality of faith He seeks, He followed His admonition with a parable about a certain widow who petitioned a hardened judge for “legal protection” (v.3). Although the judge was initially unwilling, yet by her “continually coming” (v.5) she gained what was legally hers.
Jesus concluded by asking: “If an unrighteous judge will respond to a widow’s persistence, shall not God avenge quickly His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?” Jesus said, “I tell you that He will bring about justice for them speedily.” (See Luke 18:1-8.)