Summary: Prayer is an arduous task, persistent prayer brings result. The fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much. Engaging in prayer means standing in the face of defeat while others are falling, prayer requires a determination to continue waiting on the Lor
Among the vices mentioned in Galatians 5:19 are anger and stubbornness but these can be used in a holy way. Hatred of evil is considered a holy hatred, so is holy stubbornness that serves the purpose of carrying out an effort in a determined, persistent way until one prevails. Holy stubbornness is to be persistent with God like the annoying little old lady in the parable of the poor widow and the wicked judge.
The text tells of a parable that comes as a challenge to followers of Christ, encouraging us to pester Him and continually look to, rely on and ask of Him. It is a reminder for us not to get discouraged when it seems answers to prayer are not forthcoming. Jesus is making a promise to His people through this parable that He hears us and will bring about good for us if only we will be persistent in prayer and not fainting. He that must receive answer to his prayer must not lose heart.
The parable is about a widow who was suffering an injustice. A widow, in those days and in that part of the world, did not have a lot of security. She was at the mercy of people, and had to rely on others to get things done, sometimes at the convenience of benefactors. This widow suffered an injustice and the only recourse she had was the town’s judge who appeared not to be paying attention. She was dealing with a corrupt judge who was Godless, lacked compassion, and no regard for the highest possible standard of justice. This judge was the one with all the power and on whom the poor widow had no choice but to rely on. He was the one who was able to grant or deny her justice. Luke tells us right away that the judge didn’t fear God or respect people. Can you think of anyone you know who does not fear God and only thinks of himself? These are two powerful human vices packed into just a few words for anyone to carry around.
Anyone who has suffered injustice knows how it feels. Injustice can so easily put even the best of a human soul in a state of insanity, bitterness, depression, worthlessness, anger, fear, and a sense of utter helplessness and hopelessness. In fact, when we suffer injustice, we may even begin to think that God doesn’t care just like the judge in the parable didn’t care. We tend to think that life is not worth living.
Our disposition is supposed to be towards God, and towards our neighbor. These words are all the more troubling because of the judge’s position. With the power available to him, he was supposed to do what was just and what was right. We find out from the text that such was not to be expected from him.
Widows could be particularly vulnerable. Widows are among those with a strong claim on God’s justice. In Psalms 68:5 we can see that God was always on the side of the widow.
This widow was desperate. And what was it that the widow wanted? Justice! “Grant me justice against my opponent,” she said. Let’s note here that the woman didn’t say, “I want my money,” or “I want my house”, or, “that material thing belongs to me.” No! She said, “Give me justice.” The cry for justice carried her to the wicked judge. What did this widow do to obtain justice? She was persistent. She refused to give up. She was engaged in holy stubbornness while dealing with a judge who was concerned most of the time with only what affected him directly; making decisions more out of expediency than out of selfless motives?
The judge responded predictably at first. Since he carried the qualifications of not fearing God, and didn’t respect anyone, it is no surprise to us that he initially ignored the woman’s pleas. But eventually, he reasoned with himself, ‘though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’ (Luke 8:4-5). The unjust judge acted against his own character… he granted justice… because he wanted to be rid of a nuisance. He feared that the woman would use her persistence and resoluteness to snuff life out of him, and so he granted her what she wanted.
Jesus is addressing the issue of prayer in this parable. Persistent prayer involves being stubborn about a situation. It is an encouragement to “praying always" in the face of injustice. When we start to stubbornly live out our prayers, that’s when our prayers become effective. When we spend more time praying about something rather than complaining about it; when our concerns are made known through supplication rather than through murmuring; when we derive satisfaction from the ability to knock the doors of Heaven rather than seeking the pity of people around us; when we refuse to take no for an answer; when we will not allow Satan to use the weapon of delay to steal our testimony from us; that is when testimony is bound to come.