Friday, May 17, 2019
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Let me share words by E.M. Bounds in his classic book, Purpose in Prayer. He writes: “We must not only pray, but we must pray with great urgency, with intentness and with repetition. We must not only pray, but we must pray again and again. We must not get tired of praying. We must be thoroughly in earnest, deeply concerned about the things for which we ask, for Jesus Christ made it very plain that the secret of prayer and its success lie in its urgency. We must press our prayers upon God.”
We may wonder why God wants us to continue praying, to keep asking after the heart of God. Why does Jesus share this parable? Is it because we are too lazy in our prayers, too much inclined to put ourselves in the center of the universe and too little inclined to let God be in charge? We presume we can change God’s mind with one short prayer that is more like a text message than a deep communion with God. We act as though by prayer we can order God around like some genie in a bottle.
God wants to know that prayer and, by extension our petitions, are important enough to spend quality time with God in prayer. God wants us to get to know Him by reading his Word and allowing it to be planted deep within our souls. Then we can judge the quality of our petitions to see whether it aligns with God’s plan for our lives. All this takes time, but God doesn’t want us to give up – either on our praying or on God’s love for us.
What’s the real point of prayer? Jesus lays it out plainly as he asks, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Prayer, like faith, takes time to mature – even a life time. May we be found faithful when Jesus returns.
Dear God, let me be mindful that you want me to stay close to you in prayer. I don’t want to utter a prayer once and walk away from you like some distant relative. I want to spend time getting to know you and coming to appreciate ever deeper facets of your love. You are so worth my time and attention, Lord! Keep me coming to you, ever praying and ever trusting in your guidance. Then I know that what I ask will be according to your will for me in Christ Jesus my savior. Amen.