Sunday, February 19, 2017

Prayer is Faith

Prayer is  Faith
February 20, 2017
Luke 18:1 "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up."

The parable of the persistent widow was intended just like every other parable, to teach a lesson. But what is the right lesson Jesus was intending? The parable may sound simple, but we often miss the full message of what Jesus wanted us to grasp. Recall the parable was about a widow who wanted justice from an adversary. She went to the judge and begged for justice, but the judge would not grant it. She kept coming and coming to the judge and begging for justice, but none was given. Finally, the judge granted the woman's request, just to get her off his back. In order to get the full nuance of the parable, as the disciples understood it, we must read it with their understanding.

Back then, a woman who didn't have a husband didn't have any rights, especially in a court of law. The widow probably had just cause in her argument, but because the judge was under no obligation of the law to grant her request, he didn't see any reason to even show kindness. The woman couldn't sue the one who was oppressing her or taking advantage of her situation. In fact, she was probably being exploited because the adversary knew he could get away with it. The woman possibly deserved justice, but the judge was under no obligation to give it to her. He owed her no justice in the courts, however moral her request. The judge was not in the wrong with his decision, in denying her request; he didn't owe her a thing.

Like the widow, you and I have no rights in the court of the Lord's law. The Lord is under no obligation to grant our request. We have no case, no valid argument, however moral the request. But like the parable, Jesus wasn't saying the judged owed her anything or that the judge was doing something beyond what the court allowed. Jesus was saying despite her lowly position, she still begged the only one who could do anything about the situation. Even though the judge didn't owe her a response or even the granting of the request, because she was persistent, he gave it to her. Jesus said we are to be like the woman, never giving up in the request even though we have no right to require an answer. Jesus said we are to never give up in our prayers, in our fervent prayer requests of the King who owes us nothing.

You've likely given up on prayer request or two, however noble the cause. I know I have. But Jesus would say to keep coming back to the Judge who can do something about it, even if He owes you nothing.  You aren't owed a thing; neither was the widow owed justice. But Jesus said to never give up on it, to pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray. And when you've done all you can to pray, pray for it some more, even if the Lord seems silent. If you've given up on the prayer request, then you've given up faith. This was the point of Jesus' who parable. At the end of the parable, the Bible actually sums up the parable. Jesus said the parable was to see if there was anyone who actually still had faith. Those who have faith won't give up on their prayer requests. If you've given up on the request, you've given up on your full faith. 

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Lk 17:6-10, Lk 18:1-8, Heb 11:1-16

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