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A Persistent Widow

During His earthly ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ told a parable to His disciples about an encounter with a judge “who did not fear God nor regard man,” and a widow who consistently came to him asking, “get justice for me from my adversary.” This parable is found in Luke 18:1-8, and it teaches a lot about the christian and prayer. Hence, Jesus is instructing us to “pray and not lose heart.” Some Christians are discouraged to “persevere in prayer” when the answers don’t seem to be coming as they expect.

The lesson in Luke 18:1-8 is that we continue praying until we hear from God. Verse one says, “And He [Jesus] told them a parable that men ought always to pray and not lose heart.” For some, it is easy to lose heart and actually give up praying because they lack the patience to wait and keep trusting, while waiting. However, if we take God at His word, “casting all our care on Him, for He cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7) and believe in the power of prayer, we will never lose heart.

In this parable, the Lord is showing that even the “unrighteous judge” who neither feared God nor regard man, “yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming” (Luke 18:5). And Jesus continues, ”Hear what the unrighteous judge says, “And will not God give justice to His elect who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you He will give justice to them speedily” (Luke 18:6-8).

We are instructed in scripture to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). One may ask, how is this possible. The problem is that we can hardly find the time to pray, if at all. Rather, we must take the time to pray. Let us be honest before God; we take the time to do this or that, go hither, and yon, as it suits us? No one can deny that many of us work for a living. We also need time to take care of important matters. However, each day has 24 hours, and each week has 168 hours. Why can't we plan times for prayer? We can also seek God’s help in the planning process. Persistence in prayer always pays high spiritual dividends. Why not cash in?

It cannot be over emphasized that we are to live our lives in full dependence on Almighty God, who says, “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Physical life comes from God because “It is in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Our Lord Jesus devoted much time to prayer and so should we. Just before going to the cross, Jesus withdrew Himself from His disciples to pray. There are many recorded instances in the gospels that prove Jesus took time to pray. He is absolutely our greatest example of prayer. Let us follow His example.

Remember, we communicate with God through prayer. Hence, there is so much emphasis on prayer in the scriptures. The apostle James states, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much” (James 5:16). Unlimited power is available to us who are intent on seeking God’s face in prayer. King David wrote about his commitment to prayer, “Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek” (Psalm 27:7-8). Note David’s willing obedience to God’s command.

Many years ago Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote the following: “Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice Rise like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or goats That nourish a blind life within the brain, If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer Both for themselves and those who call them friend?” (Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of Great Britain, 1809-1892). No doubt, Tennyson understood both the need and value of prayer. So should all of God’s children. Keep on praying, God will answer you.