Luke 18:1-8 – “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?” NKJV
This has been a problematic passage for believers for a long time and will continue to be UNLESS we grasp some powerful truths presented in this parable of our LORD. If God knows all things, and He does, and if God desires to give His children good things, and He does, and if God hears us the first time we pray, and He does WHY PERSIST? Why not ask once and then forget it? Before you say, that is what we should do, I ask you to hear some thoughts I have on this matter.
I have heard many renowned men of God argue against PERSISTENCE in prayer. Although their arguments have often been eloquent and a valiant attempt to defend God and argue that persistence was our trying to force God to do something He was reluctant to do, I believe Persistence is biblical and desirable. Many of the great men of prayer in our Christian history have contended for PERSISTENCE in prayer. P.T. Forsyth wrote, “Prayer is never rejected so long as we do not cease to pray. The chief failure is its cessation.” But, even more, powerful are the words of our LORD as illustrated in two parables. Jesus taught the need of PERSISTENCE.
In our text, Luke 18 we find the widow who had been abused and wronged. Day after day she brought her case to the judge, a man who “neither feared God or cared about what people thought.” He was, at first, indifferent but through her persistence, he relented and said, “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” That is where it is problematic for Christians. Jesus was not making the point that God was anything like the insensitive and unjust judge. God does not have to be worn down and badgered to get Him to reluctantly respond. Jesus’ point was that when God’s people PERSIST and ‘cry out day and night’, He as the just judge will provide their petition. Luke prefaced the parable with the word of Jesus, “And Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” That’s the key!
God’s delay may result in us losing heart and giving up, but Jesus urged us not to succumb to that temptation and tendency of LOSING HEART. Remember his question, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” PERSISTENCE is needed in the development of our relationship and faith. I have long contended that the devil cannot win UNLESS we quit. If we do not grow weary in well doing, in due season we will reap IF WE FAINT NOT. If we quit, we lose but if we persist we receive!
In Luke 11 our Lord makes the same point saying, “I tell you, even though he, (the neighbor) will not get up to give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your persistence he will rise and give you all you need.” NO, God does not need to be nagged and if we do not need what we are praying for all the bugging we can muster won’t move Him. If what we are asking is at odds with the Will and Word of God, you can persist until you are totally exhausted and it won’t matter. God does not answer prayer because He is pressured He answers because it is right and good.
Persistence is not for God it is for us. Have you ever noticed that people who get what they want the moment they ask for it often begin to take things and people for granted? If God granted every petition the first moment we asked our human tendency would be to treat Him like our genie, supermarket, or candy store. Persistence demands WAITING and “they that WAIT upon the LORD renew their strength, mounting up with the wings of an eagle, they run and do not grow weary, and walk without becoming faint.” WAITING is powerful in our spiritual development, enhancing our resolve as well as our character and maturity. God will use PERSISTENCE in prayer to purge our desires molding and transforming our desires into His purposes. PERSISTENCE does not guarantee you will get what you have asked for but it does guarantee you will get what is BEST FOR YOU.
God, bless you as your Persist and Persevere in Prayer. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up or quit!