Have you reached a breaking point? Are you ready to give up? Do you pray and feel that God is not listening? This Corona Chaos is a perfect time to grow our prayer life. To get us thinking about Sunday’s message let’s have an early look at our topic of prayer.
This parable, unique to Luke, illustrates the importance of prayer for Christians (a theme of Luke’s, see 5:16; 6:12; 11:1-13). In the same way as the widow, Christians should not give up praying to God even when facing indifference and powerful opposition. If an unjust judge will eventually give justice to a painfully persistent widow, then the Lord will surely answer his people’s prayers.
Luke 18:1 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.NIV The following parable and the injunction to pray and not give up should be interpreted in light of the preceding chapter and its focus on the coming kingdom. Jesus had been discussing with his listeners the aspects of the “in-between” time as they lived in a sinful world and awaited the kingdom. The problem of evil and suffering and the need for justice would plague Jesus’ followers as they experienced pain and awaited vindication. As they wrestled with these difficulties, they could know that their heavenly Father listened and understood. In light of God’s ultimate victory over evil and the coming kingdom where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4 niv), Christ’s followers can know that the answer to their prayers for relief and justice is coming in his time.
Continual prayer would have been a new idea for the Jews, who said that it was best to pray three times a day so as not to weary God. To persist in prayer and not give up does not mean endless repetition or painfully long prayer sessions. Always praying means keeping one’s requests constantly before God as one lives for him day by day, believing he will answer. Living by faith means not giving up. God may delay answering, but his delays always have good reasons. Christians must not be discouraged by God’s delays.
A T-shirt reads: “Life is short. Pray hard.” How does a person pray hard?
Persistent prayer involves:
Faith. Unbelievers may succumb to anger, resentment, or despair when they face problems. But we believe God has a solution for us. Prayer builds faith.
Hope. Life is hard, but God is with us always. Even when life ends, God promises eternal life in his Word to those who trust him. When we pray often, we reactivate our trust in God’s enduring presence and future life with God. Constant prayer generates hope.
Love. To be concerned primarily about ourselves, our needs, and our problems is normal. To care about someone other than yourself contradicts our instincts. God wants us to learn to love and to express love to others. Remember, prayer nurtures love.
When life is hard, prayer provides a way for you and God to face it together.
Luke 18:2-5 “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who was a godless man with great contempt for everyone. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, appealing for justice against someone who had harmed her. The judge ignored her for a while, but eventually she wore him out. ‘I fear neither God nor man,’ he said to himself, ‘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!’“NLT Jesus was not comparing God to this unjust and contemptuous judge, as though he would treat believers in this manner. Instead, this parable shows that if even an evil man can be made to deal justly by a persistent woman, how much more would God, who loves his people, care for their requests.
The scene pictures a judge who is godless and uncaring. As a judge, he should have been championing those who needed justice, but when a widow came for help, he ignored her. Widows and orphans were among the most vulnerable of all God’s people, and both Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles insisted that these needy people be properly cared for. (See, for example, Exodus 22:22-24; Isaiah 1:17; 1 Timothy 5:3; James 1:27.) So here’s a helpless widow up against a contemptuous judge who chooses to ignore her. She has little hope of gaining the justice she seeks, so she uses the only weapon she has—persistence. Without anything to lose, she makes herself an irritant to the judge, willing to drive him crazy with her constant requests. Even this uncaring man grows tired of her. Even worse, she is hurting his reputation, embarrassing him with her pounding persistence. So, to get rid of her, he sees that she gets justice.
Does prayer ever feel as though you are talking to an empty room when nobody’s listening? Is prayer a waste of time because God has more important things to do?
Jesus used the “how much more” argument to demonstrate that God is not indifferent or inattentive. Do not attribute those qualities to him. God hears your prayers eagerly and compassionately. God acts on your behalf and for your best. God cares about you personally. When you pray, remember God’s promise to hear your prayer.
Luke 18:6-8 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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? 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?”NIV
If an unjust judge will respond to constant pressure, how much more will a great and loving God respond to his people? They know he loves them; they can believe he will hear their cries for help. They can trust that one day God will bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night. God’s people, his followers (described here as “chosen ones”) who persist in prayer (18:1) as they seek to be obedient in this sinful world, can know that God will not keep putting them off. It may seem for a time that their cries go unheard. But one day, God will see that they get justice, and quickly. (This quickness was described in 17:24-35.) But Christ has not yet returned. Jesus had made it clear that there would be an intervening time. This would be the church age, the present time. During these years, God’s people help others find the kingdom and are themselves strengthened in their faith. Their needs cause them to be on their knees constantly, knowing that God alone is their help. Jesus gave no indication of how long this intervening time would last or when he would return. Indeed, he said no one knows (Matthew 24:36), so believers are always to be ready. But Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Will we, God’s people have persisted in faith or fear?
Watch this upcoming message online at
or on Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/UpwardsChurch1
I’m praying for you.