• Ashish Roy

Persistence In Prayer

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally, he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’  “And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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? 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?” (Luke 18:1-8 NIV)

The purpose of the parable: is that we might not lose heart in prayer. Parable means earthly story which has heavenly meaning.

Man is created with a spiritual instinct (Ecclesiastes 3:11), so prayer often comes naturally. Yet obstacles come in the way of effective and constant prayer, so Jesus knew we needed to be both taught and encouraged always to pray


Jesus did not mean that we should always have our knees bent and eyes closed in prayer, but we must always be in what is sometimes called the spirit of prayer. Paul mentioned this idea in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 when he wrote, pray without ceasing. It’s hard to measure how much good such constant prayer would do, and how much worse it would keep us from.

Often we fail in praying because we lose heart. We become discouraged, and then no longer pray as we should.

It is easy to lose heart in prayer because prayer is hard work that we too often approach lightly. In Colossians 4:12, Paul praised a man named Epaphras because he was always laboring fervently…in prayers. Paul knew that prayer was hard work that required fervent labor.

i) It is easy to lose heart in prayer because the Devil hates prayer. If prayer were powerless, it would be easy.

ii) It is easy to lose heart in prayer because we are not always convinced of the reality of the power of prayer. Too often, prayer becomes a last resort instead of a first resource.

This second point reminds me of a testimony I read in a book. A book by Hazel Hoskins named …and I Sat There. It is a book about some stories of her life as a missionary and her husband Bob Hoskins but from the perspective of Hazel. Now, in that book, there was an incident Hazel shared, where she was standing at the kitchen sink around 10 a.m. washing dishes. She was overwhelmed with a burden for Bob(her husband), so she went upstairs to their bedroom, threw herself on the bed, and wept and prayed for over an hour until the burden lifted.

Their whole family was in Beirut, Lebanon but they had to go from there because of some war I guess, and then here Bob goes back to Beirut because of some work, and there he was at a house with a couple of other missionaries and some people came to kill him but something strange happened. The people who came to kill Bob for some reason ascend stairs, get around the third or fourth-floor but rush back down. Another group went by the stairs and the same thing happened. No one knows what exactly stopped them from coming but it is possible that angels about nine or ten feet tall were poised on the third-floor landing and perhaps confronted them.

Now it was 7 p.m. in Lebanon when this happened and it was 10 a.m. in the USA when Hazel was overwhelmed with the burden.

“I learned two very valuable lessons through the Lebanon experience. Firstly, the value of intercessory prayer. If God burdens you to pray for someone, stop whatever you’re doing to pray for that person. It can mean the difference between life and death…” (an excerpt from …and I Sat There by Hazel Hoskins)

Jesus lived a prayerful life, and He ever lives to pray for His people (Hebrews 7:15). We must therefore not lose heart in prayer.

In the parable, The judge was ungodly, both as a man and a judge. Yet in the end, he answered the woman’s request. The only reason he gave her what she wanted was because the woman wouldn’t stop bothering him.

The unjust judge only reluctantly answered the woman’s request. Jesus did not give this parable to say that God was like the unjust judge but unlike him. God loves to answer our prayers, and He even helps us when we pray. God is on your side when you pray, not against you (as the unjust judge was against the widow).

The woman had to overcome the judge’s reluctance to help. We often feel that we must do the same when we pray – use our persistence to overcome God’s reluctance. This misses the point of the parable entirely. Jesus did not say that men always ought to pray and not lose heart because God is reluctant, but because He isn’t, and that is our encouragement to prayer.

Sometimes it does seem to us that God is reluctant to answer our prayers. Yet the delays in prayer are not needed to change God, but to change us. Persistence in prayer brings a transforming element into our lives, building into us the character of God Himself. It is a way that God builds into us a heart that cares about things the same way He does. “Too many prayers are like boy’s runaway knocks, given, and then the giver is away before the door can be opened.” (Spurgeon)

Both Jesus (Mark 14:39) and Paul (2 Corinthians 12:8) prayed repeatedly for the same thing. However, we must guard against the persistence of unbelief – repeating prayer with the attitude that God never heard us the first time.

Right now we can see the upheaval and crisis going on between Ukraine and Russia, which is causing problems for people there. We as Christians should pray for the affected people in these troubled times. And we should also pray for the leaders in Russia and Ukraine that they take the right decision soon because it is the people who suffer not leaders.

Pray and never lose heart.

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