4 Lessons on Prayer from the Importunate Widow

Don’t Quit Praying

One of my favorite Scripture passages in the gospels is found in Luke 18:1–8. The first verse states the Lord’s purpose, And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” The purpose of this parable was to encourage God’s people in the matter of praying; it was also to give them an incentive not to quit praying.

The parable is told of a widow that went to a judge to seek his help in a matter. In the beginning, he evidently didn’t give this woman any help. Perhaps he said, “I don’t have time, nor am I interested in this matter; goodbye.” The parable indicates that this woman didn’t take “no” for an answer. It seems that she was determined to get this judge to respond to her need in a positive way. The idea is that she was there continually.

I get the idea that she was there when the judge arrived for work and would speak to him on his way into the courtroom. Maybe she was there during his recess and would speak to him about her need and case. Perhaps she was there when he headed home. Finally, the judge said, “While I don’t fear God or regard the person of man, I am going to grant this woman’s request lest she continue badgering me and wearying me with her continual coming.” Then the Lord goes on to say, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him.” That is a rhetorical question; the obvious answer is, of course, He will avenge His own elect.

Let me give you some prayer lessons from this passage.

1. God expects us to pray. It is obvious from this passage that our Lord is encouraging us to pray.

2. God knows, as human beings, we tend to quit when things don’t immediately happen as we ask. We are told here to keep on praying and not to quit. The indication is that there are times when God is going to stretch out the praying time and delay His response.

3. God rewards those who continue praying.

4. We know that God isn’t giving us a lesson that we can have whatever we want as long as we pray long enough and endure enough—that is not the case. It is obvious that we are talking about something that is within the framework of God’s plan for us. He wants us to pray, and pray, and pray some more.

In my own life, I have found that God wants me to pray about His power for ministry. We need to know that the key to accomplishing things for God is not found in better programs or slick marketing techniques. While there is nothing wrong with programs or making sure the literature produced is first class, what we really need is the power of God upon our lives. That doesn’t come unless we are praying. There is a price to be paid to have God’s power.

Whatever your problem may be, it is a problem that God wants you to pray about. There are times when God puts things in our lives that cannot be dealt with any other way than by prayer and seeking Him. Let me encourage you to learn from this parable—God wants you to pray, and pray, and pray some more.

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