THE PERSISTENT WIDOW (LUKE 18:1 – 8)

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

The purpose of this parable was first revealed by Apostle Luke before venturing to relay the story itself. Jesus relayed this story in order that his disciples would pray and not faint. In life, times of challenges would always come. We will from time to time be confronted with challenges that seem to surmount us and at such times, our only alternative will be to go to God in prayer. Yes, people pray in times of problem but unfortunately, when it seems their prayers are not answered, they conclude there is no hope for them and they faint. People give up on God when answers to their prayers seem delayed. Jesus told his disciples this story to the end that they pray until their answers come.

I like the way Luke puts it; “to the end that men ought always to pray…” Prayer should not be the last resort after all other things have prayed. God expects us to create a lifestyle of prayer. It reflects our constant dependence on him even with regards to the minute issues of our lives. That means even when we seem to know what to do or to be in control of our affairs, we should pray. And when we are confused or mesmerized by our encounters in life, we should pray. Prayer connects us to God and invites God into the affairs of our lives. No matter how much we think we know, we can never outgrow his grace (assistance that comes when we pray). We have all fainted in our prayers at one time or the other. We prayed but eventually gave up in our wait for the answers. God’s desire is that we will learn to be persistent until in prayer until we have our desires met.

The widow in this parable was confronted with a judge described as an unjust judge. That means he dispensed judgment, not on the basis of justice but bribe. The rich who were ready to bribe him were sure of getting a favourable judgment before him. Beyond this, he was a callous judge that was not moved by anything as he feared neither man nor God. This widow however was poor and had powerful and rich adversaries who were oppressing her. She couldn’t help herself but knew that this unjust judge had all it takes to bail her out of her predicament. Having realized were the solution to her problem lay, she made up her mind to stay there until help comes. This was a display of great faith on the part of the widow. God expects us to approach him in faith. We must come to God with the confident assurance that if only we can pray, we will have our needs met.  Unlike this woman, we come to a God who is just in all his ways. He is a God of justice. Beyond that He is our father and He loves us. That poor widow would surely have envied us. Unfortunately today due to lack of faith, we faint at the slightest delay and begin to seek help in some other ungodly ways. Faith is not knowing that God can help you. Even the devil knows that God can do all things. Faith is knowing that God will help you. That is why when faith is in place, there is no alternative to God. When there seem to be delays, you encourage yourself in the Lord and wait. The bible enjoins us to follow the example of those who through faith and patience obtained the promises. Faith is never faith if patience is lacking. Delay is only a test of your faith. If you can pass the test of patience, you will breakthrough to your desired end. I seriously wish that all in the church today would know that there is no other name given amonst men by which we may be saved. We are often pushed by the circumstances in life to seek help elsewhere outside of Jesus and that is an indication of a lack of faith in God. God’s delay should not be an excuse to seek help anywhere else. His delay is never a denial. Moreover, He is never late. Rather, He is always on time. When he shows up on the scene, he makes everything alright.

Another lesson I have learnt as I reflected on this passage is that even the wicked responds to persistence. What more about a loving God. There is a lot that can be achieved by persistence. “Everything is possible to him that believes” the bible says. However, it takes time – persisting in faith to birth the impossible. That is the element most often lacking when we fail to see the reality of our desires; faith expressed through our persistence. The poor widow did not only know that her solution was in the hands of the unjust judge. She equally knew that all that was required to get him to act was persistence in the place of prayer.

The unjust judge attended to a powerless and poor widow who was a total stranger because of her persistence. The poor widow persisted in her prayers to a heartless, wicked and unjust judge who prided in his wickedness. This should be an encouragement to us because our case is different. We look up to God with whom we have a relationship. On the platform of that relationship, we should trust him better and wait patiently for him to act. God may sometimes delay; that is his divine prerogative. It’s ours to ask, knock and seek. It’s his to answer. When we can ask and keep asking, knock and keep knocking and seeking, he will respond to us. If that poor widow never gave up on an unjust judge then it’s our shame if we give up our loving father. May we learn this great lesson and become men and women of prayer. Let me conclude with this old hymn that just is so relevant to our prayer life; What a friend we have in Jesus.

  1. What a Friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
    O what peace we often forfeit,
    O what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Everything to God in prayer!
  1. Have we trials and temptations?
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    We should never be discouraged,
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
    Can we find a friend so faithful
    Who will all our sorrows share?
    Jesus knows our every weakness,
    Take it to the Lord in prayer.
  1. Are we weak and heavy-laden,
    Cumbered with a load of care?
    Precious Savior, still our refuge—
    Take it to the Lord in prayer;
    Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
    Take it to the Lord in prayer;
    In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
    Thou wilt find a solace there.
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2 thoughts on “THE PERSISTENT WIDOW (LUKE 18:1 – 8)

  1. If only we can hold unto God as this poor widow held unto the wicked judge, we will have our petitions met. Unlike the wicked judge, God himself is speaking to us “ask and you shall receive”. That’s an open door for a turn around if only we can pray.

  2. Persistence in prayer is one thing that is lacking in the church today. We need to become men and women of prayer but it is not enough to pray. We must strive to pray through.

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