Daily Devotional

Prayer, Don't Give Up

by Simon Whitton

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
2 He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.
3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
4 "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men,
5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'"
6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says."

Luke 18:1-6 (NIV)

At one time my boys attended a Christian school.  At the school a student had stolen a watch.  The staff were quite sure who had stolen it, but they couldn't prove it.  So they prayed every day for that child.  After a few weeks the student came forward and confessed.

People are skeptical when it comes to prayer, even Christians.  We think God doesn't care about us or the issue that we are bringing before Him.  We may think that our personal influence with God is miniscule compared with those 'great men of faith'.  Perhaps we think because He doesn't answer our prayer right away that He's not going to.

Jesus is intimately aware of our insecurities regarding prayer, so He used this parable to demonstrate a worst case scenario.

First, He would have us imagine a judge, a God that actually doesn't care about justice or about us.  Then imagine you are an insignificant person in His jurisdiction, not only a woman, who had little power or influence in that culture, but a widow, who would have had even less.

But what she did have was tenacity.  She didn't give up.  She kept on with her prayers.  After some time her persistence got the attention of the unjust judge, and even He saw to it that the widow got justice.

The Lord makes the point that if prayers can be answered in this worst case scenario, how much more can we expect God to answer our prayers.  Our God is a good and righteous judge who is deeply concerned about justice.  And unlike the insignificant widow, we are highly regarded by God.  Jesus went on to say:

7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?  Will he keep putting them off?
8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?
Luke 18:7-8 (NIV)

Jesus' intent with this parable is to inspire you to faith, to have you believe that your prayers will be answered, and that you shouldn't give up until they are.

He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.
Luke 17:6 (NIV)

Our faith does not have to be large.  Even the fact that you spend private time in prayer is evidence that you do have some faith.  All that's required is a tiny mustard seed's worth of faith and some tenacity.

Spend some time in prayer...

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