January 26, 2022

January 26, 2022

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
January 26, 2022

“And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long over them? I tell you, He will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Luke 18:1-8

Dr. Wayne Mack calls the two great disciplines as the two great pillars of the Christian life. They are effective prayer and consistent study of the Bible. When it comes to prayer there is no one better to teach us about prayer than the Lord Jesus Christ. He teaches by example and also by precept. This gospel has sometimes been called the gospel of prayer because at least eleven times Jesus’ prayer life comes into focus. Jesus gives several teaching seminars on prayer. Matthew 6 has the Lord’s Prayer and Matthew 7, “Ask and it shall be given to you.” This parable in Luke 18 is most familiar.

The star player here is a woman who doesn’t give up. She persevered in prayer. The very reason why Jesus gives us this parable on prayer is to teach us perseverance and not to get discouraged. Luke 18:1, “And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” We can lose heart can’t we when it comes to prayer. Unanswered prayer - weeks, months even years can tempt us to despair and give up. Sometimes we grow weary because of just the constant struggle and resistance when it comes to prayer.

The very word ‘perseverance’ carries with it the idea of struggle, difficulty and resistance. There is resistance on several fronts. We could say there is inward resistance in terms of our own hearts: pride, selfishness, laziness. There is outward resistance, the devil. Remember Paul wanted to go to the church in Thessalonica. He was praying, hoping to go and he said, “The devil hindered me.” You can get resistance from people. You might want to start a Bible study or prayer at work and you have a boss who is dead set against that, there is resistance.

This woman in Luke 18, a widow, faces outside resistance; she is up against a mean old judge who has no sympathy, none whatsoever. Look how he is described in verse 4, “A judge who did not fear God nor respect man.” So there is no drop of human kindness found in this man’s heart. He doesn’t fear God, he has no respect of man, he lacks special grace, and he lacks common grace. But she doesn’t give up, she is like the proverbial dog with a bone. You have heard of those bull terriers that have 22 teeth and you put a bone in the mouth of a bull terrier and it is hard to get the bone away from that bull terrier. She is a “bull terrier” prayer warrior. She will not relent, but the judge finally does.

Jesus is encouraging us by this widow to persevere in prayer. To add encouragement to persevere in prayer I think He sets up a contrast between the mean old judge and God. We don’t go to a mean old judge; we go to a gracious, loving heavenly Father. We go to a God who is never indifferent, never callous. So we have more reason to persevere, don’t we, than this poor widow.

It is interesting that Paul, the apostle, four different times in his epistle stresses persevering prayer: Romans 12:2, “Pray always;” Ephesians 6:18, “Pray without ceasing;” Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer;” and 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray steadfastly.” Don’t give up Christian, don’t give up child of God. Nothing would make the devil happier than if we gave up praying. If we are people of faith, that is what faith does, that is a quality of faith, faith perseveres.

When it comes to prayer, when it comes to long term problems – maybe health issues, relational problems, a failing marriage, unconverted relatives, friends, children - Jesus wants us to persevere. Never, never give up. Even when it comes to our struggle with our own sins. There can be sins that we struggle with year after year and Jesus says, “Don’t give up.” We can expect Jesus to help us overcome those sins. We can pray perseveringly for greater fruitfulness and greater usefulness.