Have you ever prayed desperately for days, weeks, or even months for something to happen? Maybe you were going through a trial in your life, or maybe a close friend or relative was really sick, or fighting cancer or something equally threatening. Whatever the issue was for you, I have no doubt that you've been there; you've prayed, perhaps in tears, for God to hear and intervene.
If you're at all like me, you probably prayed passionately for the first week or so, but then, as the initial shock of the trial wore off, so also did your passion and your consistency in praying for it. In the beginning, it was constantly on your mind, and you were almost in a constant state of prayer...but there came a point where you had to remind yourself to pray for it.
Have you been there? Has this ever been true of you? Or am I alone in this?
In Luke 18:1-8, we find the parable of the persistent widow. I love verse one: "Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart." Isn't that the problem I mentioned above? And isn't this something we struggle with? Don't we sometimes "lose heart" that God is going to answer our prayer? Jesus says to keep on keepin' on, to stay with it.
Then He gets into the parable itself. Here, a widow went to a judge day after day...after day, seeking his judgment on the same matter. The judge didn't care about God or this widow, but he eventually concluded, "Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me" (vs. 5).
It's not that God shares the attributes and mindset of this judge. However, Jesus is telling us through this parable that, if at first we don't succeed...pray, pray again! And it's not just about being persistent; it's about not losing heart. Even though God hasn't answered your prayer yet, always know that He still can.
Having said that, it's certainly true that God's answer may be "no." But until we know that that's his answer, we must heed Jesus' words here; we must "always...pray and not lose heart!"
This is a lesson I needed today.