Prayer and the Persistent Person, Part 2 (Praying Through the Bible #172)

TEXT: Luke 18:1-8

1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 171 messages in this series.

This is message #172 titled, Prayer and the Persistent Person, Part 2

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “That which we persist in doing becomes easy to do; not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do it has increased.”

When you first begin praying without ceasing and persevering in prayer, it may seem like a hard thing to do. As we covered in our message last week, Jesus commanded us to “always pray and not faint.” However, if you remain committed to persevering in prayer, the resistance against you — from the world, the flesh, and the devil — will not go away,in fact it will increase, but you will become stronger spiritually so that you can ignore or deal with the resistance and keep on praying.

In our passage today, Jesus tells the story of a widow who pleads her case before an unjust judge — one who “feared not God, neither regarded man.” This judge had no respect for God or others. He thought highly of no one but himself. According to William Barclay, this judge was one of the Roman judges, who were notorious for this kind of behavior.

Then, we are introduced to the widow. In that day, widows did not have a lot of pull or influence in society,if any. People in positions of authority sometimes felt that they could run over widows and push their concerns to the side. So this widow comes to the judge and says, “Avenge me of mine adversary.” She has an enemy who is abusing her, taking advantage of her, trampling on her rights, so she asks this judge to give her justice against this enemy. She wants a restraining order against this person. She wants something to keep this person from harming her again. She wants justice.

Over the course of this past year, we have heard an abundance of calls for justice from people who feel like their families and their communities have been wronged by people who are supposed to protect them. The judges who preside over these cases often hand down rulings that do not satisfy the people, and the calls for justice continue.

The widow in our story eventually gets her justice. Verses 4-5 read, “And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” Basically, the judge gets tired ­­of the widow coming to him and asking for justice. He is tired of this widow getting all of her family members, friends, and neighbors together to protest in front of the courthouse. He is tired of hearing her calls for justice, and so, in reluctance, he gives her what she wants because she was persistent.

Some parents might be familiar with what this feels like. You have a little child, and that child asks for something again and again. It might be some toy that they don’t even deserve. It might be some candy that you know is not good for them. But they whine for it. They cry for it. They beg for it. They ask over and over again. And, finally, because you just want them to be quiet, you give them what they are asking for.

Now, unless we interpret this parable correctly, we will come away with a negative message — that God is a reluctant Father and that He will only give us what we ask after a long time of our asking, pleading, and begging. However, that is not what the message of this parable is. The message is ultimately an encouraging one. Jesus says, “Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”

Jesus’ tone here is one of incredulity. He is saying that if this unjust judge who has no respect for God or man can be persuaded to meet the requests of this widow, just imagine what persevering in prayer can do on behalf of God’s children when they come before His throne. If the unfair judge can be convinced to answer the widow’s request, cannot God be moved to answer prayer? The answer is “yes.” Jesus says, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.”

Jesus intends to contrast the Heavenly Father with the unjust judge. The judge is unfair; God is fair. The judge had no relation to the widow; God sees us as His “elect” — His children. The judge did not want to grant the widow’s request; God wants to answer our prayers. The judge took a long time to answer the widow’s request, but God answers “speedily.”

The question for us today is: How will we choose to see God? Will we try to interact with God as though He is an unjust judge? Or will we have faith that He is a loving Father who hears and answers prayer? God wants to see that kind of faith in us. That is why Jesus asks, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” What kind of faith? The same kind of faith that we have been talking about today — persistent, persevering faith. The kind of faith that believes God can and will answer prayer. John Walvoord and Roy Zuck state that Jesus “asked the question to spur the disciples on to faithfulness in prayer, to encourage them to keep on in their praying.”

We ought to be like the widow in this parable who persisted until she got what she needed. However, we can be grateful that we do not serve a God who is like the unjust judge. God loves us and desires to answer our prayers. For that reason, we can remain persistent in prayer until Jesus returns.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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