Persistent Prayer

People oftentimes miss a small detail about the Parable of the Persistent Widow from St. Luke’s Gospel. The story is of a widow who chases after a local judge, and keeps pestering him and bothering him, requesting that he “render a just decision for [her] against [her] adversary.” The judge, who scripture says had no fear of God and no respect for people, eventually relents and issues a just decision for her because of her persistence and tenacity.

The point of this parable isn’t strictly the comparison between the widow and us. It is true that we, as disciples, must be persistent in prayer, relying on the infinite love of God to provide all that we need. However, more to the point, is the idea that if an unjust judge would give a just decision because of the petitioner’s persistence, how much more readily will a loving judge, our Lord, answer our just requests.

The widow isn’t asking for something she merely desires or some other extraordinary benefit – she seeks justice. Frequently, believers are mistakenly drawn in to think that God will give them anything at all, whatever they ask, if they just keep asking for it over and over again. Realize that the widow in this parable was asking for what was right, true, and just, and that is the ideal content of our prayer as well. Our God, who is infinitely more caring and loving than the unjust judges of this world, will ensure that we have all we need and all that is just.

Father, you are all-loving and infinitely just. Help me to relinquish my desires and seek only your will. May I remain persistent in my prayer, trusting that you will always lead me on right paths to you for your glory. Amen.

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