AN IRREPRESSIBLE WIDOW

Opening Prayer

Holy Spirit, thank you for your inspiration and conviction in my life. Please continue to teach me; enable me to walk more closely to Jesus and to share his love with others.

Read LUKE 18:1–8

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 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!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

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New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

Who are Christians in positions of leadership, whether in government, business, public service, or the church that you can pray for?

Think Further

Luke’s introduction suggests that we sometimes lack the stomach for the fight. ‘Lose heart’ (see v. 1, NKJV) is a literal translation where the NIV has ‘give up,’ but the root of this word is cowardice. Jesus is telling us that we sometimes lack the courage to keep praying over the long haul. Jesus wants us to be more like this irrepressible widow. She has no leverage: women had no place in court proceedings at the time. That she has to appear for herself shows that she’s isolated with no male relative to take up her cause. Her isolation may well be why she’s been exploited. Her lack of means may be why she has lost, perhaps not being able to bribe the judge.

The judge has no interest in justice, people’s opinions, or God’s purposes. He enjoys the position for the power it gives him in the community (and probably bribes). The widow has no leverage; the judge has no obvious weakness to target. Yet she has the courage to ask and keep on asking. She makes such a persistent nuisance of herself, badgering him shamelessly, that in the end the judge rules justly, simply to shut her up.

Our prayer, Jesus says, is to be as courageous as that, refusing to be denied. What does our prayer say about how we see the God we’re approaching in prayer? When we don’t persist, we suggest that God is even less interested in doing justice than this pathetic judge. Yet Jesus insists that God’s heart is for justice, not delay, and that even shameless badgering won’t antagonize him (the last part of verse 7 stresses God’s patience toward us). That’s the kind of faith the Son of Man longs to see on his return: courageous, persistent faith as shown by this woman.

Apply

Faith is opposed to fear as much as doubt. Where do you need courage to overcome any fears that make it harder for you to show faith like that of this widow?

Closing prayer

Lord God, you never tire of me; you welcome me whenever I come to you in prayer. You readily receive every one of the thoughts I express—my praises, my petitions, my complaints, and my questions. Forgive me for those times when I do not persist in prayer; help me to be more faithful.

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by kingstar

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