Luke 18:1-8 (ESV)
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Jesus taught his disciples an important lesson about their need to continue in prayer by using another parable. He began with a merciless judge, a man not driven by kindness or pity towards those who came to him. In Jesus’ parable, a widow came to this judge. He should have protected her, as God’s law taught that widows were to be cared for. She was probably in financial need, and she was possibly being ripped off. Though the judge was unrighteous, he still had the power to help, so she begged him again and again for justice. The widow’s persistence began to annoy the judge, and to avoid her continued bugging, the judge agreed to help her out. In verses 6 through 8, Jesus compares and contrasts the judge to God. Both God and the judge have the power and authority to make a difference for those who come to them for justice, but unlike the judge, God is kind and compassionate. Jesus encouraged his disciples’ persistence in prayer. God will vindicate his children, and we are never to stop asking that his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus desires to find faith on earth. His followers are to be wait and pray for his return without growing weary. His question is intended to encourage our steadfastness in prayer.
The widow is a picture of the believer in great need. As we live out our Christianity in a world that opposes God, we too are in great need of God’s mercy and compassion. As Jesus taught, if the ungodly judge responded to the widow’s cries for help, how much more will our loving and holy Father respond to the cries of his children? Jesus used this parable to make his point clear: in the midst of suffering, his followers are to pray again and again for his justice. If you have lost heart or grown tired of prayer, be encouraged by Jesus’ parable today. Have loved ones in your life not yet surrendered to Jesus? Are people or circumstances making it hard for you to stand up for the gospel? Do you struggle with sins that you need God’s power to overcome? Ask him for help! Don’t stop praying! If you are a child of God, he loves you, and he is listening.