“And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief.” (Mark 6:4-5)
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Jesus had started his public ministry and had already gained quite a bit of notoriety. I wonder what emotions he was feeling when he had an opportunity to visit his home town? These were the people that he had grown up around. There would have been relatives, family members, friends, and acquaintances in attendance as he taught in the synagogue.
“And he could do no mighty work there.” If you have ever wondered how important faith is for the Christian, consider this story. The Son of God was limited in what he could do, “because of their unbelief.”
“But I thought God could do anything.” God is All-Powerful and All-Mighty and yet, the human element of faith comes into play more than we would like to acknowledge. It is so much easier to pray for something once or twice and then blame God by saying, “I guess it just wasn’t his will.”
Luke’s Gospel presents more of Jesus’ teaching on prayer than Matthew, Mark, or John. Two of the parables Jesus gives in Luke about prayer deal with the importance of persistence in prayer.
“And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” (Luke 11: 5-8)
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.'” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
Notice in the second parable above how Jesus ties in faith with persistence. In other words, faith seems to thrive in an environment of not giving up. Our faith does not have to be perfect but it does have to be active and persistent.
God seems to love prayers that are tenacious, faith-filled, and persistent. Let’s do what Jesus taught us: always pray and not lose heart!
Annie and I are serving the Lord in the US, South America, and India. We would love to have you on our team! Just click here to get involved. Thanks so much!