Kevin wiped a tear from his eye as he held out a slip of paper for my wife, Cari, to read. He knew Cari and I were praying for our daughter to return to faith in Jesus. “This note was found in my mother’s Bible after her death, and I hope it encourages you,” he said. At the top of the note were the words, “For my son, Kevin.” Below them was a prayer for his salvation.
“I carry this with me in my own Bible today,” Kevin explained. “My mother prayed for my salvation for more than thirty-five years. I was far away from God, and I’m a believer now.” He looked intently at us and smiled through his tears: “Never give up praying for your daughter—no matter how long it takes.”
His words of encouragement made me think of the introduction to a story Jesus told about prayer in the gospel of Luke. Luke begins with the words, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).
In the story, Jesus contrasts an “unjust judge” (v. 6) who answers a request merely because he doesn’t want to be further bothered, with a perfect heavenly Father who cares deeply for us and wants us to come to Him. We can be encouraged whenever we pray to know that God hears and welcomes our prayers.
Who’s constantly in your prayers for salvation? How does it help to know of others’ stories of answered prayer?
Today’s passage explains that Jesus told His disciples this parable to teach them to “always pray and not give up” (v. 1). But there are two points to this parable. Certainly, the primary point is to pray persistently. Just as the widow badgered the unjust judge into answering her plea, we’re to constantly and consistently bring our prayers before God. But there’s something else about the widow’s request that should be noticed, for Jesus mentions it too. Her request was for justice. This wasn’t a personal gripe or an attempt to gain an advantage. She had been wronged in some particular way and so continually asked the judge—an unjust judge—to grant her justice. Jesus says the Father (who is just) will also “bring about justice for his chosen ones” (v. 7). God the Father hears and responds to our persistent prayers for justice.
To learn more about prayer, visit christianuniversity.org/prayer.