Jesus’ parable in Luke 18:1-8 has been on my mind a lot recently. This is the parable of the persistent widow, and Luke tells us in the first verse why Jesus told it: “that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
In this story, a widow confronts a judge over and over again, asking for justice. And though the judge in the story is neither god-fearing nor respectable, he ultimately grants the widow justice because of her persistence.
Cleary, we are the widow and God the Father is the judge – with one huge exception. God the Father is nothing like the unrighteous judge! He is good and kind and has a proven track-record of always caring for His people. Jesus’ point is that if a terrible judge will grant justice to a persistent widow, how much more will our loving heavenly Father grant our requests when we seek Him in prayer?
The application seems to be: persist.
Persist in asking. Persist in seeking. Persist in knocking.
Of course, it’s not as if God does not know our needs. It is also not that “bugging” God about something over and over again will somehow twist His arm into giving us what we want. God knows what we should be asking for better than we do, and, I believe, God desires to give good gifts to His children even more than they desire to ask for them. So, why would Jesus’ exhort us to persist in prayer?
R.C. Sproul may sum it up best: “When we are engaged in prayer, something happens to us. We are changed by the experience. In prayer God learns nothing new about us, but we are ever learning about.”
Persistence in prayer is about coming to know the good character of the Great Judge we are talking to. It’s about Him molding our desires and requests. It’s about asking for something over and over and again, seeing Him say “no,” and later realiznig how He was protecting us from our own desires. It is also often about asking for something over and over, and, pehaps after years of waiting, seeing Him come through at just the right time. In those incredible moments, we can’t help but humbly and joyfully worship Him, and that was the point all along.
So, don’t be afraid to ASK boldly and persistently in your prayers.
Trust that if your prayers are somewhat selfish or ill-timed, your Father knows this. But also trust that, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11).
*The message series during our public preview services this fall is entitled, “ASK.” Join us at 1583 Grand Ave., Windsor, as we explore the value of prayer. Preview dates are Sept. 15, Oct. 13, Nov. 10, and Dec. 8.