One of my favorite parables in the New Testament is found in Luke 18:1-8. It’s often referred to as the Parable of the Widow and the Judge or the Parable of the Persistent Widow. As with most of the parables Jesus told, it’s not all that complicated.
There are just two characters, a judge who didn’t fear God and didn’t care what people said about him and a widow who had been treated unfairly (we’re not given the details). The widow went to the judge expecting justice, and apparently went more than one or two times – she went persistently until the judge agreed to hear her case.
In the end the judge ruled in the widow’s favor, not because it was the right thing to do (although the implication is that she had been wronged) but because she was becoming a pain in the neck.
The text is explicit that Jesus told this parable to teach us that we shouldn’t become discouraged in prayer even when the answer isn’t readily apparent.
That in itself is a lesson. God knows that we are prone to give up easily. O we of little faith.
The part of the parable that always challenges me is the application Jesus made in verse eight: When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?
That is, when Jesus returns will he find people who have enough faith that they are willing to pray, and pray, and keep on praying without giving up even though they haven’t seen an answer to their prayer?
It takes a deep faith to keep on praying when heaven is silent.
The implication to His question is that when Jesus comes that kind of faith will be rare. There won’t be many Christians who will have enough faith to keep on trusting. Trusting that prayer is the right way to handle the situation. Trusting that prayer really works. Trusting that God actually hears prayer. Trusting that God still answers prayer.
In a recent study on prayer I came across an interesting thought. The writer asked the question, How do we know which prayer God answers? Does He answer your first prayer? Or will it be your one hundredth prayer? Or will be the culmination of all of your prayers?
The answer is that we don’t know. We don’t know how God works, especially in the area of prayer.
So we keep on praying.
We don’t give up. We’re persistent. We keep knocking on the door of heaven. We keep pestering God (from our perspective, not His).
We keep exercising faith.
Don’t be like the judge whose actions were dictated by his earthly, self-centered view of life. Be like the widow and refuse to quit on God even when you can’t see the answer.
Stay in the Word