Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
I don’t want us to focus on the unjust judge but on prayer. None of us pray as much as we should. The Bible says to pray without ceasing. We cannot constantly be praying. We do other things that require our focus and attention. What God wants us to do is not let anything interrupt our prayer life. Make it a habit. The one simple truth in verse 1 is that we ought always to pray, and not to faint. We always pray. We always believe God answers prayer. It’s not always how I want it answered; God does what is best for us. God may delay his answers. He’s not on our time clock or time table.
The judge here does not reverence God. He is self-centered with no compassion or remorse. Widows and orphans were the most vulnerable in society. Without a husband there was no social acceptance, no one to care for her. She went before the judge. He wouldn’t listen to her, but with her persistence the judge reasoned that the only way to get rid of her was to avenge her–give her the request.
After the rapture there will be seven years of tribulation, the last half being called great tribulation. It will be a horrible thing. Revelation 6:9-10 presents this: And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? You and I will have a different life. We may suffer persecution. We haven’t yet, but it may be just around the corner. We should pray and not faint–don’t quit when the answer doesn’t come quickly. This teaches that God hears and he will avenge.
When Jesus returns, will he find people who have been persistent, those who kept asking. In Luke 11 we find the model prayer, more commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s not his prayer; go to John and find Jesus praying in the garden for that. His model prayer tells us Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. The man gave into the request of his friend because he kept asking.
The widow in this story went to the right person. We are to go to God and should go there first. He is not a spare tire. She went continually. We should pray continually. A popular teaching today is to go ask God for something and go your way. Don’t ask again. This parable says to keep bringing it before the Lord. He does not forget what we’ve asked and needs a reminder. We do it because the Lord tells us to.
Pray with sincerity. Don’t mess around. It’s not a ceremony. It’s not for show. A lot of public praying is to impress others. Prayers are to be directed to God. The congregation isn’t the one you pray to. It’s God. It’s a privilege to pray, and we should do it. We don’t need long, elaborate prayers. Peter got out of the boat and was sinking. All he said was “Lord, save me.” It worked.
Why pray? (1) God demands it. It’s our duty. We ought always to pray. Ephesians 6:18 says Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. (2) Prayer is God’s appointed way to get things done. James said ye have not, because ye ask not. We ask God for things we need. (3) Prayer is the cure for worry. Philippians 4:6-7 says Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. It’s a privilege to go to God in prayer. The old song says O, what peace we often forfeit; O, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. (4) You cannot be saved without prayer. Romans 10:13 says For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Calling on him is praying.
Have you been guilty of prayerlessness? Are you pressed with a personal need? Drop it here–on this altar. Worry on your mind? When we worry more, we trust God less. When we trust God more, we worry less. Prayer is the key to any situation. Take it to the Lord in prayer.