Have You Quit Asking God for What You Need?
In Luke 18, the widow at prayer puts the weakest and least influential people on equal footing with the recognized power figures in society. Widows in the social structure in which Jesus lived were at the absolute bottom of authority and influence. They weren’t used to being listened to by anyone of rank. After a lifetime of being ignored, it’s hard to “pray consistently and never quit” (Luke 18:1).
Prayer, which is simply a conversation with God, isn’t a conversation regulated by social or class distinctions. Rather, it’s a conversation in which all men, women, and children, widows and judges, kings and beggars, the literate and the illiterate, poor and rich, the wise and fools, saints and sinners are equals. They are all peers with equal access to God.
Then Jesus steps out of the story and asks us a question, especially those of us who have gotten so used to not being listened to by anyone of importance that we’ve quit asking God for what we need. What Jesus asks is this: “How much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?” (verse 8).
Will you and I finally give up and quit praying because the deaf ear of the world has so flattened our expectations of being heard by God? Or will we have the kind of persistent faith the widow had?
THE STORY OF THE PERSISTENT WIDOW
Jesus told them a story showingLuke 18:1-8, The Message
that it was necessary for them to pray
consistently and never quit. He said, “There
was once a judge in some city who never gave
God a thought and cared nothing for people.
A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights
are being violated. Protect me!’
“He never gave her the time of day. But
after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I
care nothing what God thinks, even less what
people think. But because this widow won’t
quit badgering me, I’d better do something
and see that she gets justice—otherwise I’m
going to end up beaten black-and-blue
by her pounding.’”
Then the Master said, “Do you hear
what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying?
So what makes you think God won’t step in
and work justice for his chosen people, who
continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick
up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not
drag his feet. But how much of that kind of
persistent faith will the Son of Man find on
the earth when he returns?”
More insights like “Persistent Faith” can be found in The Message Devotional Bible (2018). The insights have been adapted from the published and unpublished works of Eugene H. Peterson and are found alongside the scripture that inspired them.