Theme of the Week: Prayer
Bible Verse: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”. Matthew 7:11
Scripture Reading: Luke 18:1-9
During a mission trip to Tennessee to rebuild homes destroyed by a tornado, Wayne, who had joined our group from another church, asked me about prayer. Wayne said he’d been praying for nearly twenty years for God to reconcile him and his ex-wife! What encouraged him to keep praying was Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18, introduced with these words: “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (v. 1). Wayne wanted to know if God’s silence after all these years was a sign that he should finally give up.
In Jesus’ parable, the widow has been wronged by an adversary. She had little power to gain justice for herself, so she sought the help of the judge who had the power to grant her justice—if only he would do it! Although the judge didn’t “fear God or care what people think,” because the widow will not stop pestering him about it, the unjust judge saw that she got justice (verse 4). Jesus applies the parable by saying, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly” (vv. 7-8). If an unjust judge will give justice to those who persevere in asking him, how much more will our Heavenly Father give justice to His children who persevere in prayer!
But how does this parable apply to situations like Wayne’s? The important thing to remember is that God is in charge of “bring[ing] about justice for his chosen ones.” He is not constrained by the specifics of our requests but is free to answer our prayers however He wills, for our good and for His glory. This parable does not promise that God will grant us our specific requests, only that God—more lovingly and more fatherly than any judge—will quickly see that we get what we need.
Wayne told me that God had softened his heart and blessed his life in many ways in the years he had been praying. He also shared that, even after all this time, his desire to be reconciled to his ex-wife was strong. I encouraged him to keep praying, while maintaining his trust that although God may not be granting him his specific request, God is hearing and answering in many ways.
Trusting God is what this parable is about. Even when our specific prayer requests aren’t answered, Jesus encourages us not to give up praying. We are to continue to prayerfully put all our situations into our Father’s Hands, and trust that He will quickly intervene, according to His wisdom and great love for us.
Prayer: Dear Lord, when you do not grant me my specific prayer requests, help me not to lose heart. Give me eyes to see how you are working in this situation. Help me to keep trusting you in it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Reflection: How is your Heavenly Father currently at work in the situations you have been praying for?
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