It’s common for people to stop praying when God does not grant their prayer request immediately. We have to be reminded that God grants our prayer-requests when we are asking for our needs persistently like: food, clothing, and shelter, not our wants (Matt. 6:25-34).
The passage is found in Luke 18: 1-8.
Luke 18:1 New International Version
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
To persist in prayer and not give up does not mean endless repetition or painfully long prayer sessions. Always praying means keeping our requests consistently before God as we live for Him day by day, believing He will answer.
When we live by faith we are not to give up. God may delay answering, but His delays always have good reasons. As we persist in prayer we grow in character, faith and hope.
Luke 18:2 New International Version
2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.
This judge did not fear God, and was therefore a secular (worldly) judge, not religious one, the dishonest judge represents corrupted power.
Luke 18:3 New International Version
3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
Widows and orphans were among the most vulnerable of all God’s people, and both Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles insisted that these needy people be properly cared for (Exodus 22:22-24, 1 Timothy 5:3).
Luke 18:5 New International Version
5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
The persistence of the widow is the lesson of the parable. God is the opposite example of the judge. God does not resent answering prayer. Jesus’ point is that if an insensitive judge will respond to the continued bothering of a widow, God will certainly respond to the continual prayers of believers.
Luke 18:6-7 New International Version
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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?
If unjust judges respond to constant pressure, how much more will a great and loving God respond to us. If we know He loves us, we can believe He will hear our cries for help.
Luke 18: 8 New International Version
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?”
“Will he find faith on the earth?”: Jesus’ question here is whether upon His return believers will still be looking for Him.
Jesus asked said question, because of two reasons: 1) people tempted to live worldly lives during the time Noah and 2) in our time, worldly pleasures and persecutions can cause faithful followers to lose their faith in God. It is happening now.
In asking these questions, Jesus is exhorting believers not to lose heart – that is to be steadfast in our faith in Him, regardless of circumstance we face because of our faith in Him.
Our examples are Jesus’ apostles. Of the 12 original apostles 11 of them willingly die by crucifixions because of their genuine faith in Jesus Christ.
Why the apostles were able to overcome intense persecutions? It was because, they had genuine faith in God through Jesus Christ, that life on earth is just temporary.
They were looking forward to receive the gift of internal life in the New Heaven and New Earth, God is preparing for His faithful followers (Isaiah 65:17), where there is no more pain, crying, suffering and death.
Whereas, our life on earth is too short, and even if we live up to a thousand years, it will still come to end, compared to God’s reward of eternal life to His faithful followers.
As faithful followers, our attitude should be like the apostles to always realize that this life we have is just temporary, for we can die anytime regardless of our age, health or status in life.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 New International Version
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The passage means, our joy, prayers, and thankfulness should not change with our circumstances or feelings. Obeying these three commands – be joyful, pray continually, and give thanks – usually goes against our natural inclinations.
However, when we make a conscious decision to do what God says, we will begin to see people in a new perspective. When we do God’s will , we will find it easier to be joyful and thankful.
We cannot spend all our time kneeling down to pray, but it is possible to have prayerful attitude at all times. This attitude is built upon acknowledging our dependence on God (all our needs), realizing His presence within us, and deciding to obey Him fully.
When we do that, we will find it natural to pray, frequently in short prayers. A prayerful attitude is not a substitute for regular times of prayer but should be the result of prayerful attitude (pray continually).
Many people (even those who are supposed to be godly) when life is going fine, healthy family, good income and enjoying things of the world, they forget to pray, for God is no longer first place in their lives.
They only pray or come back to God when they have serious problems and no solution. They come to God as their last resort. According to studies, most people who don’t believe in God and those who abandoned/backslide from their faith in God, would only remember or come back to God when they are under the following circumstances:
- When there is a serious illness or death of a love one
- Serious financial problems and there is no solution
- Spouses are in the process of divorce
- Any serious problem beyond their control
If your faith in God is not as solid as it should be, there is no need for you to wait that any of the above four circumstances (serious problems) would happen in your life, for it might be too late, just like King David, when his son with his mistress, Bathsheba died (2 Samuel 12).
Come Back to God now before it’s too late! Start the habit of praying continually.
Ask, Seek, knock
Matthew 7:7-8 New International Version
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. People often give up after halfhearted prayers and conclude God did not answer their prayers.
But knowing God, takes faith (genuine faith), not just saying, “I believe in God” or “I have faith in God,” without truly living a godly life – that is demonstrated by our natural (not artificial) godly words, habits and actions.
When we have that genuine faith, Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded. Don’t give up in your efforts to seek God. Continue to ask Him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love and understanding. He will give them to you.
Because of Jesus’ suffering when he was on earth, He can relate to our suffering. Jesus strength to obey God came from His relationship with God the Father Who is also the source of our strength (John 17:11, 15,16).
When we live by faith we are not to give up. God may delay answering our prayers, but His delays always have good reasons. As we persist in our prayers we grow in character, faith and hope. Thus, we have to be persistent in our prayers just like the persistent widow.
Adam Aspilla is an Executive Director of Word Became Flesh Ministries (WBFM) a non-denominational Christian church. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) from University of the East, Manila Philippines, studied law in the same university, and has a Master of Divinity (MDiv.) from Tyndale University & Seminary, in Toronto, Canada. He also operates the Debt Clinic of Canada Inc., and author of the books: “You Can Negotiate All Your Debts” and “51 Frequently Asked Bible Questions.” He also writes a column on “Personal Finance” in this paper. WBFM is at 1180 Unit 1 Mid-Way Blvd. Mississauga ON. Website: www. wbfmfamily.com and Telephone:905-565-8934