The Simplicity of Prayer – The Fainting Disciple
1 Timothy 2:1
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
The preeminence of pray is in Jesus’ witness to the importance of praying. In Luke 18, Jesus gives one of the most riveting examples of perseverance in prayer leaving no question of His support of the preeminence of prayer to face a hostile world in which God’s people need to have patient endurance.
1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, 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. 4 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, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 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. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
This passage teaches us that we are disciples tasked with waiting for deliverance. We are not good at this.
The admonition to pray and not faint is significant. It is not unusual for the praying believer to faint, distrusting his faith in God. Fainting is a process for the believer; it is a gradual spiritual change with sudden manifestation. Faith can be stifled by self-pity over seemingly unanswered prayer, which will cause faith to diminish; thus the question, will He find faith on the earth.
Self-pity overcomes the stamina of our faith, and feelings of being slighted rage through us, as we watch the lack of struggle by the unbelieving. In fact, we feel extremely mistreated and even forsaken as we live a faith-life with seasons of lack of vindication for its performance. The frustration causes defection from the faith-life of purity and the believer embraces sinful behavior or faithlessness. Esau fainted because of physical exhaustion and sold his birthright to Jacob, an act of faithlessness.
29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
Fainting can produce desperate prayers with demands on God for flippant sinners to suffer. We resort to prayers of retribution against the sinner for our perceived suffering and their lack. The prayer life turns to bitterness, and personal holiness is lost.
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
The widow sought redress about her grievances and was relentless in her pursuit, but she did not become sinful or bitter. The believer is not to defect from faith in God or seek hateful retribution in bitter prayer.
We are to continue our prayer of faith as our hope to make things right. We must not become anxious. God’s answer must never become a prerequisite to enthusiastic, loving service.
2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
1 Hear my cry, O God; Attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, And a strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.