I was outside a couple weeks ago, cutting my plants back for the winter when a single biting fly started circling. If I crouched I was fine, but the moment I stood up, that fly began to land on and bite my legs. No matter how much I swatted that thing and danced around, it would NOT leave me alone. I finally got so irritated that I put my stuff away and went inside.
A week later, I woke up early (amazingly, before everyone else in the house) with a concern that I have been wrestling with for months. I grabbed my Bible and sat down on the couch. Once again, I brought this nagging issue to the Lord and said, “Father, I still don’t know what to do about this. What should I do? What can I do? Please help me.” I opened the Word to where I had left off and this is what I read in the first verse of Luke 18. “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and never give up.”
“Ummm… OK, I heard you loud and clear, Lord!” There is nothing I am to do but continue to pray. I reread that verse several times and then the parable that followed. Jesus tells about a widow who goes before a self-centered, uncompassionate judge with a request. But this gal doesn’t just approach “his Honor” once or twice. No, this was a case of a desperate woman in need of someone who would hear her plea and help. I imagine her scurrying to be the first one in line every day to see the judge. Perhaps she called out to him while waiting her turn. Her desire for justice probably kept her up at night or woke her from sleep.
Whatever the case, her persistence paid off. The judge, not because of his goodness or concern, but because of his irritation with her, granted her request.
Jesus finishes this tale with a couple of thinkers for the disciples. He asks: If this unjust judge finally listens and grants help to eliminate his irritant, how much more will a loving God listen and care for His chosen people? Won’t he intently give ear to those who “cry out to him day and night”? We are told repeatedly throughout Scripture to pray without ceasing, to go before the throne with boldness, to pray and not give up, to seek, to ask, to come.
To the judge, the woman was like that biting fly…irritating enough to cause action. Unlike that calloused judge, our Father wants us to be persistent. He tells us to continue asking and pleading. This reminder was a cup of cold water to me. It was the refreshment and encouragement I needed to be faithful in prayer for those people and cares that seem to be on the long-term list. He sees, He hears and He cares. This I know.
“always pray and never give up”
~ Sarah Bennor