And he spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;…
I. OUR DUTY. That which is here inculcated implies that we pray —
2. Occasionally. There are many particular occasions which require us to pray.
(1) Prosperity, that God may counteract its evil tendency (Proverbs 30:9).
(2) Adversity, that we may be supported under it (James 5:13).
(3) Times of public distress or danger, to avert the calamity (2 Chronicles 7:14).
3. Habitually. We should maintain a spiritual frame of mind. To pray thus is our duty; "We ought," etc.
(1) It is a duty we owe to God. He, our Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, has commanded it.
(2) We owe it also to our neighbour. The edification of Christ's mystical body depends, not only on the union of every part with the head, but on the whole being fitly framed together, and on every joint supplying its proper nourishment (Ephesians 4:16: Colossians 2:19). But if we be remiss in prayer, we shall be incapable of administering that benefit, which other members have a right to expect from us.
(3) We owe it to ourselves. A "spirit of supplication" is as necessary to the soul, as food to the body. Nor can we feel any regard for our souls, if we do not cultivate it.
II. THE DIFFICULTIES THAT ATTEND IT. When we set ourselves to the performance of it, we shall find difficulties —
1. Before we begin to pray. Worldly business may indispose our minds for this employment. Family cares may distract and dissipate our thoughts. Lassitude of body may unfit us for the necessary exertions. We may be disabled by an invincible hardness of heart. A want of utterance may also operate as a heavy discouragement.
2. While we are engaged in prayer. The world is never more troublesome than at such seasons. The flesh also, with its vilest imaginations. will solicit our attention. Nor will Satan be backward to interrupt our devotions.
3. After we have concluded prayer. When we have prayed, we should expect an answer. But worldliness may again induce a forgetfulness of God. Impatience to receive the desired blessings may deject us. Ignorance of the method in which God answers prayer may cause us to disquiet ourselves with many ungrounded apprehensions. Unbelief may rob us of the benefits we might have received (James 1:6, 7). Whatever obstructs God's answers to prayer, disqualifies us for the future discharge of that duty.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;