Keep Talking to the Wall

Have you ever had times when praying seemed like an exercise in futility? Where heaven seems silent, and the requests you’ve made fall to the floor making no discernible difference?  How do you feel, if you’ve faced those times?  Ever feel like giving up…ever just stop praying just so you wont get disappointed?  I had a friend who didn’t want to pray about a matter for that very reason;  “If I don’t ask, I won’t feel bad when nothing happens.”

Prayer can be a frustrating experience…but what’s interesting to me is that Jesus seems to anticipate that it WILL be hard.  The parable we’ll be reading in Luke 18:1-8 is one Jesus tells to encourage us not to give up praying, even though things don’t seem to change right away.

It’s a pretty self explanatory story.  What observations do you take away from this story?  What does it mean to you that Jesus compares his followers to a widow?  If God is greater than the unjust judge, what do we understand about God in the contrast?  How do these things encourage us not to lose heart…to keep on praying?

This Sunday is Surf N Grill…lets pray for the weather to be accommodating!  Hope to see you there!

9 comments

  1. This parable has always been tough for me because Jesus puts himself in the place of the unjust judge. I’ve never really wanted to wrestle with the idea that God may do things that we can’t thoughtlessly lump into the “loving” category.
    I know that the point of the parable is probably more akin to the idea that even an earthly judge will eventually give up and listen to the petitions of a widow that annoys him for too long and therefore God will have even more mercy on us. It just strikes me as odd that Jesus would compare himself to someone that is annoyed into compliance. It just seems… I don’t know… wrong?
    Anyway… thanks for this. I’m definitely going through a “talking to a wall” stage in my life. Much love.

  2. Hey Thomas! Hope all is good up there!
    For me, the focus of the story is the widow, not the judge. The judge is there for contrast, based on what Jesus says in v6-7. If the widow is willing to keep at it, to be persistent in the face of rejection by someone who cares nothing about her…why would WE give up when we are appealing to a Creator who openly states His care for us?
    I’m not convinced that Jesus is comparing the Father to the unjust judge…he’s simply a place-holder so the larger point can be made.

    Those are my thoughts anyway…is the reasoning sound?

    v1 makes it pretty clear that prayer will be a frustrating venture…otherwise he wouldn’t have needed to encourage us not to lose heart. So…don’t YOU lose heart during your difficult times up there….God’s got a plan…but like a fractal it doesn’t always make sense in the details.

    1. Thanks for the reply… and the encouragement.

      That is sound reasoning, and I do agree with you that the point was the widow, not the judge. However, I do believe (as I am sure you do too) that everything in the Bible is there for a reason. I can’t help but wonder what point Jesus was trying to make by using that type of character in the story. Even if he was a place-holder, Jesus could have made it the “parable of the King who couldn’t hear very well” and the person had to repeat themselves over and over again because the King couldn’t hear them until the King finally heard the widow and her plea was granted.

      Maybe I shouldn’t let this minute detail peak my interest so much, but for some reason I’ve always been perplexed by this particular passage.

  3. Rob mentioned Sunday is Surf-n-Grill. Just so everyone knows, Sunday is a “Fee-Free”day at all the State Parks so there is no entrance fee to get in the park at St. Andrews. The beach, the burgers, the fellowship, and no fee!!

  4. What a great exchange. Proves once again that you can learn more by listening.
    If I made a list of people who felt like they spend most of their time waiting for an answer to a prayer, it would include everbody I know and if I looked at the list. Guess who would be at the top? Me.

    I wonder if the inclusion of the judge and the widow doesn’t address the virtue of patience. And if one is patient does one necessarily have trust that a good response will be coming in the future.

    I can’t help but remember Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gesemene that if this cup could be passed I would go along with that idea, however in the big picture I trust whatever your will is. Jesus prayed that three times.

  5. I had always been taught that the idea in this parable was “perservering prayer.” That somehow God would be swayed by the number of times that I asked him about something. However, I am starting to think that this might be more of a point — counterpoint, almost a “You’ve heard it said, but now I say…”. The unjust judge is sort of how we are used to working in the world, the lady is the squeaky wheel and the judge has the grease. But Jesus seems to be saying that his father is different. This judge is corrupt but he finally answered the widow’s request. Jesus says that God is just and loving, why would you doubt that he will answer? He even says, “he won’t drag his feet (like the judge). I don’t know, perhaps this this is just a reaction to years of thinking that if I prayed more, God would somehow think I was really serious. Yet this is the same God that said not to think we would be heard “for your much speaking.”. Maybe it’s not about the words but the heart behind the words. Maybe that is what Jesus meant when he asked if he would find this kind of “faith”, would people have this kind of heart. Would anyone still really believe that God was still listening?

  6. I have mulled over this scripture several times in the past but have never thought of it from the perspective of Christ comparing us to a widow…I know women in those times were more like property than people and had very little rights. They were completely dependent on their husbands for support, etc. So, being a widow would have probably been a pretty scary plight in those days. I’m thinking of the widow in 1st Kings who God sent Elijah to. She was going to use up her last little bit of flour and oil to prepare a final meal for her son and herself and then die BUT God intervened and as she trusted God’s prophet and provided for him 1st, God provided for she and her son for good. That was great faith and trust on her part. And probably what she considered a very last minute answer to prayer, yet a wonderful answer! It’s kind of like when Abraham was going to offer Isaac as a sacrifice and God provided the ram at the total last minute to make sure Abraham trusted Him. A widow was in a place of TOTAL dependence on God for help. She could not manipulate the circumstances or make anything happen herself but had to trust in God alone. I think maybe that’s the point in our reading, God wants us all to be in total dependence on Him. Not on ourselves, our jobs, our husbands, etc. Maybe we don’t see answers right away because God is trying to get us to that point of total surrender and trust in Him. He wants to show us that He is good and He loves us and that He has the outcome in His hands, in His time. He wants us to know Him well enough to trust Him. Earlier in Luke a widow threw all her money, which wasn’t much, in the offering and was commended as giving more than anyone else. Maybe she was able to do this because she had seen what the Lord had done in her life before and she totally trusted Him for all she needed. She wasn’t depending on money to sustain her but on the living God! In 1st Tim it talks about how a widow trusts in God and continues in prayers and supplications night and day…I believe this is the model God wants for us. He wants us close to Him, loving Him, believing Him and trusting Him….

  7. I recently had a big prayer answered, but I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray that prayer and I believed that the answer would come, not only did I believe but knew He would do as I asked.I love Him.

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