April 16: “The Power of Persistent Prayer”

7 Minute Read


Joshua 13:1–14:15
Luke 18:1-17
Psalm 85:1-13
Proverbs 13:7-8


Luke 18:1 (CSB): “Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up.”


In a recent post, we observed that Jesus periodically drew out a godly principle from a bad example. He did not affirm the godless activity but He did note that it provided a teaching moment and an example to imitate (in a godly way).

In today’s reading, we see Him do it again. So, let’s dig into Luke 18:1-8 as we learn a couple of prayer principles from a wicked judge. In so doing, we will potentially inject some needed vitality into our prayer life.

The author, Luke, gives us the meaning of the parable before he tells us what Jesus said…

Luke 18:1 (CSB): “Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up.

So, as we look at the following principle, we realize that we are going to hear Jesus tell us to pray with persistence.

Here’s the parable…

Luke 18:2 (CSB): “There was a judge in a certain town who didn’t fear God or respect people.”

In Luke 18:2, Jesus makes it clear that the main character in this parable is a godless man. He has no regard for God and doesn’t value people.

Not only had he violated the two greatest commands (Matthew 22:35-40), but doing so has rendered him to be a potentially dangerous and evil character. Someone who refuses to acknowledge a Divine Law Giver who will judge everyone, and who refuses to see people as valuable, has a mindset that is capable of doing potentially heinous things.

So this main character was a very bad man who was capable of engaging in his own acts of injustice.

Luke 18:3 (CSB): “And a widow in that town kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.'”

In Luke 18:3, we are introduced to the second and final character of this parable. We are introduced to a woman who had experienced the death of her husband. She was now a widow, utterly vulnerable to injustice in 1st century society.

We are not told what the injustice was. We are simply told that someone was acting the part of an enemy and doing something wrong to her. A heartless adversary was presuming upon her vulnerability as a widow with no man-of-the-house to resolve the issue for her.

She was in a helpless state and might have had no other option except to appeal to a godless judge, who looked down at his nose at her, to resolve the matter for her.

Luke 18:4-5 (CSB): “For a while he was unwilling, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or respect people, yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice, so that she doesn’t wear me out by her persistent coming.'”

The judge, “for a while was unwilling.” He didn’t fear God (the source of morality and justice) and he didn’t respect people (so he didn’t care that the widow was being mistreated).

There was nothing about God or the widow that could move the ungodly judge to action.

But, he was moved to action nonetheless … because of self-interest. The widow wouldn’t stop pestering him. Everywhere he looked, the widow was there prepared to speak with him for the 100th time about her plight.

He couldn’t get away from her! She was mercilessly, persistently pestering him with her request!

So, the judge ruled on her behalf. He granted her request. It was the only way he could get her to stop bothering him.

Luke 18:6 (CSB): “Then the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says.'”

Jesus would have us to reflect on the story He had just given. While the judge was godless and had absolutely no regard for God or people, there is a lesson to be learned.

Luke 18:7 (CSB): “Will not God grant justice to his elect who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay helping them?

These are rhetorical questions. They presume that the listeners know the answer.

We are brought to a point where we realize that the widow received her desire for justice because she persisted with an unjust judge. How much more will a wonderfully benevolent, just God grant the desires of His children who persist in prayer with Him.

If persistence moved a godless, heartless judge to action, how much more will it move our wonderfully gracious God to action.

Luke 18:8 (CSB): “I tell you that he will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

We are told that God will act “swiftly (to) grant them justice.” Of course, we need to realize that God’s timing is not our timing (2 Peter 3:8-9).

There have been prayers that I have prayed for a few years before seeing God grant my request. But, I never questioned God’s heart during my prayers. I trusted that He knew what was best and would answer in the right time and in the right way.

Jesus ends with these words: “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

Friend, it takes faith in a prayer-hearing and a prayer-answering God to pray persistently. In order to keep offering up the same prayer for days, or months, or years, we must believe that there is a God who hears and will answer in His time. That takes faith. And the longer God takes, the more faith it takes.


So, what about you, friend? What is your prayer life like? How often and how long do you pray? Do you pray for something once or twice and then give up or do you pray persistently?

Jesus’ parable encourages us to pray persistently.

Why not acknowledge that the injustice that you are presently experiencing is a gift from God in that it provides you with the opportunity to seek God’s favor as you persistently pray for Him to act. Why not start praying persistently today? Right now?

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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