My six-year-old daughter prays for her teddy bear to talk, and I haven’t told her to stop.
Do I think God will answer her prayer? No, I do not — I mean, I don’t think the bear will talk. But always getting exactly what we ask is not the point of prayer, and we should never stop praying because we lose hope that God will answer us.
Jesus taught us these things when he told the parable of the persistent widow. He told the parable, as Luke says, “to the effect that [his disciples] ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).
For Encouragement’s Sake
Plain and simple, Jesus told the parable to encourage his disciples to persevere in prayer. So perseverance is the key, but it’s not perseverance in the sense that we outdo God. Jesus is not teaching us that we can wear down God like the widow wore down the cruel judge. God loves to give us good gifts (Luke [11:13]). It’s his delight to give us the kingdom (Luke [12:32]). He runs to his children with open arms (Luke [15:20]). In fact, Jesus emphatically tells us that the judge is not like God in this short story. This judge neither fears God nor respects man. He’s a scoundrel, a low-life, a detestable authority.
But, in the end, he still did what was right.
The emphasis is not that if the cruel judge knew how to give justice, how much more will your Father in heaven?True as that is, it doesn’t seem to be the central point here. The focus is that the widow kept asking for justice, and she was vindicated. She was so confident that her request was the right thing that she kept asking for it, even from a cruel judge.
Written by Jonathan Parnell
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