Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” …
You can look all through the Bible and never find where it says, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” That old saying isn’t in God’s word, but this parable comes close to the same meaning. Let’s be honest, it’s kind of an odd bit of advice from Jesus. Does He mean that we should bother God, nagging him until we get what we want? Do our prayers annoy God, like a squeaking wheel or a rattling motor, into action? And, even more concerning, is Jesus saying that, like the judge in his story, God doesn’t really care about us? No, of course not. We will find, in the concluding lines of the parable, that the judge is meant to teach us that even an uncaring person may grant a persistent request; therefore, how much more will our kind, loving God answer our prayers!
The challenge for us comes in those two little words: “always pray.” That sounds great, really super-spiritual and extra-devotional, but most of us lead busy lives with responsibilities like family, work, church commitments and, occasionally, recreation. We aren’t monks living in cloistered towers where all distractions and temptations have been removed so we can dedicate every waking moment to prayer. In fact, Jesus doesn’t call many of his followers to that type of monastic discipleship. Jesus wants us to have families and jobs and friendships out in the world. So, how can He expect us to pray all the time? I think the key to understanding what it means to “always pray” comes in the next few words: “and not give up.” We can’t pray non-stop, but we can pray without giving up. We can pray with a persistent faith that God hears us and will answer. We can pray with a constant assurance of God’s goodness. We pray with a faith that doesn’t give up, no matter how heavy the burden or how long the wait.
The judge in Jesus’ story is unfaithful and unkind, and yet he eventually does a good thing for the persistent widow. How much more will our good God do for the people He loves! We pray to the God who created this world for us. We pray to the God who promised salvation to sinners. We pray to the God who sent his own Son to die for us. We pray to the God who raised Jesus to new life and who gives us everlasting life as well. It may feel at times like God isn’t answering your prayer or that you are bothering him with the same request time after time, but in faith, you can be sure that God hears you, loves you and will provide for you in his perfect timing and according to his perfect will. So, keep praying without giving up.
Almighty God, I know You are good and that You hear my prayers. Give me faith to keep praying as I wait for Your reply. I trust You to bring me the good things You want me to have, through Jesus my Lord. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian