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Persistent Prayer

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1 (NIV)


If there have been times in your life when you’ve felt like God isn’t listening to your prayers, when you’ve been disheartened and stopped praying. Hopefully, you will find encouragement in The Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8). 


In the parable, Jesus tells the story of a widow who keeps asking a judge for justice against her adversary. The judge, who does not fear God or respect people, eventually grants her request because of her persistence. 


To fully understand the parable, we will examine the two main characters, the judge and the widow, and how we approach prayer. First, we will look at the protagonist, the persistent widow, and how we are to pray.


  • Like the widow, we are helpless and have nowhere else to turn. The widow had no one to defend or support her in her quest for justice. She was vulnerable and oppressed by her adversary. Similarly, we are powerless and needy in a hostile world. We have many enemies who oppose us and seek to harm us. We cannot rely on our strengths or resources to overcome them; instead, we should rely on God’s help.

  • Like the widow, we have a mediator who advocates for us. The widow had no one to speak on her behalf except herself. She had to keep pleading with the judge to have her justice granted. But we have someone who intercedes for us with God: the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our high priest who died for our sins and rose again. He is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us. 

  • Like the widow, we are commanded to pray and not give up. The widow was persistent and determined in her pursuit of justice. She did not let the judge’s indifference or delay discourage her. She kept bothering him until he gave in. Jesus uses her example to show us that we should always pray and not lose heart. He wants us to trust God’s justice and mercy and cry out to him day and night. 


Next, we turn to the uncaring judge who contrasts significantly with our loving and caring God.


  • The judge is unjust, while God is just. The judge does not fear God or respect people, and he does not care about the widow’s rights or dignity. On the other hand, God is righteous and impartial, caring for the oppressed and marginalized.

  • The judge is reluctant, while God is willing. The judge only grants justice to the widow because of her persistence and annoyance, not because of his compassion or duty. He acts out of self-interest, not out of love. God, however, is eager to answer the prayers of his people, who cry out to him day and night, purely from his compassion and grace.

  • The judge is slow, while God is speedy. The judge delays his verdict for a while, making the widow suffer and wait. He does not value her time or urgency. God, however, promises to avenge his elect speedily, without delay.


Father God, you are the righteous Judge of all the earth and care for your people who persistently cry out to you. Help me always pray and not lose heart, even when facing difficulties, delays, and opposition. Help me trust in your perfect timing and faithful promises and seek your justice and mercy in every situation. Forgive me for when I have been proud, self-righteous, or impatient in my prayers, and grant me a humble and contrite spirit. Thank you for hearing my prayers and answering them according to your will. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Blessings,

Pastor Tim



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