Luke 18:1-8 NKJV
(1) Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
(2) saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.
(3) “Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’
(4) “And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man,
(5) ‘yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'”
(6) Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said.
(7) “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?
(8) “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
I have read this passage many times, and for many times, have understood it as a great lesson on persistence in praying. In fact, the purpose of the story is plainly revealed in the first verse – that Jesus wants the disciples to always pray and not lose heart.
However, though the message is clear, it seems like it doesn’t happen that way most of the times. We honestly and persistently pray but nothing seem to change. We pray every time with expectant hearts yet our struggles and problems that we pray about remain. We even hope that it will be over when morning comes, but its still there when we wake up, and has gotten even worse.
These situations would easily make us relate to Job when he said, “why is life so hard?” And to Paul’s experience when he said, “We are hard-pressed on every side, persecuted and struck down…” Sadly, some do not struggle well with these episodes in a Christian’s supposed life and are subtly led into thinking that the judge who do not regard man in the parable of the persistent widow was maybe indeed God himself.
As I kept reading the parable, it doesn’t just reveal a great lesson on persistent praying but an overall illustration of the kind of faith that results to answers.
After Jesus spoke of the parable, the next verses explained the difference in the character of God and the crooked judge. It is described in those verses that God protects His people; He is concerned; He is our sure Help; and is on time. However, these are the very characters of God that make many people doubt. It leads them instead to question His existence. That is why in the concluding words of Jesus after telling the parable was, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?
Faith in these passages is demonstrated with these two things:
1. Always pray. God expects a man of faith to always pray. In a likert scale, always would be on the other extreme end, opposite of never and above of frequent. Praying should continuously be a Christian’s normal routine and practice, a part of his daily life, his lifestyle and habit. In His very words, Jesus seem to intently imply in an interrogative manner that at the minimum, we should pray to Him day and night. At the very least, we should pray before we rest at night and upon waking up in the morning. Our thoughts, desires and expectations from the beginning and towards the end of our day should be God.
2. Not lose heart.
God did not just simply told us to pray but also revealed the attitude that we must have in praying. In the parable, Jesus describes that a prayer of faith is accompanied with strong feelings of desperation and expectation for a desired result, a genuine expression of pain, hurt and suffering and a passionate utterance of a groaning spirit. We are to express our prayers to Him in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and with purposeful conscious minds and not just out of a habit that has lost its meaning because of repetitions. Furthermore, a man that prays with faith never gives up. The urge and passion to pray intensifies if it’s left unanswered. There is a hopeful expectation that does not waiver in the midst of uncertainties in waiting. Lastly, we don’t only exercise faith during the utterances of our prayers but in the attitude that we exemplify after praying and while waiting for the answers. Oftentimes, we are still filled with worries even after we prayed – we actually and eventually lose heart. We remain sad, look frustrated, have fears and doubt, wonder if it’ll ever be answered and even lose vigor in our daily affairs. We may not express it openly but deep in our hearts are questions and advanced frustrations. While these fears and doubts even after prayer are maybe normal in a human’s heart, we must overcome it by the grace of God, for these shows a heart that’s already giving up. In James 1 6-7, there was a sure statement that nothing happens and comes to a person with a doubtful mind. So, “How are we thriving in the silence of God?”
In James 1:6-7 NLT – But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
We should level-up in our prayer life. Let us assess ourselves and be encouraged in these words of Jesus:
Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night?
Won’t he be concerned for them? He will surely hurry and help them.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?
Luke 18:7-8 CEVUS06