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?”
Always pray. Don’t give up.
What’s it like for you when you go to God in prayer? For me, often, I approach God like a vending machine. My prayer is often the coin and the thing that I want is the item inside the machine. I pray, God doesn’t give it to me and then I assume that that’s that. You know what else, often my prayers are pretty selfish in the sense that they are for what one might call, wants. Are wants off limit to pray for? No, but they are also the kind of thing that we don’t persist in.
There is something about persisting in prayer, isn’t there? When I am praying for things that are beyond wants, when I start praying for God to do God things, I find that I often take a similar approach. I drop my prayer coin in the God vending machine and move on.
Rarely do I persist in prayer.
Yet, the reality is that we are called to persist with God in prayer. This doesn’t mean that we are going to get what we want. But, the practice of coming before God and praying for the deep things of life, the important things of life, leaves us changed. The value of persisting in prayer is to learn the humble resting on God. We also begin to see that God answers prayer and does so in ways we wouldn’t expect.
Beyond that, there is a promise in this teaching by Jesus. That is, that God will bring about justice. He will.
The challenge that is in the passage is the end, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” I think that Peterson gets to the heart of the matter in his translation of this bit when he writes, “But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”
Like so much of the New Testament the question is not whether or not there will be faith, but what kind of faith will be found.
Do you have a persistent faith? What are you persistently praying for? Can I join you in your persistence?