Jesus must have been feeling mischievous when he told the story of the persistent widow. He offers a funny comparison: God is at least as likely to respond to our prayers as a corrupt judge will cave in under a widow’s badgering. Maybe Jesus had days like that, when someone got on his nerves so much he just gave them what they wanted. We’ve all bought a magazine or chocolate bar at the door just to make the salesperson go away.
The point of the story isn’t God’s experience, of course, but ours. Whether God is worn down by eons of listening to prayers remains to be seen. Our task is to keep up the prayers – harder than it sounds to those who don’t pray much. Fidelity in prayer is as hard as working at any love relationship. In some seasons the effort will feel greater than the desire. Persistent prayer is more effective than the one-off method, just as daily efforts to build loving relationships are more meaningful than a lone card on Valentine’s Day.
If you’re new to prayer, ask someone you trust to recommend a good book for beginners. If you’re starting again, consider finding a prayer partner to keep you faithful. If you’re a persistent pray-er, keep the rest of us in prayer!
The Scripture (Luke 18: 1-3) The Parable of the Widow and the Judge
Jesus told them a story showing that it is necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’”
‘Mum. Mummy. Mum. Mama. Mummy. Mum. Mum …’ ‘What?!?’ ‘Hi’. If you haven’t seen the cartoon parody, you’ve probably still seen, heard, or been victim to a toddler’s tireless quest for attention. As every sleep-resistant baby, tantrummy two-year-old, or delinquent juvenile knows, if you want grease, squeaking is the way to go. Though elsewhere he assures us that God knows all our needs long before we ever ask, Jesus goes the extra mile in this week’s Gospel to help us realise that we have plenty of divine attention. Even if we want to imagine God as some cranky judge who cares not a whit for justice or human feelings, Jesus assures us, we can still get a response through sheer persistence. The message inspires confidence that no matter how tired we are, our unceasing pleas never fall on deaf ears.
Where there is trouble and anxiety we will bring calm.
Be peace restorers!
Where persons are at odds with one another, we will bring reconciliation.
Be examples of peacefulness!
In the midst of the hustle and hurry of this world, we will take time to smell the roses.
Be God’s peaceful people!
We will find peace in prayer, and fulfillment in working for peace.
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