In almost every area of life persistence is the prerequisite for success. Someone has defined persistence as the ability to keep moving forward in spite of unexpected obstacles, unanticipated setbacks, and unrelenting hard work. 

It should be no surprise that persistence is also the key to success in your prayer life. Jesus says prayer should be our FIRST line of attack against the problems and discouragement that are inevitable in this life. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells a parable to remind every Christian that even in the most difficult circumstances, we should pray and not give up.

In this parable, we see an unrighteous judge who did not fear God or respect man. We also see a widow who was being mistreated and was seeking protection from the judge. But he refused to do anything.

The widow could have given up. The odds were stacked against her. She had no money, no advocate, and she was trying to take on a corrupt legal and religious power structure. But Luke 18:3 says, “she kept coming to him saying, ‘Give me protection from my opponent.’” Finally she wore him down (Luke 18:4-5).

So here we have a defenseless, poor widow who is able to persuade a godless but powerful judge to answer her request only by sheer persistence! The Lord uses this parable to provide several contrasts (Luke 18:6-8).

1. The unrighteous judge and God

God is anything but an unrighteous judge. He is a holy and loving father. If an unrighteous judge who does not fear God or respect men can be encouraged to act justly, how much more will a loving father like God do for us (Matthew 7:9-11)!

2. The widow and God’s elect (us)

The widow had no relationship with the judge. Yet he still answered her request.  Contrast the widow to those of us who are “God’s elect.” If an unrighteous judge would do all of that for stranger, how much more will a loving father do for his own children?

It is difficult to understand all that is meant by this word "elect." But we can know this: as a child of God you are in a privileged relationship with God that unbelievers don't share (Ephesians 2:19). As God's child you can pray confidently knowing that He will not withhold any good thing from you.

3. The Judge’s timing and God’s

The unrighteous judge delayed a long time in his answer. But Jesus implies that God will not delay. His answers come quickly. If we are honest, that doesn’t seem to be true. The fact is that we many times pray for things and the answer is a long time in coming, if it comes at all.  

We have to understand the KIND of prayers Jesus is talking about and we have to understand God’s TIMING .

While we are certainly to pray about anything and everything, the prayer Jesus says He will always answer is the heartfelt cries for “justice.” In fact, the word “justice” is mentioned twice here in Luke 18:7-8.

The specific promise that God will answer quickly is that God will bring about justice for His children. Many of the things we cry out to God for—broken relationships, sickness, loss of loved ones through death—are the result of living in a world that has been infected by sin.

Ultimately the prayer for evil to be defeated and God’s justice to reign is a prayer for the return of Jesus Christ.

And that leads to the timing of God’s answers.

Jesus promises, the prayer for His return will be answered quickly, speedily. Not by our calendar, but by His. Although it appears that the Lord is slow in answering our prayers for His return, He is precisely on schedule (2 Peter 3:8-9). When He returns, will He find us praying, working, and obeying Him (Luke 18:8)?

Jesus challenges us to endurance in our faith, prayer life, and our working for Him. As one commentator notes,  “God isn't like the judge, but are we like the widow? We can trust Him to answer, but can He trust us to keep asking?”

 

Join us every week for worship and a bold, biblical message by Dr. Jeffress at First Dallas or via the iCampus
Adapted from “Persistent Praying” by Dr. Robert Jeffress

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