The Key to Answered Prayer: The Parable of the Persistent Widow–Luke 18:1-8
1 Then [Jesus] told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, 2 “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. 3 And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
4 For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, 5 because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.’”
6 The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. 7 Will not God then secure the rights of His chosen ones who call out to Him day and night? Will He be slow to answer them? 8 I tell you, He will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”
Jesus begins this parable by explaining the necessity of ‘praying always, and without becoming weary’ (v 1). Pause for just a moment and think about your prayer life. When you pray and do not receive what you wish for, what do you do? Do you give up? Do you begin to complain and murmur? Or, do you persevere in faith with your requests? Throughout this text, Christ teaches the importance of faithful, perseverant prayer and of not losing heart in our petitions … no matter how long it takes.
In the above illustration, the judge is neither a man of faith nor particularly kind but ends up granting the widow her request simply to put an end to her unrelenting pleas. To that end Jesus asks, ‘Will not God then of His [faithful] who call out to Him day and night?'” (v 6)
If an unkind and unfaithful man is moved to answer the persistent plea of a begging woman, can you imagine what an all-loving, all-just God of the Universe will do for His Child? The question isn’t whether or not God will answer our prayer. He most certainly will. But, according to Christ, there is a condition. God will answer our prayer IF we remain faithful disciples, perseverant in prayer. The greater our faith, the more effective our prayers become. This is, in part, because we will a) have a closer relationship with God and b), most importantly, in the course of growing in communion with Him, become more closely aligned with His will.
The command to persevere in prayer must hold some serious weight in the Heavenly realm because it is a theme woven throughout all of Holy Scripture. If you’ve been feeling frustrated lately, your prayers aren’t being answered, keep praying! Like the poor widow, push through your frustration and be persistent (and faithful) in your prayers. Do not give up. God will answer you in His time. But remember: the greater our faith and persistence, the more effective our prayers will be.