Summary: This parable is a teaching from God himself to Always Pray and Do Not Lose Heart. We can see this in the: 1) Exhortation to Pray 2) Example of Prayer and 3) Encouragement for Prayer
There are certain things that you expect in turning up for worship, and others you do not. Everything turned upside down for the membership of Grace Church in San Diego California. Their Church building was totally destroyed by the fires. No doubt you have heard of the trauma of the massive fires that raged in Southern California. the Los Angeles Times reports that 1,609 homes have been destroyed and 695 square miles scorched. The destruction is expected to cost insurance companies around $1 billion, Mark Lauterbach is senior pastor of Grace Church. Mark wrote the following: “It is probably as close to apocalyptic as I have seen....I look at maps of the firelines ...and I see the reality of the last day when fire will consume and all things will be shaken.”. He continues: “God has given our people great grace to trust and to serve and to care for each other. The prayer would be for the Gospel to advance through this time and for specific ways we can serve people. We need faith and clarity in how to do that”.
For some outside observes, they would think that the congregation’s prayers had failed. They were displaced from their homes. God did not hear their prayers and there is no point continuing.
In Luke 18 is linked to the previous eschatological discourse by the reference in Luke 18:8 to the Son of Man’s return. Its plea that believers ask God for justice looks back to the vindication of the saints described in 17:22-37. We are to identify with the widow’s persistence in praying for the decisive coming of God’s justice in the kingdom’s full expression (18:1, 8).
It is not easy to always pray and not lose heart. Distractions will pull us away. Difficulties work on us to question if God can do anything, and Delays in prayer being answered cause us to even question if God cares. We can Doubt the effectiveness of prayer. Defilement of unconfessed sin can put a barrier between us and God. We eventually despair and quit praying.
What’s so amazing about Jesus telling this parable about prayer is that prayer is what Christ was all about. You would think that the God of the universe in human flesh would not need to pray. That He would be above prayer. Yet He sets the example for us as a perfect human being, rising early in the morning to pray (Mk. 1:35) and seeking times alone to pray (Mt. 14:23). Sometimes He spent the whole night in prayer (Lk. 6:12) and in the end, preparing for His suffering by prayer (Lk. 22:41-42). Only when Jesus prayed do we see him agonizing and toiling, even to the point of sweating great drops of blood.
Do you find it difficult to find time to pray? Do the challenges in your life cause you to wonder if God is really in control, of if He is, is He Good? Does He truly care about me? Have you prayed for something for years: The salvation of a loved one, a job opportunity or to see a loved one again?
All these things can cause us to be discouraged and think what’s the use in praying or let’s just go through the motions to keep God happy or off your back.
This parable is a teaching from God himself to Always Pray and Do Not Lose Heart. We can see this in the: 1) Exhortation to Pray (Luke 18:1) 2) Example of Prayer (Luke 18:2-6) and 3) Encouragement for Prayer (Luke 18:7-8)
1) Exhortation to Pray (Luke 18:1)
Luke 18:1 [18:1]And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (ESV)
Luke concluded chapter 17 with a discourse on the last days and the fact that Jesus would be coming again. And He likened the last days to the days of Noah, that they would be difficult days—days that would not be conducive to faith.
So now He talks to them, looking back to 17:22, which represents the disciples who are the audience. He instructs them about a life of faith in days that are devoid of faith. That is the reason it is so pertinent for this hour. We are living in days, as He indicated, when people’s hearts are failing them for fear. What we have in this first parable is a pertinent paragraph on prayer for the present hour.
This is in the form of moral imperatives, commands for action. We are commanded to pray for the ultimate request for God’s justice and the Son of Man’s return.
Jesus has taught prayer by practice in his own life, pattern, with the disciples prayer of Mt. 6, and now the parable of prayer
This story is a parable. The word comes from two roots: Para meaning beside and bolo meaning to cast. A Parable is literally, a spiritual story cast alongside earthly life. It is unusual for it is only one of two parables where the meaning is written by the author before the parable.