“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” -Luke 18:1
When Jesus gave the Parable of the Persistent Widow, He
wanted to tell His original audience to never give up just because they haven’t
received an answer yet. He told them about a widow’s persistence in petitioning
an unjust judge for help and how time and again he refused to help her, but it
was because of her persistence that he finally gave her what she wanted. She
literally wore him out.
Jesus’ point was that even an unjust judge finally gave her what she wanted. How much more so would God the Father not grant justice to those who cry out to Him for justice? There are big things in our world that need prayer, and sometimes we can feel like we are too small, too insignificant, for our prayers to have much effect. Scripture tells us otherwise: The prayers of a righteous person have great effect in the spiritual realms.
Struggles with Sin
Sometimes the enemy wants to convince us that our prayers are unanswered because we are unrighteous, unforgiven. But when a Christian sins, they can be quick to ask for forgiveness. We can admit our mistakes and humble ourselves before God. In the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, we see this in the tax collector, but the Pharisee has a self-righteousness that is anything but humble. He says that he isn’t like this sinner, the tax collector (Luke 18:11). He tries to prove his self-righteousness before God and men by his history of tithing and his accusation that he is not like other men, but he is anything but humble. We know that God resists the proud, but to the tax collector who admitted his sinful state, God gives more grace (James 4:6). Jesus’ point is that God will hear the humble but resist the proud and self-righteous. He exalts the humble but humbles the proud (Luke 18:14).
When did you pray last?
If you pray only during emergencies and crises, when you are sick or having a serious relationship problem, or even during financial difficulties, you’re probably not praying enough. It seems that the longer you go without prayer, the harder it is to start again. Try to do this: Pick a time to regularly pray, and consistently pray each morning and night (before bed perhaps). Stick to this time, even when you don’t feel like it. Keep short accounts with sin because praying can sometimes keep you from sin, but sin can sometimes keep you from praying.
A Prayer for Today:
Father, there is so much that needs my attention in prayer, sometimes it can seem overwhelming. Jesus teach me to pray for my daily needs, both physical and spiritual, and for the needs of others. Being isolated from my daily routine can be a distraction, but also a blessed opportunity to spend more time with You. Send your Holy Spirit to envelop me in your love as I pray, and encourage me to pray without ceasing. Regardless of my perceived outcome of my prayers, my present situation or my ever-changing feelings, help me to pray. I love you Jesus and I trust you. In your name I pray, Amen.