Society inspires us today to be persistent at all costs. We’re inspired to chase our dreams; to go for the gold. Men and women alike work themselves to the bone to move to the top of their company. Everyone wants to be the best, look the best, and be recognized as such.
In a world full of life coaches and self-help gurus, the message is crystal clear: there is power in persistence. I joke often about most jobs I’ve landed is a result of my persistence. I called to let them know I was interested as well as followed up after interviews regarding the hiring process. I wanted to ensure my name would be easily identified when it came time to make a decision. We all may have similar stories. We’re familiar with the old adage: persistence pays off! Whether it’s being persistent to land a job, a mate, or the latest sale; persistence has its place in our world. It can make or break getting what we desire. It can set us apart from the rest. Favor can be won among those who witness our persistence.
However, much of what we persist to do matters very little. We can be so persistent in some areas, yet so lackadaisical in others. We seem to grow more and more persistent in matters of importance to us, yet apathetic in things our Savior deems important.
In the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18: 1-7), Jesus urges us to be persistent in prayer. The first thing I notice when reading this parable is Jesus expects us to pray. He wouldn’t suggest for us to always do anything if there wasn’t already an expectation for us to do it. What He expects, we should strive to deliver.
The parable shows a widow woman continually going before a corrupt judge seeking justice. The Bible is very clear this judge didn’t regard God or man (Luke 18: 4). However, this doesn’t stop this woman from persistently pursuing an answer to her request. Her request seemed to fall on deaf ears as the judge did nothing for a while. With each appeal, I can imagine she wanted to throw in the towel. She had to have felt there was no use in repeatedly asking; only to be ignored.
Isn’t this how we feel sometimes? We know we should pray and often we do…until a significant amount of time has passed. Until we don’t see change. Until we are still struggling with the same sin. Until our loved one is still ill. Until we deem God has decided to turn a deaf ear to us.
This is a real place wherein you may feel discouraged to persevere in prayer. We ask others to pray on our behalf when truly we’ve given up praying for ourselves.
Again, this parable compels us to pray continually. Day and night. Like the widow woman who was seeking justice from her adversary; we too have an adversary. Our adversary will persist in trying to get us off course. To keep us from praying. To stop us from believing. Satan’s goal is to keep us so distracted; we can’t pray. He wants us numb to prayer. He wants us to believe there is nothing to be gained through prayer. He wants us to feel defeated and forgotten. He wants sin to invade us so that we feel unworthy to pray.
If we continue the parable, we see although this corrupt judge had no regard for God or man, He avenged her of her adversary. It wasn’t because of any good she had done or that he had a change of heart. It was because of her persistence! She didn’t let him rest. She wasn’t taking no for an answer.
What I love about this parable is Jesus shows the comparison of if a corrupt judge will respond to persistency, how much more will He? How much more will He avenge us? It’s indescribable how much more. I’m not sure I can fathom the measures He will take to fight for us when we earnestly pray believing He hears and will answer. When we too won’t give Him rest (Isaiah 62:6-7).
As the judge didn’t immediately respond; this may be true as well of our Heavenly Father. This teaches us patience and to prevail in prayer. I firmly believe there are times God wants to answer our prayers we’ve long ago stopped praying. We fall prey to giving up too soon. We lack the stamina to keep praying until we receive an answer. When we stop praying; it’s becomes difficult to believe.
The parable ends with a question: “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” This signifies Jesus had entertained He may not. We can only remain in faith as we remain in prayer. Prayer is our connection to believing. Persistent prayer results in steadfast faith.
Let’s make it our aim to persevere in prayer and not give up. No matter what the situation looks like; keep praying. No matter how you feel; keep praying. Mean it when you tell others you are praying for them. Go boldly before His throne and PRAY.