In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus told his disciples a story to help them understand how God feels about our prayers. In this story Jesus sets up these 2 characters and they are at opposite ends of the social power of structure.
The Unjust Judge. Jesus describes him in two crisp statements: he did not fear God and he did not respect other human beings. He had no sense of accountability therefore he made his own justice.
The Widow. The other end of the spectrum here is this widow. Not easy being a widow at any time but in that society it was a dreadful thing to be widow. Generally if a widow didn’t have relatives to care for her, she would be a social outcast. There was no real place she could fit in. In this story this widow has a plight, someone has done something that’s unfair or she was being harassed. She desperately wanted justice. Though she has all the odds stacked up against her she wasn’t going to resign herself to her misfortune nor remain passive; she persistently kept going before the judge who reluctantly gave in to her demands.
Study in contrasts. Jesus himself interprets it as soon as he finished telling it. You’ve heard how the unjust judge reacted now look at God’s approach. “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you he will see that they get justice and quickly. If an unscrupulous judge can be moved to act justly because of the unrelenting tenacity of a defenceless widow how much more will not God bring about justice for HIS OWN…Our God is NOT like that judge
JUDGE OUR GOD
arrogant, no feelings is compassionate, loving
closes his ears to her cries ears are open to our cries
hardened heart has an understanding heart
he rejects her he draws us to Him
unmoved by her plight is touched by our suffering
unapproachable accessible all the timeOur status is NOT like that widows
has no standing his own elect, chosen
all alone are adopted into God’s family
no advocate have Jesus - our High Priest
helpless are infused with power of God
Therefore since our God loves us and is already involved in our lives how would Jesus want us to respond to our life’s difficulties and challenges?
We are to always pray and not lose heart. Jesus urges us not to become discouraged or weary in spirit when circumstances seem immovable at times. We can lose heart when we take our eyes off God and focus only on the hopelessness around us. When we feel life seems unfair, unjust or at times we feel our prayers go unanswered or that God is not coming through for us. Unfulfilled promises or partially fulfilled promises have the ability to cause us to lose heart, become discouraged, to stop praying or to stop trusting God.
Jesus through this parable shows us that the God we worship is nothing like that unjust judge. He is on our side therefore all the more we need to get some of this widow’s spunk, boldness and assertiveness into the basement of our soul and keep pressing in to our Father who cares.
Be conscious of his Presence with us in our plight or in our hopelessness. And continue to pray for our situations with boldness and assertiveness. Have an indomitable spirit as you trust God.
Be confident as you approach the throne of Grace (Heb 4:11). Take hold of the Word of God; interact with him, asking him to empower his Word to work in your circumstances. As we do that we bring ourselves and all that we are going through into the stratosphere of God’s divine working. Be confident as you call on him day and night. (Is 62:6-7) Don’t give him rest till he establishes his will and purpose.
Rom 8:26-28. All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose, as we pray. We have this reassurance from him that as we cry out, as his elect, he is bringing about a grand finale. God wants us to see the constancy of his presence. We need to have a big perspective to the generational God we serve. Don’t allow the mystery of unanswered prayers to circumvent our walk with God. Recognise God as the master orchestrator of our lives. Learn to praise him even when he doesn’t explain why he does things that he does. Keep company with him and partner with him as he unfolds his purpose on the earth. He has a strategy and is working it.
Our prayers whether answered or unanswered are precious to God. Rev 5:8 and Rev 8:3-4 says that our prayers are stacking up before God. Let that spirit of faith and confidence kick in once again.
We are to keep pressing forward in faith. Jesus begins this parable by encouraging us to pray always and not lose heart and completes this by saying; “will he find faith on the earth when he returns?” Faith is always the kingdom issue. Faith is not simply monitored in terms of miracles or answered prayers. It’s broader than that. We should evaluate our faith through the difficult and dry times, when we see absolutely nothing and yet have the ability to stabilise ourselves through these seasons. Heb 11:1 says faith is the substance of the things we hope for, it’s the evidence of the things you can’t see. So our faith is proven while we wait for what we hope for to materialise. As you walk through Heb 11 you will find all kinds of people going through all kinds of adversities of faith, though not receiving answers to all of life’s mysteries yet have the ability to persevere. Likewise our ability to persevere under challenges and tough situations authenticates our faith. In the basement of our soul Jesus encourages us to have this ‘widows’ tenacity, resilience, persistence and boldness to keep going before God. Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. Heb 7:25. Therefore we should always pray and not lose heart. Keep persevering in faith.Discussion Questions
1. What priority did Jesus place on prayer?
2. Have you been discouraged or have lost heart in prayer and what was the reason for it?
3. How do you see God?
4. What can we learn from the widow’s story?
5. Discuss some ways this story can encourage you in your prayer life.