Prayer: The Judge & The Widow
In the parable of the Judge & the Widow, Jesus teaches us fervency in prayer. He once again chooses a story that his hearers would be familiar with. It is the story about a Roman Judge. A Roman Judge held the total power of Roman administration, jurisdiction, defense, and maintenance of law & order in the province. In the eyes of his superiors, the first priority was public order, not the execution of justice. If an innocent Galilean peasant was the focal point of a civil disturbance, the quelling of the disturbance, and not justice for the person involved, was the uppermost concern for Roman officials fearful of revolts in occupied provinces. As a reflection of public opinion concerning Roman Rule, it was a common turn of phrase in Greek to say, “the robber judge” in lieu of “the honorable judge.”
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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? 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?” – Luke 18:1-8
In Jewish culture, you had set times you were supposed to pray each day. It was ritual. It was legalistic. This is not what Jesus was teaching. It is good to have set times to pray. We need this in our lives, but Jesus was speaking more of being in an attitude of prayer where we have the freedom to carry on a conversation with God whenever and wherever needed. In the second half of verse 1, Jesus states, “…do not lose heart.” It is easy to lose heart in prayer because prayer is hard work. It is easy to lose heart in prayer because the Devil hates prayer. If prayer were powerless, it would be easy. It is easy to lose heart in prayer because we are not always convinced of the reality of the power of prayer. Too often, prayer becomes a last resort instead of a first resource. Pray to STRENGTHEN your relationship with God. Persistence in prayer brings a transforming element into our lives, building in us the character of God Himself. It is a way that God builds in us a heart that cares about things the same way He does. God knows what I really need long before I ever know it. God knows what I’m going to be needing six months from now. God knows what I’m going to be needing five years from now. Prayer is not really informing God of my needs. Jesus said, “Your Father knows what you have need of before you ever ask Him.” Prayer is one of the ways God builds and strengthens our faith…. You want a stronger faith? …then spend more time in prayer each and every day!