The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)
By: Enzo Nguyen
In the parable of The Persistent Widow, Jesus tells of a marginalized woman seeking justice from a local judge. The judge is an arrogant, corrupt man with no regard for God nor his neighbors. Yet, through her relentless pestering the judge acquiesces and grants the widow her request. Jesus teaches us to pray with the persistence of the widow because if a corrupt judge is persuaded to grant justice how much more willing is our loving father to answer the prayers of his children when he hears our cry?
Like the widow who never relinquished her quest for justice, Jesus compels us to be unyielding in our faith; resolute in prayer through both good times and bad. Adversity tempers faith bringing us closer to God. Each trial overcome bridges the separation between the father and his followers until we live fully in his presence. God desires diligent, patient followers who trust in his faithfulness and rains down justice on those who seek.
Prayer is a spiritual discipline that demonstrates our desire for God’s love and mercy. He created us in his image and our desire for justice reflects his own love of righteousness. Through this practice we seek to establish authentic communication with God. Like worship through song, prayer should be a joyful experience glorifying the heavenly father. But passionate and committed prayer is difficult, especially in this of age rapidly changing technology. Our attention is easily diverted as a deluge of information drowns our thoughts. We preoccupy ourselves with business and the minutiae of daily life. Spirituality takes a back seat to what we suddenly regard as critical. This myopic perspective drives God from the center of our lives. But prayer restores the balance compelling us to turn to God for all our needs.
Prayer concentrates our focus on God and builds faith that is the foundation of our relationship with the creator. But even more, the act places us in spiritual proximity to God and thus eradicates the mystery of trying to discover who we are through the narrow scope of humanity. Instead, we are blessed with the understanding that God perceives us with perfect and unconditional love. He is faithful and dedicated to justice, shielding us from the despair that turns many to embrace sin. Without him, life is little more than a vacant stopover between birth and death. This parable reminds us God is just and faithful. He will make things right, in his time. Prayer constantly brings us back into the heart of God…where we can see God’s ultimate justice and rest in his present goodness.
Yet, many avoid consistent prayer out of a fear that they lack eloquent words or can’t quote scripture at the drop of a hat. God isn’t seeking poetic rhetoric, only sincere words spoken from the heart. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:5, “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”
Jesus entrusts us with the duty of steadfast, dedicated prayer, placing our faith in God’s will. Though we hope for a swift answer, we cannot question God’s timing and must pray with a humble, committed heart. Prayer empowers us to abandon our self-centered obsessions and petty concerns for everyday life so we may profess our allegiance to the heavenly father. When we look at the miracle of creation; our children, nature, a cool breeze on our face, what other choice do we have than to pray to God in gratitude?
The parable of The Persistent Widow makes clear the importance of constant prayer. But more than petitioning God, prayer demonstrates our continual devotion to the creator. The act proclaims our gratitude for Jesus’s sacrifice and zealous anticipation for his return. In Luke 18:8, Jesus asks, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Let our persistence in prayer and absolute faith be the answer.