Word from Scotland’ from Sandy Shaw: When it Comes to Prayer, Persist, Persevere, Even Pester God
In Luke Chapter 18, we come to verses which deal with prayer – one of the hardest things in the whole world. That is why so few people pray. Reading the Bible is hard – prayer is harder. Watching television – talking with people – singing praises – all of these are particularly easy compared with praying. The Prayer Meeting in many churches is the poorest meeting attended. Why? Because it such hard work! Put a man who can speak on almost any topic in a Prayer Meeting and he suddenly goes dumb!
In Cowdenbeath, a man raised a most awkward matter at a Church meeting, and I asked him to pray about it there and then, and lead us in prayer. That was the end of awkward issues being raised needlessly and with malevolent intent!
Praying is so central and so vital. Jesus Christ is telling His disciples here to pray, and to go on praying. They are never to lose heart. They must never give in when it comes to prayer. When it comes to prayer we are not even to consider saying – What is the point of it all? What is the purpose? What is the meaning of all this praying?
As we consider the prayers we have prayed over these past months, we have seen some results – some consequences – things have happened, but we are also very much aware of other prayers – as sincere and real and serious – and these remain a question – a battle ground as we await an answer – some kind of reply which we can understand.
Jesus has been talking about the Kingdom. Jesus has been warning us not to run all over the place looking here and there for signs of the kingdom – signs which will never be seen – signs are not related to the kingdom. We are NOT to look for blessings where there are no blessings.
Jesus has been teaching us regarding His Coming again – His Coming Back – and Jesus has been speaking about the deteriorating condition of the world.
It is at this point that Jesus speaks about how vital and important it is that disciples continue to pray. Do not give up and do not give in. Do not even consider these as possibilities.
Why do some people seem to get on better than others? In prayer? Why do some people appear to get right through to God? Right through? And others don’t? It can be answered by these words in our verses here – Persistence and Perseverance.
To teach this Jesus told a parable – "to show them that they should always pray and not give up". Now if Jesus has to teach disciples these lessons, that indicates that HE realised that some might just feel like giving up.
It is easier to watch television than pray – it is easier to read the Bible and sing praise songs than pray. Whatever you are good at, I am sure you find that easier than praying.
Jesus says – There was a judge – he was not a godly man – he didn’t care for people. Is there anything we can learn from such a man? Should we just discard such a man as having nothing to teach us spiritually? That is NOT Jesus’ attitude. Jesus sees something in this situation from which we can learn, even from this hard cold uncaring Judge. (Perhaps we should take time to give God thanks that our courts are basically free from corruption in this land – and within our legal system – in comparison with so many other lands today.)
At that time, you could slip something to the Judge so that he would decide in your favour.
Now there was a widow who kept coming to this Judge, asking him to look at her case, and sort out what was wrong. She had no money to bribe the corrupt judge. She had only one weapon – Persistence. The judge could not be bothered. There was nothing in it for him, materially speaking. Why should he look at this woman’s grievance?
She had been wronged – so what? But she persevered – she nagged away. It was all she could do. She went on and on at him. She became a bit of a pest.
She pestered him. She persisted. She persevered. She kept coming with her request. She was holding on. She just refused to give up.
This unjust judge said – "She is wearing me out – I’ll look at her case if only for peace. I just can’t be bothered with her. She keeps bothering me.
Now Jesus says – "Listen to what the unjust judge says." If this is how a cold uncaring judge can be persuaded to pay attention, will not God bring about justice for His Chosen Ones – who cry out to Him day and night?
Will God keep putting you off? I tell you – He will see they get justice and get it quickly. Our God is a good Judge – He is fair – He is just. He is keen to do what is right for us, and He is open to hear our prayers – IF WE PERSIST.
As far as prayer is concerned – we are to be like the woman. We are to go on pleading with the Father, even in times of pain and suffering and persecution – even when we think He is not dealing with our requests – even when we think it is all a bit of a waste of time – even when we think we are getting nowhere.
The widow was in the right. We have to make sure we are praying properly. We have to ensure our prayers are right prayers, and that our requests are valid. Jesus teaches us that it is right to go on praying – day and night – looking to God to bring about justice. "God – look at my case and act."
Then Jesus says, However, when the son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? When Jesus Christ returns, will you found to have remained faithful in prayer? It is an important question.
–Sandy Shaw http://www.liveasif.org/