Pray, and Do Not Give Up!

“[Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up). He said, In a certain city there was a judge…And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Protect and defend and give me justice . . .’And for a time he would not; but later he said to himself, . . .’ because this widow continues to bother me, I will defend and protect and avenge her, lest she give me intolerable annoyance and wear me out by her continual coming. . . .’ Then the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says! And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? . . . I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?’” (Luke 18:1-8 AMP)

The main point of this parable is seen in the introductory line, “pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up).” This parable teaches that God will answer prayer, but the emphasis is on the delayed response. James Thomson insightfully commented that both God and the unrighteous judge delay. God delays in order to build faith, for it is tenacity in the face of disappointment that deepens our faith. It is divine love behind the divine delay, (James Thomson, The Praying Christ, London: Tyndale Press, 1954, 14). In this parable Jesus clearly teaches that God doesn’t relate to us as an unconcerned judge, but as a loving, attentive Father.

Once I was talking with Steve Hawthorne about his passion for training people to pray. I can’t forget this wise piece of advice: “We must teach the Church to pray persistent prayers of hope. Sadly, many have reduced prayer down to a request-management system.” When that happens, people lose heart and quit praying.

Lord, thank You for building our faith as we wait for answers that seem long in coming. Give us the courage to trust You and the process. Teach us to pray and never give up.

–Taken from an article by Joseph Winger in incenseRising, March 2005.

Prayer Points
Praise the prayer-hearing God that His ear is attentive to your prayers. Give thanks for the privilege of coming into God’s presence and conversing with Him through prayer. Confess any personal failure in your prayer life that you are aware of. Commit yourself to being a faithful intercessor. Ask that God will strengthen your prayer life and help you to pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayer, on all occasions, for all God’s people (Eph. 6:18).

Pray for unity in the Spirit. Ask for a deep love for, and understanding between family members and friends, and for reconciliation where they are at odds.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend