“There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect people. And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect people, yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so that she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.’ “
Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. Will not God grant justice to his elect who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay helping them? I tell you that he will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8 CSB)
Persistent. The widow was persistent. The unjust judge calls her a pest. She just keeps coming again and again and again. (I confess, there is a tiny part of me that is secretly satisfied to have a scriptural justification for nagging.) But seriously, it really isn’t about the repeated requests for justice. It’s about the relentless pursuit.
Jesus’ audience for this parable would have understood the widow’s plight. We are not told what her “adversary” had done; most likely it would’ve involved her livelihood since she had no husband to legally stand up for her. The more I think about this nameless lady, the more I like her. She had what they call “chutzpah” (audacity). Why on earth would she risk shaming this man–a man who is a judge, no less?
I think it is because she knew she stood on solid scriptural ground. Isaiah 1:17b: “Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.” Jeremiah 7:5-6-7: “Instead, if you really change your ways and your actions, if you act justly toward one another, if you no longer oppress the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow…I will allow you to live in this place, the land I gave to your ancestors long ago and forever.” Exodus 22:22-23: “You must not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, they shall undoubtedly call out to me, and I will certainly hear their cry.” This woman knew she fell under the protection of God himself, and she was determined.
The widow fights for her promises. And if this bullying bureaucrat finally grants her request, how much more will the Author of those promises answer her petition (her prayer)?
But look for a moment at how Jesus ends his parable. He poses this question: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” I almost missed it when I read it. Jesus is saying that persistent prayer not only requires faith, it is a hallmark of faith.
There are certain things that distinguish believers. They love one another and the unbeliever. They carry the gospel to a lost world. They hope in Christ and serve the broken. They have faith in, and stand on, God’s word. They gather together and pray.
We are all the widow, and she is not to be pitied. Rather, I would challenge you, dear ones, to follow her brave example.
Will you fight for prayer in your life?
Will you commit to a few trusted others?
Will you draw together faithfully to seek him?
Will you “Search for the LORD and for His strength; seek His face always”? (1 Chronicles 16:11)
For the past eight weeks, we have been looking at why to pray, who to pray with, when and where to pray, what to pray, and how to pray together. May God bless you to find and fight for your prayer group. Here at Imperfectly Brave, we know the struggle. We also know that you have Almighty God on your side. Get to know him better.
Pray. Pray regularly. Pray together.
Just do it. Form a group and pray. You’ll be glad you did.
Call or talk to someone and ask the question: would you pray with me?
Don’t give up. Ask. Seek. Knock. (Matthew 7:7-8)