Removing Your Mountains

Mark 11:20-25, ERV

The next morning Jesus was walking with his followers. They saw the fig tree that he spoke to the day before. The tree was dry and dead, even the roots. 21 Peter remembered the tree and said to Jesus, “Teacher, look! Yesterday, you told that fig tree to die. Now it is dry and dead!” 22 Jesus answered, “Have faith in God. 23 The truth is, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, mountain, fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, then God will do it for you. 24 So I tell you to ask for what you want in prayer. And if you believe that you have received those things, then they will be yours. 25 When you are praying and you remember that you are angry with another person about something, forgive that person. Forgive them so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.”

Quote

Every normal person wants to feel a sense of control over the circumstances in their life. No one wants to feel weak and defeated.

~Charles Allen

INTRODUCTION

In Charles Allen’s book ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH PRAYER, he begins chapter 11 with the above quote. When I read that quote, I took it very personal. No person wants to feel defeated but yet at times most of us do. Our own personal weaknesses and flaws plus circumstances that are far beyond our control render us powerless and sometimes lead to thoughts of despair and hopelessness. Dr. Allen had a friend who was a Psychologist and he made it a habit to study people as they sat in the worship service. He concluded that those who do not sing and are constantly observing others are judgmental, unhappy, skeptical and sometime cynical. They may be feeling defeated, hopeless or even despair. Jesus had a remedy….”Have faith in God. “The AV translates verse 23 like this…For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”  I like that phrase, “Be thou removed” and we will get to it in a moment but first…

Note:

  1. The OBJECT of our Faith….Have faith IN God. Jesus did not say, “Have faith in yourself….Have faith in mankind….Have faith in religion.” The object of our faith is critical: Jesus said have faith in God. An evangelist from the South went into Canada to do a revival and it was in the dead of winter. The pastor carried the evangelist visiting and their prospect was fishing in the middle of a frozen lake. The pastor parked the car, got out and started across the ice. “Wait just a minute,” said the evangelist, “How do you know that the ice will support your weight?” The pastor laughed and assured him that it would support the entire car if he had a mind to drive it on the ice. The evangelist was a doubting Thomas and he refused to follow. The pastor told him to get in the car and that he would return shortly. He went to the center of the lake, visited with his friend and returned to the car. The evangelist was ashamed and embarrassed…he said, “I wish that I had the faith to walk on that ice.” The pastor cheerfully replied: “It was not my faith that held me up, it was the ice. I don’t have great faith. I knew the ice would support me.” Jesus said “have faith in God.” He did not say “Have faith in your faith.” It is not our faith that sustains us; it is the object of our faith that sustains us.
  2. The OPPORTUNITY for faith…Whosoever. Anyone can put their faith in God. You do not have to be a Jew or of any particular race or origin. It is a wide open invitationwhosoever shall say unto this mountain. As the old gospel song says, “Whosoever surely meaneth me.” The great thing about this invitation is that it does not exclude anyone. No one can stop you from putting your faith in God. You have the same opportunity to believe as anyone else. This open invitation to faith is what makes the gospel the gospel.
  3. The OBSTACLES to faith…Mountains…Mountains are big and majestic. They symbolize things that are big, huge, overwhelming and unmovable. Obviously, God put the mountains where He wanted them so there is no real need for moving mountains literally. I think Jesus is talking about our huge, insurmountable problems. I think He is speaking of those things that simply overwhelm us. They are so big that they seem impossible to move or remove. Do you have any mountains in your life now? I do, I confess that I have some problems that are overwhelming: I look at them and say to my soul, “There is no way.” Unfortunately, I am like the evangelist in the story above. I am by nature a doubting Thomas. I am like the father in the N.T. who said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe but help my unbelief.” He was confessing, “I have some faith but it’s not perfect because I also have some doubt.” We really run into a problem when our doubt becomes greater than our faith. My faith is so fragile that I constantly feed my faith and make every attempt to starve my doubt. Zig Ziggler use to poll his audiences. He would ask them if they believed everything in the news paper then if they believed everything in the bible. No one believed the news paper was accurate and everyone in his audiences believed the bible. He would ask them how much time they spent reading the news paper and it was usually an hour or more. Then he would ask them how much time they spent reading the bible and it would be far less than the time they spent on the news paper. He would say, “Let me get this right, you spend more time reading something you do not believe than you do something you believe.” Don’t fed your doubts. Fed your faith and starve your doubts.
  4. The OBJECTIVE of our faith…shall not doubt. Our objective is to have perfect faith with no doubt. If we can remove doubt and pray in perfect faith, our prayers will move heaven and earth. Jesus made it clear that mountain moving faith has no doubt just as the pastor who went on to the frozen lake had no doubt. I have to confess here. Trust, I wish I could preach but I would be dishonest if I did, I struggle with having this doubt free faith. I know several lay people who have much more faith than I do. Three of our young men had a bad automobile accident about 3 years ago. One of them was severely injured and they transported him by med-flight to HH. Everyone I talked to gave me a bad report but his father said, “He is going to make it and not only is he going to make it, he will be out of this hospital in less than 30 days.” First of all, I didn’t think he would make and secondly, getting out of the hospital in less than 30 days was impossible. This father never prays out loud at church. He is not a big talker. He is a very quiet and gentle man but he was bold at the hospital. He told his wife, he told me, he told everyone, “Our son is going to be OK” and he was right on both counts. His son survived and was out of the hospital in less than 30 days. I have never seen anything like it.

CONCLUSION

Dr. Allen said there are three kinds of people when it comes to faith….

  1. Those who do not believe, period. I doubt that you fit this group. If you did, you would not be reading this sermon.
  2. Those who do not believe completely but they want to believe. These are they who struggle with faith. They believe in God and in Jesus His son but they realize that they faith is anemic and weak. They believe but they want to believe more. [Mark 9:24,
    And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.]
  3. Those who have incredible faith like the Roman Centurion who told Jesus not to bother coming to his home, “Just speak the word,” he told Jesus and “My servant will be healed.” In my personal opinion, I am stuck somewhere in number 2 and desperately want to get to number 3.
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Jesus’ Ten Principles of Evangelism

Text: Matthew 10

INTRODUCTION

A fire that is not spreading is going out. A church that is not evangelizing is dying. Through chapter 9 of Matthew, Jesus has been center stage and the disciples have been spectators. Jesus does the preaching, healing and they watch. It has been a wonderful experience and they have been awed by His teaching and His miracles. In Chapter 10 everything changes: Jesus puts His disciples on center stage and He steps over in the wing. He puts them to work doing the same things He has been doing. I am sure they were anxious and if you had takes a poll, I would bet that the majority would have preferred that Jesus remain on center stage, do the work and let them watch. We all enjoy watching Jesus work. However, Jesus was not satisfied to see His disciples enjoy watching Him work, He willed that they get involved in the work themselves. Could anyone do the work as well as Jesus? No! But by sending them out in two, Jesus covered 6 times the ground that He could cover by Himself.

Jesus did not send the out without instructions and that is what I wish to talk to you about today. In Matthew 10…Jesus taught at least 10 Principles of Evangelism and I wish to share those 10 principles today…

  1. We must be CALLED and COMMISSIONED by Jesus….[10:1] Jesus called his twelve disciples together and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness. This is not a general call, it is personal…Here are the names of the twelve apostles:first, Simon Peter, then Andrew, James (son of Zebedee), John (James’s brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus,Simon (the zealot), Judas Iscariot. I hesitate to say that you cannot do the work of evangelism unless you have a personal call because there have been charlatans who have lead people to Christ by using the scriptures but it would be extremely beneficial to have a relationship with Christ.
  2. We must GO to the lost Sheep. [10:5-6] Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Note the word Go. Jesus did not rent an auditorium and have a conference on Evangelism or worship, He sent His disciples out; He commissioned them to GO! You can’t spell gospel without spelling go; you can’t spell God without spelling go. In the Great Commission, Jesus said “Go ye therefore.” The liberals do not believe in going. They believe in letting your light shine and attracting. How many lost people have come to you lately and told you they were attracted by the light. How can a blind man see the light? The Reform crowd do not believe in going. They believe in bible study and worship. You stay doctrinally pure and the elect will come to you. One tiny problem, do you see that taught by Jesus in Matthew 10? When it comes to going, Baptist can make more excuses than Carter has liver pills. I ask an evangelist who was preaching a revival at our church to stop by and share his testimony with a lost man who I had witnessed to but couldn’t seem to make any headway. He went right by the man’s business every day of the revival but would not stop. On the last night, I ask him again if he stopped and this is what he said, “I didn’t feel anything in my spirit telling me to stop.” I said, “You don’t need anything in your spirit telling you to stop, Jesus has already given us a command to go; we don’t need more than His command.” While I’m on the subject, the deeper lifers are just as guilty as the Calvinist, their excuse is “I don’t have the gift of evangelism.” Go back and read Matthew 28:19-20, and see if Jesus said, “Go ye therefore, all that have the gift of evangelism, and make disciples.”
  3. We must stick to the MESSAGE. [10:7]… Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. We are couriers, messengers and our job is to share with them what Jesus tells us to share. He not only sent the disciples out, He told them what to say. He will give us the message if we are willing to go.
  4. We must be willing to MINISTER [10:8]…Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons.  We have to be willing to meet needs, to touch people at the point of their pain.  If we are too proud to stoop, we will make poor evangelist. If we try to evangelize without ministering, we look like hypocrites. If all we do is minister and never evangelize, we are failing to met the primary need and our reason for going.
  5. We must be GRACIOUS and GENEROUS [10:8]…Give as freely as you have received! God has generously given us all things. Our salvation was a gift of grace. We are never more like Christ than when we are giving. Christian ministry that turns a profit is ill motivated and those who do it will have to give an account. We must be willing to give of ourselves and our resources.
  6. We must DEPEND on the LORD completely. [10:9-10]…“Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. Dr. James Kennedy once said, there are two main reasons why Christians don’t evangelize [1] They live a compromising lifestyle that cripples them with guilt [2] They give in to their fears. I think Dr. Kennedy hit the nail on the head. People are fearful when it comes to totally relying on the LORD and that is what you do when you Go out to evangelize. Jesus said, When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Seldom do we know what we are going to say and seldom do we use what we have rehearsed, the Holy Spirit will help us. I have been amazed time and time again at how the Holy Spirit works when we go out in faith.
  7. We must work with the RESPONSIVE. [10:11-12 ]…“Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing. If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. Some 40 years ago I served a small church in rural Mississippi and I had now famous Evangelist help me in a revival. I worked him to death as we visited in the day time and he preached at night. About middle of the week, he said “Jack are trying to reach people who are not interested and you are wasting your time.” My first response was, he is out of line and there is nothing impossible with God. I always thought you went after the most notorious sinners in the community but he had me on age and experience and I listened to all that he had to say. He gave me instructions on what to do. I had been bowing my head and praying during the invitation. He told me not to bow but to look and when someone raised their hand, that is who we would go see the next day. This church ran 42 in Sunday School and we had 7 Professions of Faith that week.
  8. We must not worry about RESULTS [10:13-15] If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day. The first Revival that I preached was in Good Springs, Alabama. I think it was August of 1970 and the pastor and I were visiting in the community before the service. He carried me into the home of an elderly man who was bedfast. The old man was lonely and welcome company as long as you talked about what he wanted to talk about. Bill had chatted with him for a while and I was getting anxious so I asked if I might share some things from the scripture. I was shocked by his response, He said, “You may not. I do not believe anything in that book [pointing to my bible] and I do not want to hear it.” I said, “You don’t believe in heaven or hell?” He said, “You see that out there [pointing through his window at a graveyard next door], that is where I am going and that is as far as I am going.” He said some other things that we just a cold and hard. I dismissed myself. The Pastor was not ready to go but I left and waited in the car. I did not take my shoes off and slap them together, I didn’t think to do that but that basically what I was doing. We are not responsible for the results, our responsibility is to share the gospel in love.
  9. We must expect OPPOSITION. [10:16] …“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. Jesus did not promise that it would be easy. No one delights in being thrown to the wolves. First, we have to trust Him to take care of us because we are putting ourselves in a defenseless position, a sheep in a pack of wolves has no chance apart from intervention. Jesus said we must be shrewd like snakes and as harmless as doves. You can’t interchange these metaphors…snakes are not harmless and doves are not shrewd. A snake shrewdness is in its ability to avoid its enemies and capture its prey. Snakes are fast and slippery. They are hard to pin down or to catch. I have to confess that I lack this shrewdness. I miss a lot of opportunities to witness because I am not shrewd enough to approach the person that I want to witness to. On the other hand, we have to be gentle like a dove. I have no doubt that this is a weakness on my part.
  10. We must not give in to our FEARS. [10:26]…“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you.” [10:28]…“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” [10:29-31]…What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Count them: three times Jesus said “Don’t be afraid”. This is the only principle that He repeated three times. Why do you suppose Jesus repeated Himself on this particular subject. It might be that our greatest problem is fear.

CONCLUSION

I have confessed that I am a poor witness. I do lack the shrewdness of the snake and the gentleness of the dove but that does not excuse me. We are all as children of God commanded to witness to our faith. There are no excuses. I will listen to your confessions but not your excuses. I have none and neither do you.

Why Don’t We Pray?

TEXT

Matthew 7:7-11

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

INTRODUCTION

Hugh Price Hughes (9 February 1847 – 17 November 1902), a Welsh Christian theologian wrote this short story called The City of Everywhere  which leaves us with a thought-provoking question, “Why don’t we?”

This is a tale of a man who might have been me, for I dreamed one time of journeying to the City Of Everywhere.  I arrived early one morning.  It was cold; there were flurries of snow on the ground.  As I stepped from the train to the platform I noticed that the baggage man and the red cap [Porter] were warmly attired in heavy coats and gloves, but oddly enough, they wore no shoes.

My initial impulse was to ask the reason for this odd practice, but repressing it I passed into station and inquired the way to the hotel.  My curiosity, however, was immediately enhanced by the discovery that no one in the station wore any shoes.  Boarding the streetcar, I saw that my fellow travelers were likewise barefoot, and upon arriving at the hotel I found the bellhop, the clerk and the inhabitants of the place were all devoid of shoes.

Unable to restrain myself longer, I asked the ingratiating manager what the practice meant. “What practice?” said he. “Why,” I said, pointing to his bare feet, “Why don’t you wear any shoes in this town?” “Ah,” said he, “That is just it.  Why don’t we?”

“But what is the matter?  Don’t you believe in shoes?” “Believe in shoes, my friend!  I should say we do.  That is the first article of our creed — shoes.  They are indispensable to the well-being of humanity.  Such chilblains, cuts, sores, suffering, as shoes prevent!  It is wonderful!” “Well, then, why don’t you wear them?”  I asked, bewildered. “Ah, said he, “That is just it.  Why don’t we?”

Though considerably nonplussed, I checked in, secured my room and went directly to the coffee shop and deliberately sat down by an amiable-looking gentleman who likewise conformed to the conventions of his fellow citizens.  He wore no shoes.  Friendly enough, he suggested after we had eaten that we look about the city.  The first thing we noticed upon emerging from the hotel was a huge brick structure of impressive proportions.  To this he pointed with pride.  “You see that?” said he.  “That is one of our outstanding shoe manufacturing establishments.” “A what?”  I asked in amazement.  “You mean you make shoes there?” “Well, not exactly, said he a bit abashed, “we talk about making shoes there, and believe me, we have one of the most brilliant young fellows you ever heard.  He talks most thrillingly and convincingly every week on this great subject of shoes.  He has a most persuasive and appealing way.  Just yesterday he moved the people profoundly with his exposition on the necessity of shoe-wearing.  Many broke down and wept.  It was wonderful.”

“But why don’t they wear them?” said I, insistently. “Ah,” said he, putting his hand upon my arm and looking wistfully into my eyes, “that is just it.  Why don’t we?”

Just then, as we turned down a side street, I saw through a cellar window a cobbler actually making a pair of shoes.  Excusing myself from my friend, I burst into the little shop and asked the shoemaker how it happened that his shop was not overrun with customers.  Said he, “Nobody wants my shoes.  They just talk about them.” “Give me what pairs you have already,” said I eagerly, and paid him three times the amount he modestly asked.  Hurriedly, I returned to my friend and proffered them to him, saying, “Here my friend, some one of these pairs will surely fit you.  Take them, put them on.  They will save you untold suffering.” But he looked embarrassed; in fact, he was well-nigh overcome with chagrin.  “Ah, thank you,” he said politely, “but you don’t understand.  It just isn’t being done.” “But why don’t you wear them?” said I, dumbfounded. “Ah,” said he, smiling, with his accustomed ingratiating touch of practical wisdom.  “That is just it.  Why don’t we?”

And coming out of the “City of Everywhere” into “Here,” over and over and over that query rang in my ears:  “Why don’t we?  Why don’t we?  Why don’t we?”

A most fascinating story that brings us to our subject, WHY DON’T WE PRAY? In tonight’s message, I propose to answer this question. Not perfectly or completely, as I am not capable but to give you some things to ponder.

  1. WHY DON’T WE PRAY?…because we have a spirit of disobedience. This may not be the number one reason that we do not pray but if not it is very close to the top. We are not committed to obeying Christ. Jesus commanded us to ask. Matthew 7:7 is an imperative…Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Looking at each of the verbs here we see that ask, seek, and knock are each in the present active imperative. We will talk more about the verb tense as we go but for now, I want you to note that this is a command issued in the imperative voice.The point I wish to make here is that Jesus is giving a command in the imperative voice. He is not saying, “I wish you guys would consider asking Me for things.” He is not making a suggestion: He is issuing a command. Jesus said in John 14, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
  2. WHY DON’T WE PRAY?…because we do not believe it is effective. We lack faith to put prayer to the test. Jesus said in Mark 11, And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” I know that we must discuss time because many of us get so busy that we do not take time to pray but a greater problem lies in our faith, we believe that prayer is a waste of time or else we would make time. This leads me to the next point…
  3. WHY DON’T WE PRAY?…Because we do not understand that prayer is a spiritual law. Jesus gave us a command to pray and a promise if we do pray: thus Jesus make prayer a law and the law of prayer is to ASK. Do you believe in the law of gravity? I know you do and so do I. The law of prayer is as real as the law of gravity. The law of gravity says that any weight of matter released with proceed earthward, or down. If I jump from the Empire State Building I will go down. Ninety-nine people could follow me and 100% would go down: no one would go up. Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive”. Do you see the law? Jump and you go down–ask and you receive. The law of prayer is just as real and viable as the law of gravity. I made some plans for this past Labor Day. I got up, did my devotions, took my shower, dressed and was about to go out the door. My wife said, “Where are you going?” I said, “Lowes.” “Well” she snorted, “I guess I will get dressed and go see what I can move.” Our daughter was moving but she had not ask me to help. We had lunch together on Sunday and she did not say a word. All she had to do was say, “Daddy, we are moving tomorrow and we need your help.” She has a lot of pride and she will not ask so I was going to work in the yard. I scoffed at the idea of my wife moving anything and started for the door but before I could get to the truck, she chased me down and handed me the house phone, “somebody wants to talk to you,” she said. I took the phone and it was Lexi our granddaughter, she said in a sweet kind voice, “Granddaddy, we really need your help.” I said, “I will be there as soon as I get the trailer hooked up.” This call came at a little after 9:00 am and I got done that LABOR DAY night at 10:00 pm. I don’t want you to think that I am comparing myself to the Heavenly Father but the principle is the same, “You ask and you receive…You don’t ask and you don’t receive.” The problem is–we don’t understand that prayer is a law. There are no wasted prayers; not if they are prayed in Jesus name. In Lloyd Douglas’ novel, The Big Fisherman, a Roman officer prays for Peter’s life. Peter is about to be executed and the sentence is being carried out in spite of the Officer’s prayer. The Officer apologetically says to Peter, “I prayed for you but it has done no good.” Peter replies, “Sure it has for I am not afraid.” Whenever we ask in Jesus name, there is going to be receiving of some sort, it is a law.
  4. WHY DON’T WE PRAY?…Because we are too easily satisfied. We ask not because we want not. Does your soul hunger and thirst for righteousness? Do your spirit long for and languish for lack of revival. Are you burdened for lost souls? Are there goals in life that you yearn to accomplish? Most Baptist I know would answer all these questions with a NO! They are satisfied to draw a breath and a pay check or retirement check. Most folks are like the Israelites in the wilderness, they stopped living when they stopped believing. More or less, they are just waiting to die. Don’t stop living before you stop breathing. If you are not asking God for anything it is because you don’t have any God sized goals. What are some things you want that only God can give? Ask Him for those things!
  5. WHY DON’T WE PRAY?…Because we are afraid that God will require us to do something in relationship to our request. Like the man who prayed for gold and the Lord said, “OK, start digging.” We will not pray for the lost because we fear God may want us to go witness to them. We don’t pray for Missions because we fear that God might expect us to go or give. Understand, I am talking about real prayer. I’m not talking about passive ritual where pray is a part of an act. I am not talking about hypocritical praying; where we seek to be heard by men: that kind of praying does not get past the ceiling. I have no confidence in the halo-wearing, conference-going, super-spiritual crowd. When you ask them to do something, they always come back with “I will pray about it.” Let me tell you what that means, “They are not going to do what you ask.” Prayer is their spiritual cop-out.
  6. WHY DON’T WE PRAY?…Because prayer is hard work. Prayer is not easy; if it were, more folks would do it. Prayer is a spiritual challenge and it takes great persistence. As we mentioned above, as you look at the verbs askseek, and knock: they are each in the present active imperative.  Understand that the present active implies forming a habit of continual asking, seeking and knocking–In other words: ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. One day Jesus told His disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” [Luke 18:1-5] Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy. She was born into a very wealthy English aristocratic family. The family was living in Italy for business reasons and moved back to England soon after Florence was born. She lived in a mansion and had everything that money could buy. In spite of her mother’s opposition, she took a great interest in helping others and was especially interested in medicine. To pacify her mother, she remained at home until age 30. She reached a point where despite the family’s opposition to someone of their class stooping to help others, she volunteered as a nurse in the Crimean War. During the war she earned the nick name as the Lady with the Lamp. She made rounds during the night. You know the rest of the story. The woman is not the patron saint of nursing. She is honored at every graduation of student nurses. She did not try once and give up. She refused to give up. In spite of the constant discouragement that came from her family, she pursued her dream and became the  most famous of all the Nightingales. Prayer is not something you try once. We ask and keep on asking. Our success is determined by our persistence.

CONCLUSION

In verse 7, the verbs ask, seek and knock have a point of progression. Each succeeding verb demands more energy. Here is a little formula that may help you understand more clearly.

[Ask=Faith] + [Seeking=Effort] + [Knocking = Persistence]

or simply Faith plus effort and persistence equals success