Perseverance in Prayer

Luke 18: 1-8
Wis 18:14-16,19:6-9 / Psa 105

Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray…
(Luke 18:1)

Jesus teaches us how to pray --
In the Spirit, with perseverance;
Pray without ceasing everyday
That all may gain God’s deliverance.

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)

Reflection

During the time of Jesus in Palestine, widows were considered the weakest and the least important class of people in Jewish society, especially if they had no male children, as in the case of the widow at Nain (Lk.7:11-15). Our Lord used a widow and a wicked judge as the main characters in His parable to show the seeming hopelessness of the plaintiff’s case against her adversary. It was only by dint of the widow’s persistence and boldness in following up her complaint that the wicked judge finally relented to give her justice. But his reason for doing so was for fear that the widow might “eventually come and attack (him)!”

Jesus pointed out how impertinent the judge’s reason was: “Listen to what the unjust judge says.” It was not for the sake of justice that motivated him to set things right for the poor widow; nor was it fear of God, nor concern for his standing before men (his reputation). It was merely for an imagined harm that a weak and helpless widow might do to him! But the point here is that the woman’s perseverance paid off.

Now, if this unjust and wicked judge could be persuaded by a weak and helpless widow, wouldn’t a loving and righteous God in heaven all the more “bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?” “And quickly,” Jesus hastened to add. The only problem is– as it was then, and as it is now– do we have enough faith to believe that our prayers will be answered? Are we willing to spend all night in prayer as Jesus did on the mountainside before He chose His apostles? It is not in order to move God with our prayers and supplications that we need to pray to Him more fervently. For God already knows what we need even before we ask Him. It is to develop our channel of communication with Him, and to strengthen our faith so that we may stand firm when faced with all adversities. God wants us to mature spiritually through constant communion with Him. St. Paul said we must “pray at every opportunity in the Spirit, and be watchful with all perseverance for the sake of others as well” (Eph.6:18). Our prayers are more effective when we are praying for the needs of others rather than our own. St. Paul constantly prayed for the faithful that he ministered to. In his letter to the Thessalonians, he wrote: “Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith” (Thess 3:10). He invoked in his letter to Timothy: “First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranguil life in all devotion and dignity” (1Tim 2:1-2). We must all pray without getting weary, for a prayerful life guarantees our safety, harmony, prosperity and peace.

We pray, dear God, for all the stewards of our government, especially those in our justice system to be steadfast in their sacred duties, especially in resisting the temptations and/or coercions of evil men. Let your Holy Spirit shield them, Lord, with Your gifts of prudence, integrity and wisdom. This we pray in the mighty Name of Jesus. AMEN.

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