Lessons from a Persistent Widow

Luke 18:1-9 is the story of the tenacious widow who, against all odds, refuses to give up her cause. Even though the corrupt judge rebuffs her over and over again, she keeps persisting until she finally wears him down. What a lesson for us in persistency and dedication in our prayers! But remember that Jesus is not at all trying to compare our heavenly Father with this dishonest judge – rather, he reveals God’s character by a point of contrast. Jesus is basically saying: “Do you see how this dishonest judge finally gives in? Now, just imagine how infinitely more your loving Father will be willing to answer your cries to Him!”

I don’t know about you, but the real kicker of this parable for me comes in verses 7-8:“And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him…? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” That’s a tough one in my mind – especially when it doesn’t seem like God is answering my prayers very “speedily” at all. But here’s the interesting thing: Jesus doesn’t seem anywhere near as concerned here with God’s timing in answering our prayers as with our faithfulness in continuing to ask. For Jesus the real question is: “But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (v. 8). As one insightful commentary puts it: “This parable teaches that the only legitimate reason to stop praying for something is the return of Christ” (bible.org). In other words, crazy as it is, it seems that Jesus fully expects us to keep praying for answers and interceding for others all the way up until His coming!  Christ’s Object Lessons challenges us this way: “There is no danger that the Lord will neglect the prayers of His people. The danger is that in temptation and trial they will become discouraged, and fail to persevere in prayer.” I’m not going to pretend this isn’t tough for us. Why would Jesus put such high demands on His people? Perhaps one reason is because prayer is the key to a relationship. If we think of prayers as our soul’s lifeline, as our connection with our heavenly Father, then the purpose of continued prayer takes on an entirely different meaning, doesn’t it?

In closing, I hope you will be blessed by these beautiful thoughts on prayer:

Not one sincere prayer is lost. Amid the anthems of the celestial choir, God hears the cries of the weakest human being. We pour out our heart’s desire in our closets, we breathe a prayer as we walk by the way, and our words reach the throne of the Monarch of the universe. They may be inaudible to any human ear, but they cannot die away into silence, nor can they be lost through the activities of business that are going on. Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the confusion of the multitude, to the heavenly courts. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard. (Christ’s Object Lessons)

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