Don’t Lose Heart When You Pray

Title: Don't Lose Heart When You Pray

Bible Book: Luke 18 : 1-8

Author: Sammy Burgess

Subject: Prayer; Faith, Praying with



I want to begin our study with a very important statement. This statement will be heard throughout this sermon.

“You May Be Just One Prayer Away From Getting What You NEED From The Lord.”

Every person in this building (whether saved or lost) can verify the fact that prayer is very important in a person’s life.

You may be wondering why I made that statement.I want you to think back to the time (or times) in your life when some sudden tragedy occurred. Something caught you off guard. Some incident took you by surprise and it turned your world upside down. *What was one of the first things (if not the first thing) that popped into your mind and heart to do? More than likely, you thought about the fact that you needed to pray.

You can live without a lot of things. But if you are a Christian - you cannot live your life the way Christ wants you to live unless you have a real genuine prayer life. If your prayer life is not what it should be, your Christian life is suffering (or it will eventually suffer).

Look at {18:1}- “And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men OUGHT ALWAYS to pray, and NOT TO FAINT.”This parable deals with how important prayer really is.


“men are always to pray.” Prayer is not an option. It is a command from God.

One man said: “There are lots of things we {as Christians} ought to do, and here is one: Men ought always to pray and not faint.”

The word “ought” tells us that we have a responsibility to pray. This word “ought” carries with it the idea of our prayer life “being necessary” … “there is a need of prayer” … “Prayer is right and proper.” Prayer is to be paramount; it is to be a priority in our life. We also see...


Notice the phrase “always to pray and not to faint.” This speaks of the dedication we need in our praying.

The word “always” refers to having a habit of praying. A “habit” is something that you repeat and do in your life over and over and over again. It is something that becomes a part of you. This means that you must have a regular time and season of prayer.

This word “always” includes the fact that…

We should pray in the good times - and also in the bad times.

We should pray when trouble comes - and we should pray before trouble comes.

We should pray when we live in prosperity - and we should pray when we are in pain.This word “always” means that we are to be in such a mind set of prayer that we are to be in the mood to pray, no matter what is going on in your life.

Now look at the words “not to faint”. These words give us the idea that “we should not grow weary in our prayer life.” The word “faint” gives the idea “to give into evil”… “to turn coward” … “to lose heart.”

Basically what we are told here is “Don’t grow weary in your praying. Don’t give into evil and quit praying. Don’t be a coward when it comes to praying. DON’T LOSE HEART WHEN YOU PRAY!”

Have your recognized the fact that “fainting” is an ever present problem in a person’s prayer life. Why would a person ‘feel faint’ in their prayer life?

(a) Defilement Causes A Person To Faint In Their Prayer Life!

Sin defiles, and sin (big or small) will destroy your interest in spiritual matters.

Since Prayer is a spiritual matter, sin can cause much ‘fainting’ in your prayer life. SIN DOES NOT PROMOTE A GOOD PRAYER LIFE. SIN DESTROYS A GOOD PRAYER LIFE!

You can be assured of something in your Christian life: PRAYER CAN KEEP YOU FROM SINNING (when you pray, you will find yourself sinning less and less) - BUT SIN KEEPS YOU FROM PRAYING!

(b) Doubt Causes A Person To Faint In Their Prayer Life!

When you have doubt in your heart, begin to doubt the Word Of God; and then you begin to doubt the Power of God, and this effects your prayer life.

Think about something: Faith and Prayer go hand in hand. Unbelief and Prayerlessness go hand in hand!

How you pray will tell you a great deal about your faith in God and His Word.

Not only does {Defilement} and {Doubt} cause a person to faint; (3)- Delay Causes A Person To Faint In Their Prayer Life! Many Christians quickly “lose heart” in their praying when God delays in answering their prayer. I am afraid that many Christians are reaching the point in their life to where they are about to give up too soon on what they are praying for.

I want you to think about the statement that I made at the very beginning of our study.

“You May Be Just One Prayer Away From Getting What You NEED From The Lord.”

Jesus gives us a “parable” about a widow woman to help us and encourage us [not] to give up when we pray. Every one of us needs all the encouragement we can get; especially when it comes to our prayer life.

The Lord wants us to be persistent in our praying. We should persevere in our prayer life. I want you to think for a few moments about the thought; “Don’t Ever Give Up, Just Pray.” (Lets learn some practical lessons from this story that Jesus told…)

I. The Burden That Was Felt


Jesus gives us a story about a woman who goes before a judge to get something that she needs. As you read these verses, you feel the burden that she is carrying. You feel her grief; you sense her helplessness. (Her burden is well defined in {vs. 2-5}.)

A. How Devastated She Was

Notice {18:2,3}- “There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: {3}- And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.”

We are told what was so devastating to her. She said; “avenge me of mine adversary.” We are not given much detail about what she really needed. We have the idea that all she desired to have was some injustice corrected.

The word “avenge” does not mean that she wanted her adversary punished. All that this woman wanted for herself was justice. Her main goal was to have the judge deliver her from the oppression that her adversary was bringing upon her. (This was her ‘need’)

The judge that this woman approaches is not a type and picture of the Lord Jesus. This judge in the story was a man who had (no respect) for spiritual things. He was anti-God; he had no fear of God; and he didn’t care for the things of God.

This judge had (no regards) for natural things. This judge had no morals; he didn’t have any manners. He had no concern or compassion for the people around him. He was a very selfish and devious man.

In Bible days, there were good judges and bad judges. The judges who were wicked were the ones that would do almost anything if enough money was given to them. The people around them didn’t matter much to them; but possessions and popularity mattered to them.

Now this woman was deeply hurting. This woman had a constant aching in her heart. The words “she came unto him” tell us that she continuously approached this judge, wanting his help.

The burden that she felt was not something that she could take a sleeping pill, go to sleep, wake up the next morning, and feel better. She constantly came before the judge because she was constantly burdened.

I can see her now as she gets up in the morning and begins fixing her breakfast. She sits down and begins to eat; but she is so torn and troubled about her situation, that while she is eating, she stops right in the middle of her breakfast and goes to the judge.

I can see her as she is in her yard keeping things around her house neat and clean. She is so bothered and burdened by her situation that she leaves her house and goes back before the judge.

Everywhere this woman went, the burden that she carried was great. Every morning when she got up, she more than likely felt tired because she couldn’t sleep because of her burdened heart. *Every meal that she ate didn’t taste good because of the inward agony that constantly bothered her.

Every night before she laid her head down on her pillow she may have thought that this would be the night that she would finally go right off to sleep without tossing and turning because of the pain that was embedded in her heart.

You may be thinking that I am adding too much to this story because we are not told all of these things. *But may I remind you that Jesus was giving a “parable” to teach us a wonderful truth about prayer.

Look at {18:7}- “And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry DAY AND NIGHT unto Him…”

The words “day and night” speak of something that constantly troubles the Child of God. *(I think of how the Psalmist expressed himself as he was burdened…)

Psalms 34:19- “Many are the afflictions of the righteous”

Psalms 25:17- “The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring Thou me out of my distresses.”

Psalms 30:5- “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Psalms 77:2- “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: My sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.”

Some of you can testify to the fact that you have had [sleepless nights] and [restless days] because of some situation that you have faced (or are facing) in your life.

(1) There are some problems that we face that are of our own making. (2) There are certain situations that we face that cannot be avoided. (3)- There are some situations that we face that come suddenly, and yet they are not solved suddenly.

It really makes no difference what situation you are in. It makes no difference how you got to where you are. All you know is that it is a struggle for you to live a normal life.

B. How Discouraged She Was

This woman does the only thing that she knows to do. She goes before the only one that she knows that can help her. She goes before the judge. (But something interesting happens to her…)

Notice {18:3,4a}- “She came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.” Notice carefully {4}- “And he would not for a while…” {Stop right here for just a moment.}

She goes before the judge expecting an immediate response. She expects him to help her. She knows that he is in authority to help her. But how discouraged she became when we are told “and he would not.”

Can you imagine how she felt? She needs his help; she does what she is supposed to do. And yet he treats her as if he doesn’t care. (Keep in mind that this judge in the story doesn’t care because he is wicked.)

I don’t believe that I am too far off when I say that there have been times that we have made our request known to God; we go before Him and expect an answer; we expect a response. But as we pray, it almost seems as if He isn’t listening; it sometimes seems as if He doesn’t even care.

Look carefully at {18:7}- “And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, THOUGH HE BEAR LONG WITH THEM?”

I want to make something clear before we continue in our study. Our Lord does care about you. He loves you and He sees your need. In fact, Jesus calls the Child of God “His Own Elect.” This is a term of affection; denoting His great and peculiar love He has for His children. You belong to Jesus.

The question may be thinking to yourself; “Why would God not answer the prayers of His children right away? Why would God not answer my prayer? Why would He delay His answers? Why would He make me wait?”Let me make something clear. God may not answer your prayers right away, but if you are right with God - He does hear your prayers right away.

Notice in {7} the word “CRY”. It indicates “an earnest and loud cry for help.” In this story, this unjust judge may not have cared for this woman and he may not have been touched with the burden she was troubled with - but God is touched by what is troubling you. He hears when you pray.

God expressed His great compassion for the Israelites (His own people) when He told Moses that He had {Exodus 3:7}- “heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows.”

We may not know why God delays His answers, but we do know that He hears and listens when we pray.

Keep in mind that God’s delays are not denials. When God delays, don’t become discouraged. God is not indifferent toward your circumstances. He has a real interest in your life.

Some of you feel discouraged because God hasn’t given you an immediate response. *You may feel like He is distant from you. *You may feel that He has deserted you. Don’t stop praying! Just keep on praying! God may not answer your prayer right away - But God will answer your prayer in the right way!

You need to remember that this parable was given to help us learn to pray and be persistent in our praying. (Do you remember what I said at the beginning of our study?)

“You May Be Just One Prayer Away From Getting What You NEED From The Lord.”

Just because you are at the point in your life where God is saying to you; “though He bear long with them” doesn’t give you a good reason to stop praying.

Let me give you something to think about. When God delays in answering your prayers, do 3 things.

(1)- Respond To The Perception Of God!

Begin to ask the Lord if there are any unconfessed sins in your life! If He begins to reveal them to you, confess them, get forgiveness from the Lord; and ask Him to give you victory over them.

(2)- Rest In The Promises Of God!

When God delays His answer to your request, exercise your faith; build your faith, by trusting in the Promises of God. Just Take God At His Word!

(3)- Rely On The Providence Of God!

Since God has allowed you to be where you are, then understand that you are not there by accident; and also keep in mind that God is interested in working things out for your good and for His Glory.

This woman was given a temporary delay by this judge, but she didn’t give up. She wanted something from this judge, and she wasn’t about to stop until she got what she needed.1. THE BURDEN THAT SHE FELT!

II. The Behavior That Was Formed


When this woman went to the judge time and time again, and he kept denying her the very thing she needed, her behavior changed. But her behavior didn’t change for the bad, it changed for the good.

Now, I want you to listen carefully. This woman had a “need” in her life that had to be met. She couldn’t go on living the way she was living. So she made up her mind that she was going to get what she ‘needed’.

A. She Was Persistent In Her Asking

18:4,5- “And he would not FOR A WHILE: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; {5}- Yet because this widow TROUBLETH ME.”

This word “troubleth” means “to be greatly annoyed” … “a continual disturbance.” This woman was interrupting this judge’s routine. Every where he turned around, he saw this woman. She was somewhere close by. She constantly and continually interrupted his life.

She would get up in the morning with a troubled heart. So she would go down to the courthouse; knock on his door and plead her case. He would deny her request, so she would show up in the courtroom. He would deny her request again. The next morning, she would be at his door again. When he denied her request, she would go back to the courtroom. She did this every single day until she got what she ‘needed’.

B. She Was Persuasive In Her Action

Look carefully at {18:5}- “I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she WEARY me.”

This word weary means “to beat black and blue.” It means “to smite so as to cause bruises and livid spots.” It means “to give someone a black eye.” You can give someone a ‘black eye’ by hitting them; or you can give someone a ‘black eye’ by keeping them up all night.

You see, She was Annoying him and She was Assaulting him. Her behavior was formed when she made up her mind that she was going to get what she needed from that judge.

I am convinced that she went to his house, asking him to help her. She would not leave him alone.

Listen carefully. This is not a story about a woman who lacked faith. This is a story of a woman who had great faith. She needed something, and she went to every length to get what she needed. She was Persistent, and she was Persuasive.

You may be thinking; “I just don’t believe in asking God twice about something. I just believe that after I ask Him the first time, He ought to give it to me.” I believe that you are partially right. I do believe that when you ask God one time for something, He can and will, right then, give it to us.

Jesus prayed more than once in the Garden {Matt.26:39,42,44}

But there are things that we need and God knows that we need them. In fact, God knows that we are in desperate need of those things. But He delays His answer to see just how bad we really want them. He wants us to be persistent. He wants us to be persuasive.

You see, whether you realize it or not, the longer you have to wait for your answer, you find yourself becoming more dependent upon the Lord and the Promises that He has given you.

When you ask God for something, you are not filling Him in on something He does not know. When you are in desperate need of something, and you plead with Him, and you are persistent in your pleading; and you are very persuasive in your pleading - you find yourself more and more depending and trusting and leaning on God like you have never done before.

You may be thinking; “Preacher; If I continue to go back to Him time and time again, I feel like that I am bothering Him.”

Turn with me to {Isaiah 62:6,7}. This verse will help you understand that you will never bother the Lord when you pray. “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: YE THAT MAKE MENTION OF THE LORD, KEEP NOT SILENCE, {7}- AND GIVE HIM NO REST, TILL HE ESTABLISH, AND TILL HE MAKE JERUSALEM A PRAISE IN THE EARTH.”

Notice the words “GIVE HIM NO REST.” This is strong language. This means that God wants us to understand that we are to beseech Him continually with our pleas.

George Mueller; a great prayer warrior, once said:

“The great fault of the children of God is, they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying; they do not persevere.”

Do you need something from the Lord? What do you need? How bad do you want it?

(1)- There are some of you that are in desperate need for God to do something for your Sunday School Class.

(2)- There are some of you that are in desperate need for God to do something in your Christian life.

(3)- There are some of you that are in desperate need for God to do something in your family.

(4)- There are some of you that are in desperate need for God to do something for your health.

(5)- There are some of you that are in desperate need for God to do something for you at your job.

(6)- There are some of you that are in desperate need for God to help you make a decision in your life.

I don’t know what you are praying for. In fact, I don’t know how long you have been praying about your situation. That is not for me to know. My question to you is this: HOW LONG ARE YOU WILLING TO PRAY FOR IT? The question needs to be asked; HOW DESPERATE ARE YOU FOR THAT ANSWER FROM GOD? (I can’t tell you how long it is going to take before you get the answer you need - but keep something in mind before you quit praying…)

“You May Be Just One Prayer Away From Getting What You NEED From The Lord.”

Our text says {18:1}- “And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men OUGHT ALWAYS TO PRAY, and NOT TO FAINT.”

III. The Blessing That Was Found


This story should encourage every Christian to pray and not to lose heart. There are blessings that are found when we pray.

A. The Answer That Was Received

Notice {18:5}- “I WILL AVENGE HER.” This woman received the very she had been asking for. Her persistence; her persuasiveness paid off. She got what she needed.

We are not told how she responded when she got from the judge what she needed. I wonder if she thought to herself; “I am so glad that I didn’t give up asking him. It was worth every effort I made to get what I needed.”

B. The Assurance That Is Revealed

Look carefully at {18:7,8}- “And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? {8}- I tell you THAT HE WILL AVENGE THEM SPEEDILY.”

I am glad for the “He Will’s” and the “I Will’s” of the Bible. These are Promises from God. These are Assurances From God.

In other words, when the Lord says; “I WILL” - IT’S A DONE DEAL! Notice that Jesus makes a profound statement by asking a question in {18:8}- “when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

The key to understanding what’s being asked is in the word “faith.” Literally, in the original text, you would read it as “the faith.” - “The faith”, being referred to is “the faith” that has already been discussed.

You see - prayer is faith. It takes ‘faith’ for us to talk to a God we’ve never seen, and trust Him for an answer we know not about. Simply put, prayer is not faith professed, but faith expressed!

The question is, “when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find the faith, of men involved in the blessed privilege of expressing themselves, without halt, or hindrance, to the Father.”

Ray Stedman put it this way: “Prayer is the true expression of faith, and to fail in this is inevitably to stop talking with God, and to start talking about God!”


I would like to ask you a question: If Jesus were to come today, would He find you expressing this faith. Would He find you praying?

While crossing the Atlantic, on an oceanliner, F.B. Meyer was asked to address the passengers on the subject of answered prayer. An agnostic, who was present at the service was asked, “What did you think of Dr. Meyer’s sermon?” To which he replied, “I didn’t believe a word of it.”

Later that afternoon, the agnostic was on his way to another service, just to hear, as he put it, what the “babbler had to say.” He put two oranges in his pocket, and as he walked toward the meeting place, he passed an elderly woman, who was sitting in her chair, fast asleep. In the spirit of fun, the man slipped those two oranges into her outstretched palms.

After the meeting, he saw the old lady happily eating one of those oranges. He remarked, “You seem to be enjoying those oranges ma’am!” To which she replied, “Yes sir, my Father is very good to me!” He said, “Your Father? Surely you father can’t still be alive!” She exclaimed, “Praise God, He’s very much alive!”

She then went on to explain it to the agnostic, and said, “You see, I’ve been sea sick for days. I was asking God to somehow send me an orange to help ease my sickness. I suppose I fell asleep while I was praying. However, when I woke up, I found that He had not only sent me one orange, but two!” To this response, the agnostic was speechless.

Later on that same cruise, he was converted to Christ, and was made a believer that God answers prayer!

This Parable encourages us to pray. We are to be persistent in our praying. We must be persuasive in our praying. There are some of you in this building right now… “You May Be Just One Prayer Away From Getting What You Need From The Lord.” I know that I have repeated this time and time again, but I truly believe that some of you don’t need to quit praying, you need to continue to pray and receive what you “need” from God. Now,

(1) God may not answer in the exact moment that you think He should. God is not concerned about time - GOD IS CONCERNED ABOUT TIMING!

(2) God may not answer in the way you think He should. But may I say that when you pray, God first changes you, and then God changes the things around you. You should never be the same after you pray.

God is not out to accomplish your will - He is going to accomplish His Will! You should just pray and leave the results to God. Our Lord Knows What Is Right And He Will Do What Is Right!

Don’t Lose Heart When You Pray!

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