Many of us give up too easily in prayer—for two reasons. First, we quit out of frustration with the timing of God’s answer. Second, deep down we question whether God is right in what He allows to come into our lives. During such times we often cry, “Where’s the God of justice?”
Jesus addressed these very issues in a parable recorded in Luke 18:1-8. He told of a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. A widow, however, consistently approached him pleading, “Grant me justice against my adversary” (18:3). She persisted in calling for fairness.
With each plea the judge must have thought, “Is it you again?” Eventually he rewarded her persistence: “I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!” (v. 5). In Jesus’ day people often used the phrase “wear me out” to express a boxing metaphor. The word He used means “to be hit under the eye.” To paraphrase, the judge was not concerned about a “right cross” or a mean “left jab” that might knock him out. Instead he worried about persistent hits under the eye that might make him lose by a technical knockout.
What’s most surprising is our Lord’s command to listen for the parable’s lesson from the lips of an unjust judge. Five truths at the parable’s close support Jesus’ exhortation to persist in prayer: (1) God is just—we can trust Him regardless of how He responds to our circumstances. (2) God has promised justice for His elect—those who have entered His family because of His initiating grace. (3) Believers are to petition our heavenly Father consistently—He welcomes His children’s prayers. (4) While God’s answer may seem late from a human perspective, when He does answer, He will do so with speedy justice. (5) The passage ends with a penetrating question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (v. 8). Hearers of the parable are called to persist in prayer—even if it means waiting until the Lord comes to dole out final justice.
Such prayer demonstrates faith in the chron-ology of God’s actions and in His character. Do you persist in prayer? Our Judge cares so much for us that when we come knocking, His follow-up response is not, “Is it you again?” but “I recognize that voice; thanks for asking for My help.”