2015-5-10 Never Give Up Praying

LUKE 18:1-8                                                                                              MAY 10, 2015

“NEVER GIVE UP PRAYING!”

Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Great Britain, inspired his countrymen during the dark days of World War II by his nightly radio talks. After the war he was invited to speak at the Elementary school where he attended as a boy. The head master of the school instructed his students to take copious notes on his talk. Sir Winston got up before the class and peered out with his well-known gaze. He then began his message. “Never Give Up! Never! Never! Never! He then sat down. Perseverance is most often needed whenever we “feel” like giving up! When we feel there is no hope; that is the time we must turn to the LORD and depend on his strength.

Jesus tells this parable at the same time he taught about his second coming! Luke 18:1 (NIV) 1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Jesus was concerned that his disciples would become discouraged when praying and that they would give up. Do we ever feel like our prayers are not being heard? Do we ever give up praying for someone because we feel that God is slow in giving us the answer we desire?

This parable has only two people who are identified: a widow and a judge. During the time of Jesus, widows without families to look after them were often mistreated. God has always cared for widows. Many people today in our society also feel they are being deprived of justice.  Does God care about justice? Deuteronomy 10:17-18 (NIV) 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” God cares about those who are most often vulnerable and helpless in our world. This is why he gave commands for his people to care about the needs of the widows, orphans, and the illegals amongst us.

God has strong feelings about the subject of justice for these three groups. Deuteronomy 27:19 (NIV) 19 “Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”  When King Jehoshaphat appointed judges he gave them these instructions in 2 Chronicles 19:6-7 (NIV) 6 He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for man but for the LORD, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. 7 Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Judge carefully, for with the LORD our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”  Listen up judges!

This judge does not sound like a good person. Luke 18:2 (NIV) 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.” Jesus describes a judge who seemingly has no religious principles and does not care what the public thinks. I think this description could describe some of our judges now as I don’t see that they care about justice as defined by scripture. We do not know any other details on why the widow chose to go to this judge.

What is not mentioned is how the woman was mistreated or deprived. The context seems to indicate that the issue was about money that was owed her. The widow had gone to the judge demanding action be taken against her adversary. The woman was poor and could not afford to hire anyone to plead her case so she went herself. Luke 18:3-5 (NIV) 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!'”  The judge had expected the woman to quietly go away as he continued to ignore her. His tactic did not work. She did not give up!

The widow wore the judge out by her daily demands for justice. Jesus used a contrast between the worst in man as opposed to the best in God. Luke 18:6-7 (NIV) 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 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?” God does care about justice and he will answer the requests of his people in his timing.

As believers in Jesus Christ we are now his children. 1 John 3:1-2 (NIV) 1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” We are the children of God and we have the right to ask our Lord for anything if it is according to his will. This was the promise of Jesus in John 14:13-14 (NIV) 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” If all this is true and it is! Then why do we not bombard our Father with our requests? God is not an unjust God and He will grant us justice.

What did Jesus say about justice? Luke 18:8 (NIV) 8 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?” We must trust God to answer according to his plan and at the right time. Only God knows the right time and so we must wait upon Him.

Did you notice the remark about the state of affairs before the Son of Man returns? We are living in such amazing times. The future holds out the possibility of tremendous advances in medicine, driverless cars and trucks, possible travel to the stars, etc… Yet, in spite of this will Jesus find faith when he returns? In our society we are ignoring God more and more as we yield to the lure of the world’s fancy devices and gadgets. We find ourselves worrying about more and more things and overlooking the will of God and we ignore the promises made to us in the scriptures.

A poor widow was greatly distressed when she received a statement for a large bill that had already been settled. Because she couldn’t find the receipt, she was afraid she would have to pay the amount a second time. Most of her funds had already been spent on her husband’s funeral, so she prayed specifically that the Lord would show her where to find the proof of payment. Several days later, a bill collector called at the widow’s house and threatened to sue her in court if she didn’t pay the amount back. Just at that moment a butterfly came in through the open window. Her young son immediately began to chase it, hoping to add it to his collection for a school project. As he tried to catch it, the butterfly lighted on the back of a sofa and crawled behind it. The boy was unable to move the heavy piece of furniture alone, so he asked the man to help him. When they pushed aside the couch, a piece of paper fell to the floor. Picking it up, the widow gave it a quick glance, and her eyes grew wide with excitement. To her delight it was the lost receipt. Her earnest prayer of faith had been honored by God at the right time.

We must never give up praying and asking our Heavenly father to provide for us! This world belongs to God and He is our Heavenly Father who loves and cares for us. Never give up praying!

Let us pray.

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