“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart”. Luke 18:1
Here’s another one of my favorite Bible stories about persistence. It’s about a self-absorbed judge and a tenacious widow. She’s looking for justice, and I get the feeling he’s rolling his eyes at her and really doesn’t want to be bothered with her petty requests. But she doesn’t back down – and he’s afraid she’s going to beat him black and blue. Seriously, there’s a part in the story when the judge says that she’s making him “weary” and the original Greek word means just that – to beat black and blue. It’s probably safe to say he didn’t think she’d literally do it, but she sure is pummeling him with her tenacity. And so, finally, he gives her what she wants. This little widow (I’m not sure why I always picture her that way) gets up in the judge’s face and won’t go away until she gets what she came for.
She believed he’d give her justice. She had fearless faith. And I think that’s the point of this story. Not that we’re supposed to ever get up in God’s face, but that there is something about tenacious “I won’t let you go until You bless me” kind of faith that God loves. Jesus starts the parable with the command that we are to keep praying and never lose heart. To lose heart is to get discouraged, or , as I like to think of it, to become dis-couraged. It’s when courage is taken away.
The next time you’re tempted to walk away from persisting in prayer, picture that brave little old widow getting up in that judge’s face. Then picture yourself boldy approaching the throne of grace and knowing that if an evil judge will relent, how much more will a loving God listen attentively to our prayers and act on our behalf. That’s the point that Jesus is trying to make. I love this story.
“Let us therefore come boldy to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 NKJV