I’ve got a list – a list of things I’ve prayed about for quite awhile… And I’ve got to tell you, I believe they are the kind of things that fit with the character and will of God. The list really isn’t about “stuff” I want (although I believe we can ask for “our daily bread” kinds of things – cp. Matthew 6:11) – most of it is about people I care about – their relationship with the Lord and their needs. Haven’t received many of the answers yet… and sometimes I get a little frustrated about it…discouraged…even embarrassed to keep bringing them up in prayer. Even a time or two I’ve done a little complaining to God about it…
Sound like your experience at all?
Well this morning during “coffee with the Lord” I read an encouraging (and challenging) parable. It emphasizes the power of respectful, persistent, faith-filled (or perhaps “faithful”) prayer. Here it is…
“And Jesus 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?” (from Luke 18:1–8 ESV)
Now notice a few things from that parable…
Who told it… The Lord Jesus Christ! One in whose name we pray. The One who is the object of much of our prayer.
The nature of the parable… Jesus could have chosen any analogy He chose… the “unjust judge” and the “persistent widow” was the one he chose. I believe the truth of this parable is one of a few that Jesus chose to use that teaches by contrast (“unjust judge” cp. “gracious Heavenly Father”) – it’s one of those “how much more, then” kind of parables.
His purpose… “That people ought ALWAYS to pray and NOT LOSE HEART!”
The promise… “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 just to them speedily!”
The concern… “When the Son of Man returns will He find faith on the earth?”
Don’t know about you, but based upon the encouragement (and challenge) of this passage of Scripture, I intend to keep on praying! (Just as an added bit of encouragement if you needed it… Check out Matthew 7:7-11 in several versions and see what THAT does for you! I did!!)