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The Lord’s Prayer and Persistence in Prayer, Luke 11:1-26

Jesus encourages us to pray in this way. First, acknowledge the God who created us, in whose kingdom we live. Then, pray boldly for the things we need - food and shelter. They pray boldly for others - for our relationships to be mended and for us to behave in a manner fitting of citizens of God's kingdom.

I have been watching The Exorcist on TV. One of the things I find fascinating is how long it takes to exorcise a demon. In some fantasy realms, an exorcism takes just one fancy Latin phrase, and the demon is toast. (Supernatural, for example.) But in this one, it takes days and weeks of continual prayer, and the prayer takes a lot out of the one praying. To me, it's a visual representation of the relentless, persistent prayer I think Jesus is talking about here.

Once, someone close to me received a scary medical diagnosis. Our first course of action was to take it to a beloved prayer circle we know. This is not your typical gossip-chain prayer circle. These are hard-core, power pray-ers. These women have a connection to God I can only envy. They pray for hours on end, and if you want a prayer done right, you take it to them. I don't know if they pray like that because they have the gift of intercessory prayer, or if their gift for intercessory prayer is strengthened because they pray like that. Maybe both. Either way, they pray boldly, and that scary diagnosis had better get out of the way or watch out!


He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.” And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? —for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”