1He told them a parable about how they ought to pray always and not get discouraged. 2He said, â€œThere was a judge in a certain city who did not fear God, nor was he concerned about people. 3Now there was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, â€˜Give me justice against my adversary!â€™ 4And he didnâ€™t want to do it for some time. But after that, he said to himself, â€˜Even though I donâ€™t fear God or care about people, 5yet because this woman is tiring me out, Iâ€™ll give her justice, so she doesnâ€™t wear me out in the end!â€™â€ 6The Lord said, â€œListen to what this unjust judge says. 7And will God not carry out justice for his elect who cry out to him day and night and be patient with them? 8I say to you that he will carry out justice for them quickly. Yet when the son of man comes, will he find faith (or faithfulness) on earth?â€ â€” Luke 18:1-8
Yes, that’s the same text as we used yesterday, but I think we can learn some more from it today.
Last night Jody got together with some friends to pray for some specific needs in their community of faith. She started work at 7:00 am, meaning we left here at 6:30 am, and I picked her up from work just after 5:00 pm. She arrived home and didn’t even get out of the car; she just picked up and went on to this prayer gathering. She got back to the house after 8:00 pm, which meant more than 12 hours being out, and I know she was tired, but she was happy and excited. I’ve noticed that prayer meetings do that to my wife, even when she is involved in praying about some tough things, spending that time with God and with her brothers and sisters in Christ energizes her.
I’m not telling you this to flatter my wife, but rather as a testimony to what can happen when we take joy in being in the presence of God. So often we discuss prayer solely as a means of getting things. â€œPrayer really works,â€ somebody says, and the reason they say it is that they have prayed for and received a particular blessing. I rejoice in each of those blessings and in each of those testimonies. But the important thing about prayer is not what we get out of it. It’s Who we are getting it from. And whether or not we’re getting something, it is important to spend time with that person.
Consider your marriage, or your close friendships. What if you felt that your spouse spent time with you just so that he or she could get something from you. What if every action was set up to pay for something or to encourage you to do something for that person? Your friendship wouldn’t last very long, would it?
I think in our parable that Jesus is trying to shock his audience into thinking about things. God isn’t an unjust judge. He will surely listen to you and provide for you. He isn’t someone you should have to force yourself to talk to. He’s a friend, ready to spend time with you.
I have a suggestion for expanding your prayer time with God. Whenever there’s a decision to make, something special has happened, or you face a problem during the day, take just a moment and tell God about it. You can do this silently so your coworkers won’t call for the men in white coats to haul you off. When I say something â€œspecialâ€ don’t wait for something too special. Finishing one task and going to the next is good enough. â€œWell, Lord, I got that one done. Thanks for being with me.â€
Chat with God about the little things. You can tell him about everything, because unlike the unjust judge, he cares!