Perseverance and Prayer

"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." - Luke 18:1

As disciples of Jesus Christ and citizens of the kingdom of God you and I are engaged in constant battle. We live in a day not unlike the days of Noah and Lot when wickedness has reached its limit and when people were more interested in goods and good times than God. Probably the only difference is that wickedness and perversity in our day is more sophisticated than their time. But the struggle for the righteous to remain faithful to the Lord remains the same.

And sometimes the battle can be fierce and tiresome, when unbelievers become aggressive in persecuting or marginalizing Christians, as in the case of many places around the world like North East Africa, the Middle East and China. Surely many Christians from those regions long harder for relief and vindication from the Lord.

But this battle can also be subtle. I say that because we wage war not only against the evil one and against the wickedness around us but also against our own sinful nature that constantly clings to us, against our own complacency and lukewarmness to the things of God. And it comes to us in the ordinary situation at home, at work, in school, even in church, when we eat and drink, when we're on our business trip. For college students the battle rages when they're in the dormitory or inside the classroom.

Whatever our status or situation in life is, our struggle is how to remain faithful to the Lord God and loyal subjects of His kingdom. Whether the heat of conflict escalates every passing moment and relief is not visible in the horizon, retreat or withdrawal from the battle line is not an option.

So what should we do? We can't give up. What we need to do is to persist. In order to persevere, we need to pray. We need to pray with our eyes of faith focused on God, not on the fierceness of our battle.

So we read from Luke 1 that our Lord Jesus instructs us to persevere in prayer and not give up until His return. He told this parable in order to drive the point that we need to pray at all times and not to be discouraged when circumstances in life sap our energy and sanctity, and our prayers seems to be unanswered.

The Lord Jesus knows our weakness and that we all are prone to give up. In light of that, He graciously gave His disciples and us this parable of the persistent widow to show that we always ought to pray until God vindicates us, His people.

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