The persistent widow
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Luke 18:1 (NIV)
Jesus said to his disciples that they should pray and never give up. I read the speech that Sir Winston Churchill gave at Harrow School on the 29th October 1941. Churchill said, ‘Never give in…never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense!’ Churchill was trying to get across a spirit of perseverance in times of difficulty, and possible defeat.
Jesus urged his followers to persist in prayer and never give up. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells the story of a persistent widow appealing to a judge for justice and protection. In Jesus’ day widows had no one to represent them, no one to defend them in court, and no one to vindicate them. The widow in this parable would not give up until the judge helped her, and rightly so, because scripture tells us that the essence of true religion is to care for widows and orphans as, particularly in the ancient world, widows and orphans were helpless (James 1:27).
Believers are to persist in prayer and never, never give up. We read in the parable that the widow kept on knocking on the door of the judge (maybe she was waking the neighbours up, who knows) until finally, the judge handed out justice and gave her what she wanted.
The judge would have been pleased if the widow had stopped knocking and left after a few knocks, but this widow needed justice and the only person who could provide that was the judge. Even though he was an unrighteous man he did the right thing eventually because of her persistence.
God is not like the judge in the parable, but nevertheless he expects us to follow the example of the widow in the story, persisting in prayer, while waiting patiently for him, as we intercede for others and pour out our hearts to God. And we know that our God, who intercedes along with us through the Spirit (Romans 8:26), is a loving, gracious and righteous judge.
Dear Lord, during your earthly ministry you showed compassion for the widows and orphans in their affliction, and your concern for them is the same today. Help us to be persistent in our prayers showing that same compassion and love to all. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Study by Dennis Payne
About the writer:
Dennis Payne is a Deacon in the Central London congregation of Grace Communion International.
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