THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE
Lord, thank You for the privilege of praying to You.
Read LUKE 18:1–8
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: it is this that in all things distinguish the strong soul from the weak.” (Thomas Carlyle, 1795–1881)
Luke begins this parable by telling us the lesson – to show the disciples “that they should always pray and not give up” (1). It is easy to lose heart in our prayers and to give in to disappointment, or even worse, disillusionment. Perhaps we secretly fear that God is powerless to answer. Or, worse still, perhaps he simply doesn’t really care. Unanswered prayer over time leads us to confront such difficult questions.
Widows and orphans were some of the most vulnerable people in first-century culture, for they had no family to uphold their cause. As in other parables, Jesus contrasts the faithful character of God with a sinful human, in this case a disinterested judge. The point is simple – if a grumpy judge will eventually yield to a persistent widow, how much more will a good and loving God bring justice to the oppressed as they persevere over time? We can trust that he hears us, that he cares, and that he is powerful enough to come through – though not always in the way we might expect.
Persistent prayer doesn’t necessarily mean mindless repetition or endless prayer sessions. It means keeping an expectant heart of faith open to God continually, as we live in him day by day, trusting that he will answer. It may seem that God is delaying, but his timing always has a purpose – often our growth and character refinement. God knows what he is doing. Nothing beats learning how to wait in faith for the proper development of patience and godly character within us.
“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (8). This means faith that perseveres. Have you given in to disappointment, in a way that has caused you to close your heart to God or to stop asking with expectation? Repent today, and ask God to renew your ability to persist in faith.
Lord, teach us that Your timetable is not ours and that Your ways far exceed ours. Teach us the deeper things of prayer.