Jesus told His disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up (v.1).
It was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who said, “Perseverance is a great element of success. If you knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” I don’t know if Longfellow had the persistent widow in mind when he wrote those words, but I believe he’s right.
In Singapore, where I live, 85 percent of the population lives in close proximity in high-rise apartment flats. If you knock long enough and hard enough at the door, you’re sure to wake up everybody in the neighborhood!
In Jesus’ story, the persistent widow was dealing with a judge who could be bought. Unthinkable and unacceptable! We don’t like an unjust judge (Luke 18:6). We expect a judge to have integrity, regard for justice, and compassion for people (2 Chronicles 19:6). But this judge “neither feared God nor cared about people” (Luke 18:2).
Widows were the epitome of the destitute and desperate in ancient Jewish society. Though the widow had a valid claim (v.3), the judge refused to help her because she hadn’t offered him a bribe. Too poor to pay, her only recourse was her persistence—until she drove the judge “crazy”! (v.5). Jesus wants us to learn a good lesson from a bad example (v.6).
The parable consists of a “lesser to greater” argument (12:24,28). If a poor widow used an unjust and uncaring judge to get what she deserved, how much more will God’s child who goes to the throne of grace receive good gifts from a devoted heavenly Father who loves both justice and people! (Hebrews 4:16).
The question is not if God will answer prayer, for He most certainly will do so (Luke 18:8). The question is: Will we be faithful in prayer, even in the unfair circumstances and harsh realities of life? (v.8; Romans 12:12).
What does Jesus teach you about prayer in Luke 11:5?
What prayer of yours has remained unanswered for a long time? If God is eager to give us good gifts, why hasn’t God given you what you asked for?