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Thursday, September 23, 2010

9/23/10 Luke 18:1-8 Perseverance in Prayer

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' 4 "For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually come and attack me!' "  6 And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 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? 8 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?"

Thoughts: The lesson is clear that we should always pray and not give up.  "Always" is a continual, long time- it is an absolute that we cannot fill.  Yet it is a worthy goal.  Likewise never giving up is quite a task.  We live in a faithless age in which many feel that we should give up, not bother God in prayer for He is too busy. 
But someone who has nowhere else to turn, desperately wants help, and believes it is in the power of God to help- really and truly- has reason to be importunate and persistent.  This lesson is almost foreign to us who give up easily, who are taught impatience and instant gratification in an instant age. Yet we need to persist and persevere faithfully in prayer.  We put our trust in secondary-secular helps and not in the ultimate-primary help- God.

John Calvin abridged: Perseverance in prayer is rare and difficult.  Yet when our first prayers are not answered, we immediately throw away all our hope as well as the ardor of prayer.  The parable's point is not that we gradually bend God's will to ours, but that we should persevere.   If the wicked and hard-hearted judge gives in, will not the gracious and merciful Father care for us? Let us contend against our impatience, so that a long delay does not make us discontinue our prayers. 

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