The Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1–8) - Radical

The Parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1–8)

And Jesus told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said in a certain city, there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, give me justice against my adversary. For a while he refused. But afterward he said to himself, though, I need to fear God nor respect man yet, because this widow keeps bothering me. I will give her justice so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming. And the Lord said, hear what the unrighteous judge says and will not God give justice to his elect who cried to him day and night. Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?
-Luke 18:1-8

So, we could spend a ton of time on this story on this parable, but don’t miss the point. So I almost just read Luke 18:1, but it kind of sets the whole parable up. And I would have to tell the rest of the parable to explain Luke 18:1, but Jesus said, or the Bible says he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

O God, teach us to always pray and not lose heart. Help us to pray with persistent trust in You.

So sometimes we might be confused about what a parable means, but here the Bible makes it really clear. This is a parable about how we ought always to pray and not lose heart. And then you have this example of this unjust judge who gives this persistent widow, what she is asking because of her persistence. And then Jesus says, how much more will God who is just give us what we ask as we persist in asking as we pray and don’t lose heart.

I think about the times I have prayed and pleaded for something and it seems like God has not answered or been answering. I can think about even right now as I am praying. My family is just pleading day in and day out for the way to be open, to go pick up our son who we are adopting. We’ve been waiting for months and nothing has happened.

And I think about a message I got today from a brother in Christ whose wife is struggling with cancer and they’re pleading, they’re pleading day in and day out for this cancer to go away. And doesn’t seem like God is answering, but this is where Luke 18 is so powerful. Like we ought always to pray and not lose heart. Don’t lose heart. And why do we not lose heart? And the whole point of Luke 18 is because we know the character of the God, of the judge, who we are praying to.

We know he is wise. He is good. He is loving. He is perfect. He is sovereign. And so we can trust him even as he doesn’t answer in the ways that we would like, we can pray and not lose heart because we are holding fast to who he is, what he has promised in his word, that he will work all these things together for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose, that he will glorify his name by providing good for his children.

So God, we pray right now, even specifically for the things that we have been praying for a long time, certainly adoption of our son’s top of the list of things that come to my mind. But I know there are other things that come to other people’s minds, things that we have asked for over and over and over again.

So we come to you based on Luke 18. And we ask again. We ask again for your provision, we ask again for your help, God, we ask for justice. We ask for mercy, we ask for healing. We ask for you to do that, which only you can do. We’re coming to you desperate. And we are praying with heart, with faith, with trust in who you are, what you have promised in your word, that you will work in ways that are good for us and glorifying to your name.

Even ways we might not be able to understand. We say we trust in you. So we pray with heart. We pray with zeal. We pray with faith in who you are and how you will work. And ultimately, as we pray, we do look forward to when your justice will fully and finally rain. Jesus come quickly.

We pray, may your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This is what we pray continually more than anything else. Our father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Consumate your kingdom, return Lord Jesus and assert your rule and reign over all, bring a new heaven and a new earth. We’re going to keep praying that we’re not going to lose heart until the day that happens until we see your face. Lord teach us to pray with persistence like this, with persistent hearts and persistent trust in you in Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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