Persistence in Prayer

Josh WannerDevotions

1[Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Luke 18:1-8

In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable to teach his disciples that “they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”

I believe this is a message we need today, as much as Jesus’ own disciples did. It is far too easy to find reasons to “lose heart.”

Where have you most recently been experiencing the world’s brokenness? Is it through a challenging or strained relationship that you are currently navigating? Is it through health struggles of your own, or someone you love? Is it through the news of hurricanes, death, and violence beamed into your home through every media channel. Is it some combination of these, or something else entirely?

And further, these struggles and trials of this life seem to have no end. They have always been, and it seems at times, that they will never go away. Sadly, this leads some to wonder if there is any point in continued prayer at all. God knows what is good for us, and he at times seems to not care to give it to us.

However, in Luke 18, Jesus tells his disciples a parable that they would NOT lose heart or despair of all that aims to destroy them in this life. Jesus tells a story where even an unrighteous judge who did not fear God nor respect man ultimately vindicates the powerless widow who constantly pleaded for justice.

Where is the hope in this? It at times feels like God is an unrighteous Judge, who continues to allow so much pain in this world. However, in the end, all who call upon his name, all who plead to him for vindication will receive the reward of rest from all their pain and suffering.

Christ has come into this world, and he will come again. When he does, there will be no more heartache or pain. Then there will be no more broken relationships, no more disease, and no more natural disasters that uproot and destroy lives. There will be only peace, Joy, and good life with our King Jesus.

However, until that day arrives, we are called as God’s church to be in persistent prayer. We do not lose heart in spite of the challenges and sin of the world around us. We turn, each morning, each evening, throughout each day – calling upon our heavenly father, asking him as dear children ask their dear father, and knowing and trusting that he is good to hear us and answer us.

Based on Luther’s Morning Prayer
I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear son, that you have kept me this night/day from all harm and danger. I pray that you would keep me safe today/tonight, and that everything I do would please you. Forgive me for losing heart at times and forgetting that you are in charge of this world and have promised to give me what is best. Keep me fervent in your word and prayer, that I would always trust in you for every good gift. Into your hands I commend myself, my body, my soul and all things. Send your holy angel to be with me always, that the Evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.