Summary: Persistent praying is more than spoken words; it is a way of life.
October 20, 2019
Living in Persistent Prayer
Sermon Prayer: “Heavenly Father, I stand before Your people, to deliver Your message. Though the words are mine and I prepared this message, I pray that this message is Your message in its entirety. I pray your blessing and anointing on its delivery, its reception and most of all its application in our lives.” Amen
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘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.’”
Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
When I read this passage and began putting thoughts together for the preparation of this message, I was drawn to a message that I shared on Valentine’s Day 2018. It was entitled: “Paul Says, Hang In There”. Surely, you remember it also. Right?
Today’s reading is the parable of the “Persistent Widow.” It focuses on the theme of constancy, persistence and hanging in there.
As Jesus speaks this parable, we read in verse 1 that we are to pray and not lose heart. The King James version reads “and not faint”.
He isn’t using that word in the sense of “fainting” or “passing out”, Jesus, as He does so masterfully is using a play on words to convey a point. When we neglect a life habit of praying and worshiping, we distance ourselves from God. When we go through the events and trials of our daily lives, we have an advocate who is at our side constantly when we pray without ceasing. Do not misunderstand what praying without ceasing means. Certainly not a mantra of words or even channeled thoughts. What it really means is having a heart for God and having a heart for God around the clock not only in church; not only when on bended knee in prayer mode; and not only when we sense a need but all the time. It becomes a natural element of our being, where we don’t have to make a conscious effort. Warren Weirsbe says it becomes as much a part of living as breathing. I like that analogy.
Moving on, we are presented with a judge, who did not fear God nor regard man. In my first career in law enforcement for over twenty years, I quite naturally have a bit of experience appearing before judges. Without going into any detail, just let me say that I have seen a judge or two that fits this description to a T.
Next comes a widow who seeks justice from an adversary. We need to understand that in this era of time, women were regarded in matters of law different than men. Women rarely appeared in a court of law. Being a widow, may have gained her some empathy or sympathy to allow her to enter the presence of the judge. Even so, this judge held no regard for man (I’m thinking man here refers to mankind), thus he was most likely not interested in her case. The reading says that the widow troubles him, and he appears to think that rather than have her continually appear asking to be heard, he will just take the case and adjudicate it or as it says in the reading - avenge her. The point to be made here is that of persistence on her part. She was stubborn enough to stay the course until she was heard.
Now, Jesus addresses the parable and contrasts it with our Christian walk. The widow has little standing and is not held in regard by the judge. We, on the other hand have great standing with God. We are His elect. He sacrificed His only Son for us. To me that means that God holds us in high esteem. God loves us. Jesus says if this judge of self-importance finds a way to give her what she deserves, how much more will God give to His that “cry out to Him day and night?” AGAIN, we are understanding this praying constantly, this crying out persistently on our part is that of the heart. It is more than words; it is our way of life – our constant way of life.