Not long after I trusted in Christ in my late teens, I decided I needed to spend more time in prayer. I decided that I should pray for at least an hour a day. I knelt by my bedside, prayed for myself and then friends and family. When it seemed like an hour had passed, I glanced at the clock. It had only been a few minutes!
Being persistent in prayer is not a matter of recording the minutes or hours. It is the pattern of praying for the same thing repeatedly over a long period. In today’s parable, Jesus compares it to a widow who repeatedly comes to a judge with her plea. In verse 2, Jesus describes the judge as someone “who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.” With this picture, Jesus accurately captures the imbalance of power we often feel in prayer. The answer lies in God’s hands, and we do not always feel that He takes notice of us.
Jesus’ point is not that God is like that disinterested judge, who only takes note of the woman’s case so that she will quit bothering him. God is deeply interested in those who approach Him in prayer. Jesus is showing that God will not ignore our requests. God will not be slow in His response. God will not refuse to deal justly with those who come to Him for help.
Yet the story also shows our perspective. We may sometimes feel as if God is both slow and unfeeling toward us when we pray. We may begin to doubt Him. Remember that our definition of what is “quick” may not be the same as Jesus’ definition. However, God’s answers to our prayers are always right on time.
>> Have you been waiting for God to answer a particular prayer? Do not be afraid to pray it again and again. God welcomes the prayers of His chosen ones, “who cry out to him day and night” (v. 7).
Lord, we quickly tire of bringing the same petitions to You day after day. Discouragement, a sense of futility, or even boredom can tempt us to give up. Please help us persevere and reassure us that You are listening.