She was persistent. The first time I went to visit Alma I noticed the decorations on the living room walls. Oh, there were the family photos on the wall. There were the flower arrangements and other decorative do-dads on the living room walls. But there were also Bible verses hanging on the wall.
These weren’t the painted pastoral scenes with Scripture quotations around the artwork. No, Alma had typed out specific passages related to turning to God. They were several of these 8×10 picture frames around the living room. On subsequent visits, I realized these framed Bible verses were in other rooms in the house!
Alma had been married to Neal for nearly 50 years. She had been a Christian for decades. Alma had attended church for those years without Neal. He would attend church on occasion, but not often. So, Alma placed the various Bible verses around the house. Not only had she done that, but she prayed all during her marriage that her husband would start following Jesus.
I visited Neal occasionally after Alma passed away. We would chat about the church, life, and such. Then one week I received a call that Neal wanted to speak with me. During that visit Neal told me he wanted to get baptized. By this time Neal was not getting out much. So after getting word out to the church, we gathered in that same living room. Yes, the same living room where I first met Alma and that same living room in which I discovered the Bible verses on the wall. On that day, all in attendance observed the change in Neal as he was reborn in Jesus’ Name.
Over the next year I observed Neal continue to grow in Christ. Alma’s prayers were answered. The Bible verses were still on the wall when Neal passed away at the age of 91.
This sure does sound like a case of being persistent. God gives to us. Sometimes we discover we need to keep on praying for what we need. This is not what Jesus’ disciples were expecting. Then again, Jesus doesn’t always speak to us the way we expect him to speak to us.
A. “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples” (11:1-4)
1. Father – “Abba” – God is available to us, not like a father some of us have, but as the Father we need
2. Hallowed be your name – show some respect, He is a holy God
3. Give us each day our daily bread – Yes, asking for that day’s food is good to do; God will provide
4. Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us
– We ask God to forgive us
– We forgive those who have sinned against us
5. And do not bring us to the time of trial – Provide a way out of the time of trial
6. There are several reasons we repeat this prayer. We are obedient to Jesus when we pray this prayer. We are honest in who God is and how important our Father is to us. We realize that all of our needs are met by God himself providing daily food. We are reminded that forgiving each other is as important as being forgiven by our Father. We realize God doesn’t tempt us. It is not by saying this prayer once which helps us to know God. It is by praying this prayer, and praying in general to God, which helps us to know God.
B. We can be persistent in prayer (11:5-8)
1. A friend knows he can ask us for anything
2. A friend doesn’t come around at the most convenient of times
3. A friend will keep on asking
4. So, we give to our friends
5. And God gives to us. We can ask God for anything. We can ask God at what we consider the most inconvenient times. We keep on pestering God. For God is going to give to us. But how much asking do we do?
C. Ask, search, and knock (11:9-13)
1. Ask – it will be given you – everyone who asks!
2. Search – you will find – everyone who searches!
3. Knock – the door will be opened – everyone who knocks!
4. Who among you gives to your child what your child asks?
5. We are evil & we know how to give good gifts to our children
6. God will give us the Holy Spirit if we ask God for the Holy Spirit!
7. We get what we talk with God about. Obviously, if we are not asking, searching, and knocking, then we will receive nothing from God. So, if we start asking, searching, and knocking, then we will get the Holy Spirit and all that we need from God.
Alma kept on asking God for Neal to place faith in Jesus. Alma kept on searching for a way to break through to Neal about following Jesus. Alma kept on knocking on the door and it was opened for Neal to follow Jesus.
Are you about ready to give up praying for what you or a loved one needs in life? Keep on pestering God. God gives to us. Are we willing to pester God?
Are you not sure what to pray? Then speak this pray that Jesus taught his disciples. God gives to us. Are we willing to pray?