Why You Never Stop Praying
Luke 18: 1Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Jesus introduces us to an amazing woman. He picks her story because she is a widow. You could not find a more desperate situation or a more helpless person. Through circumstances that are completely out of her control she is being defrauded of her inheritance, her home, and her meager pension. How could a life once filled with love and security end in up in an old age of , humiliation, homelessness, and starvation? Yet this is precisely what is happening right now all over America.
Amazingly, this widow will teach us a great lesson on prayer not by praying but by demonstrating the power of human persistence. She memorized the judge’s routine. She stood for hours outside the court house. She was there when he walked in and when he walked out. She followed him to restaurants, the marketplace, and even to his home. Late at night when he tried to sleep she would cry to him from outside his window.
Finally it was too much for the judge to bear: “afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5Yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” In mere human terms, importunity must inevitably triumph.
How much more! Jesus now says, “Hear what the unjust judge is saying!” And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” Jesus is contrasting two extremes. How much mightier is fervent prayer than human persistence? If importunity brings results on a human level how much more are we certain to see results in prayer? How much more will God the Father, who gave His only Son, hear us than a cold unfeeling judge?
This parable proclaims, she held on until she got victory; even though she had no hope, no love, no comfort, no Holy Spirit, a cruel judge, and a vicious predator. How much more then can you hold on in prayer since you have a loving almighty Father, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God!
But Jesus warned that there may be a delay in the answer! But why is God waiting to answer me? It is clear from the story that this widow’s adversary had defrauded her. He committed a crime. She was begging the judge for justice. However, to get justice would mean that this man would go to jail. It would mean his ruin. There may be a villain in your life who is robbing you. The delay maybe God’s giving them a last chance to make things right.
Another possibility: God delays success until He knows it will not destroy you! Ahab had agents all over Israel searching for Elijah to kill him. Premature promotion would have destroyed Elijah. It must have been sheer torture for such a righteous man of God to watch the wholesale dismantling of God’s law in a nation born of God. He begged God to get him back in the battle. Instead, God orders him to let a widow provide for him. You may think that your talent and accomplishments should have opened doors for you by now but there are divine reasons for delay.
Beyond this there may be a myriad of reasons, all with our very best in mind. However, a breakthrough is inevitable!
Let me say this to you with compassion and conviction. It is life and death for you to gain a new awe and respect for the power of importunate prayer. Times have changed. Aggressive evil, rampant disease, financial earthquakes, and convulsions in nature demand a new kind of prayer warrior.
We have no promise that the sun will rise tomorrow but we do have the greatest and surest promise of all: “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” This is why you never stop praying!