Luke 18: 1-8

Fiona Bridges
Fiona Bridges

This year, for the first time I decided to brave the January sales in pursuit of a fantastically cheap, yet elegant dress for an upcoming party. As sales shopping is not something I am accustomed to I took along a trusted friend to show me the ropes. As we rifled our way through racks of miss matched clothing I found myself suddenly overwhelmed by the scene around me. The stores were literally swarming with bargain hunters in a hurried frenzy to find the best deal and find it first! It was a scene of absolute chaos!

If you were after a mustard yellow cardigan in size 16 you would have been fine...there seemed to be a never ending supply of them; but if you were after something more specific, it was somewhat more difficult. After dragging myself around three separate stores I quickly gave up my search and returned home empty handed.

My friend, on the other hand, stuck to her guns and returned home 4 hours later laden with bargains galore! As she paraded around her living room the next day showing me her gorgeous new outfits I just couldn't believe it! 'How did you do it', I asked.

'Well', she said, 'it's really all about being persistent'!

Our verse this week has a lot more substance to it than this little story, but it too is all about persistence. Take a moment to grab your Bible and read through Luke 18: 1-8, the parable of the persistent widow. As you do, have a think through the following questions:

  • What state was the widow in?

  • What was the character of the judge?

  • What did the widow do?

  • What was the result?

  • What might God want to tell us through this passage?

According to the passage, Jesus told this story to encourage his disciples to be persistent when it comes to prayer (Luke 18:1)

You see if even an unjust judge would grant justice to a woman he had no concern for because she persisted, how much more will our loving Father in Heaven answer the prayers of his children!

The way I see it, this parable is not about saying: 'if you nag God for long enough he will eventually give in and listen to you'. It's about saying: 'how much more will God answer us when we cry out to him!

'Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? No! I tell you the truth! He will see that they get justice and quickly!'

So, if this is true, then why is it that sometimes our prayers seem to go unanswered?

While I don't claim for a moment to have all the answers on this one, let me point out just a few things I have learned that have helped me.

Sometimes our idea of timing can be different to God's

The simplest way I know to explain this is using what I like to call 'The parable of the traffic lights'. Sometimes when we approach an intersection, the lights are going to be green and so we know its ok for us to keep on driving. Other times the lights will be orange; that means that we need to slow down and wait. If we were to go through the traffic lights at that point we would be likely to hit another car and get badly hurt. Other times the lights will be red and it just isn't safe for us to go.