Do you feel exhausted when you pray? Does prayer seem like a task that causes you to be drained? Jesus was concerned about this for His followers. He provided 4 qualities of prayer that will help enable us to pray energized, fresh, invigorating prayers.
Jesus explained these valuable qualities by using a Parable.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”Luke 18:1-8
This parable was told for two purposes. It teaches us two things. The thing it teaches us is that we should always pray. Secondly, it teaches us not to get weary in praying. Know you are not the only one who struggles with prayer. Jesus would not have told this parable if everyone had an “out of the park” prayer life.
The widow in the parable possessed 4 qualities that show us how we can stop being stifled in prayer and instead pray with fresh vigor. These qualities are Directed, Diligent, Disciplined, and Determined. Let’s explore each of these qualities the widow possessed. Then, we’ll discover how implementing these qualities in our prayer life will keep us praying even when we feel like quitting.
The widow’s prayer was directed to the Judge in the town. This was the only one who could do something about her problem. Her difficulty would only be properly addressed by the Judge. She could ask friends for help. She could have locked herself in her home. Fleeing to another town could have been an option. However, she chose to direct her request to the “top”. She prayed to the Judge – the only one who could do something for her.
“Kept coming” describes the diligence with which she presented her need to the Judge. She was tireless in her pursuit. Eagerly she presented her need to the Judge. The denials didn’t deter her attentiveness to present her need.
Did she come every day? Did she come day and night? Did she stay all day? The Parable doesn’t say. However, it does say she came “continually”. She regularly came. The widow had a method for coming. She didn’t “skip it” when it didn’t feel right. She put in the needed preparation to present the desire before the Judge.
The reason her requests got addressed was because she had purposed she would keep coming until the outcome she was looking for was given. The denials, refusals to answer, and “slammed door” in her face didn’t deter her from being resolute to have the request answered. It was actually her determination that made the wicked judge answer her request.
Adopting these 4 qualities in your prayer life will create an energy that you may not have felt in a long time. When you have a need or needs and you are Directed, Diligent, Disciplined, and Determined, you will pray with animated, lively prayers. Those prayers will get answered.
Jesus contrasted the Judge in the story with God. He said the Judge cared nothing about God or man yet he answered the widow’s need because of the qualities she possessed. Jesus encourages us to be encouraged our needs will be met when we possess these same characteristics. We can know when our prayers are DIRECTED to God who is a just God and always does what is right, our prayer will be answered. He is the very most “top” of the chain. God is the only ONE who can do anything of any value or significance about the needs we bring to Him.
It takes no effort to get distracted and forgetful in this life. We often forget we are in pursuit of an answer. “Oh yeah, I did care about that but I had forgotten about it.” We see a little glimmer of change and instead of more ambition; we tend to lose steam and think “Oh that’s the answer”. We take the silence as a “NO”. It is frequent we get busy with other things that rob our time and attention. We must be DILIGENT to continue to ask. Diligence includes remembering what we are asking, to ask, and continuing to ask until the request is granted.
It takes discipline to keep pursuing when it appears the results are not on the way. Going to the gym or taking that afternoon walk seem hopeless because there is no real, immediate change. However, it is in discipline that change occurs. When we understand that about exercise and apply it to prayer, we will exhibit a quality the widow portrayed. She prepared her need to present regularly. We should have a DISCPLINED routine to present the needs of our life regularly before the Lord. It may require keeping a prayer journal, writing it on a card, or setting a schedule in your phone.
When it seems our prayers are not being answered and no one is listening, be DETERMINED to continue to ask for the desired outcome. It will come . . . wait for it! The widow adopted this mentality. Her feeling of rejection didn’t stop her staunch statement of need. She was very insistent that her desired outcome be granted. We should have that same determined mindset when we pray.
THE REST OF THE STORY
There’s one more purpose for this parable. It is found in the question “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” How would you answer that in respect to your prayer life? Does God find that you DIRECT all your needs to Him with confidence He can do something about them? Does God find that you are DILIGENT to remember and pay attention to the needs of your life to present them to Him regularly? Does God find that you are DISCIPLINED, planned and resourceful, to keep asking when the answer doesn’t appear visible? Finally, does God find that you are DETERMINED to continually present your need before the only One who can do something about it.
Jesus told this parable to give us hope, energy, and encouragement to keep praying and not to give up. Keep praying today! Possess these four God-given qualities to keep your prayer life fresh and energetic.