Scripture Focus: Luke 18.1-8
1 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?”
Reflection: Don’t Lose Heart: God Hears Your Prayers
By Dena Dyer
Jesus often elevated women in his circle and stories, which was unusual at least and scandalous at most. In fact, the parable of the persistent widow is a specific example of the respect Jesus brought to women (especially those who were mistreated, misunderstood, or vulnerable in some way).
In this particular parable, the widow asked a judge over and over to grant her justice, to no avail. According to the laws of the time, the judge was required by law to give her a hearing–but he refused because he was unjust, uncaring, and unfair.
However, he eventually got tired of listening and gave in to the widow’s persistent pleas: “But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” (v. 4-5)
Jesus says that God is the opposite of the judge—just, compassionate, and fair. He encourages his disciples to continue to make petitions, even when answers are not evident or immediate.
I love this story, because somewhere along the line, I bought into the lie that God might view me as a pest if I prayed for a certain thing too much. I think it may have solidified for me when my boys were little and could “wear the horns off a Billy goat” (as we say in the South) asking for a toy or privilege.
God isn’t like us—or the unjust judge. He doesn’t grow weary of our prayers. Just listen to Isaiah 64:4 (NKJV): “For since the beginning of the world men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, who acts for the one who waits for Him.”
Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT) encourages us: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
At the end of the parable, Jesus says that He longs to find faith on the earth. If He was going to discourage believers from praying too long and hard about something, that would have been the time. Instead, He related the story to urge his disciples to “pray and not give up” (v. 1).
Let’s not become weary of praying or lose heart, because if we are asking according to God’s will, He hears us and will answer in His time and way. Also, let’s be sure to seek what God seeks—like justice for those who have long been denied it–with determination and persistence.
Finally, let’s act when He tells us to, because often prayer and action go together. After all, you and I may end up being the answer to someone’s prayers.
About Dena: Dena Dyer is an author of eleven books, including Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts with Tina Samples. She’s also a speaker, worship leader, Anglophile, and movie lover who lives with her husband, youngest son, and rescue pup near Fort Worth, Texas. In her day job, she serves as Executive Assistant to Jamie Aten, founder of Wheaton’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute. Find out more about Dena’s books and resources at her website or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Early in the morning, I cry out to you, for in your world is my trust. — Psalm 119.147
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about Don’t Waste the Waiting
Do our prayers focus on us and our problems, or on what will draw us closer to the heart of Jesus? Or does weariness win over worship?
Read more about Praying Through Weeping—Guided Prayer
If prayer is relationship, then when God weeps, we should join. What friend would weep, whom we would not join in weeping.