Have you asked God for something in prayer? Have you bombarded heaven with the same prayer request over and over again in attempt to get a breakthrough? I know that in times past, I have tried to pattern myself after the woman in the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8. In this parable Jesus tells the story of a widow woman who was being mistreated. She sought legal protection from a local judge who was known to be unrighteous. I had always been taught that the lesson that we should learn from this passage is that we should pray about a particular issue that we are facing, keep bombarding heaven about it until God “gives up” and finally gives us what we want. But I asked the question of God, as many of you may have, if I have faith, should I pray once, or keep asking? What does the Word of God have to say about the subject?
The Purpose of the Parable of the Persistent Widow
First, when you look at verse 1 in chapter 18 of the book of Luke, it reads: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Jesus tells us right up front the purpose of this parable was to encourage them to pray continuously and be persistent in prayer. The verse does not say that Jesus meant for them to pray about the same thing over and over. However, the Apostle Paul did communicate in I Thessalonians 5:17 Jesus’ intent: “Pray without ceasing.”
The Differences Between God and the Unjust Judge
Second, we should not conclude that God wants us to keep praying about the same thing over and over because God is NOT comparing Himself to the judge in the story. In fact He is provides a stark contrast when He says in verses 7-8, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him… I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” Thus, the Lord is different from the unjust judge in the following ways:
- God has integrity and character. He cannot be comparing Himself to this judge because He is absolutely nothing like him. God is not unjust. On the contrary He is totally righteous. Therefore, we should not assume that God meant for us to interpret this story, follow the widow woman’s example, and approach him about the same issue over and over.
- God wants to help you. In the beginning, the judge in the story was unwilling to help the widow. Our Father is never unwilling to come to our rescue. In fact, He says in Psalms 46:1 that “He is an ever-present help in the time of trouble.” In Jeremiah 33:3 He says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” So when you approach the throne of God, do so with the knowledge that He is ready and willing to help, provide for, protect and defend you when necessary.
- God is in covenant with you. In that passage, obviously Jesus had not died because He was the one telling the story. Therefore, since He has paid for your sins by dying on the cross, and if you have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, God is in covenant with you. That means that He has obligated himself to come to your rescue when you need help. So He cannot and does not have the same attitude toward you as exemplified by the unjust judge in this passage.
The Application for Believers
So what are the lessons that can be taken from passage? What should you do?
- Stay in constant contact with God. He says to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17), but that does not mean for you to pray repetitive prayers. Just stay in constant contact with Him, and He will surely show favor unto you, His beloved child.
- Ask for what you want one time. Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” My question is if you believe that you have received what you have asked for, then why would you ask for it again?
- Be persistent in faith no matter what. Luke 18:7 (KJV) says, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” That phrase “bear long” means you may have to wait for a time. But in the very next verse, Jesus said, “When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” That means that He expects you to be willing to stay in faith until He comes back to get you at the rapture if necessary.
To summarize, when you pray, believe that your request has been granted. Don’t continue to ask God for the same thing. It’s already done, so thank Him for it every chance you get. Don’t pray the same prayer over and over because that’s an indication that your faith is failing. All that is necessary is that you ask in faith once, and continue to expect an answer until you get your breakthrough. God will answer your prayer as He promised in His good time.
What has been your experience with persistence in prayer? Please leave a comment below.
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