Summary: The parable of the unrighteous judge and persistent widow teaches us much about the need for persistence in prayer and how God moves in our lives to answer our prayer and bring about God’s will.
Luke 18:1-8 “The Art of Asking”
I received an E-mail message that contained a list of questions with no clear-cut answer.
• Why do doctors and lawyers call what they do practice?
• Why is abbreviation such a long word?
• Why is a boxing ring square?
• What was the best thing before sliced bread?
These are light-hearted questions, but there are serious questions that we find ourselves asking, also.
• Why do good people suffer?
• Why do we hurt one another?
• Why do some of the best prayers seem to go unanswered?
These questions lead to one crucial question. What can we count on from God, when we face the troubles of the world, the heartaches of life, and the tough challenges of this existence?
GOD WILL HEAR US WHEN WE PRAY
This parable is not an allegory. God cannot be equated with the unrighteous judge. Rather it is a parable of comparison. In comparison to the unrighteous judge, who eventually gives in to the widow’s requests, God is much more willing to hear us and to answer our prayers.
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus invites his followers to approach God as their father. Children seem to approach their father’s with a great boldness. “Hey, Dad, can I have the keys to the car?” “Dad, can you give me twenty bucks?” “Dad, can you give me a ride to school?” In the same manner we are invited to boldly approach God.
Like all fathers, God longs to hear our prayers—even though it would be nice if we’d talk to him at other times then simply when we need something. No matter what, God is always available, waiting to hear us and attentive to our needs.
There are times when we feel so all alone. It is comforting to know that we can share our loneliness and struggles with God and have a compassionate and understanding reception when we do.
GOD WILL BE ACTIVE IN OUR LIVES AND WORLD
It is wonderful to have the father/son access to God. Christianity is the only religion in the world that understands their relationship with God from this perspective. But if God was only a distant being that could only listen, rather than act, our prayers wouldn’t be much comfort. God is more than a grandparent who lives across the country, who listens to the complaints and sorrows of his or her grandchild, but can do nothing except offer sympathy.
The judge eventually acted on the widow’s petitions. He moved and brought her justice. In the same manner, God moves in our lives to answer our prayers and to meet our needs. Throughout the Bible, we have examples of God answering the prayers of God’s people and acting in their lives.
• God answers the cry of the Israelites and brings them out of slavery into the freedom of the Promised Land.
• Jesus answered the prayers of the disciples when they were caught in the storm, and stilled the wind and the waves.
• God met the needs of all humankind by sending Jesus to die for us and live that we may live.
God answers our prayers in God’s own time and in God’s own way.
GOD PROMISES TO HOLD US CLOSE
We have God’s promise that absolutely nothing in all of creative will be able to separate us from God’s love.
No matter what difficulties we encounter, God promises to walk with us through them. God will enable us to get to the other side. Often God does this through other people.
God is our comfort and strength when life threatens to overwhelm us. The Psalmist rejoiced that God was his fortress and refuge.
We discover that even though we may not have our prayers answered in the manner that we wanted them answered, that having God draw us close during the struggles of life is a gracious answer to our prayers in itself.
This parable is more than just about us and God answering our prayers. It is also about the establishment of justice. The widow faced injustice and cry out for justice. We are called, as Christians, to pray not just for our needs but also for the needs of others.
The establishment of justice is a long time coming. We continue to pray even thought God tarries. As we pray, we may also discover that God intends to use us to answer our prayers. We not only pray for justice, we also live to establish it in our world today. Amen