They should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1
In 1917, a young seamstress was thrilled to get admitted to one of New York City’s most renowned fashion design schools. But when Ann Lowe Cone arrived from Florida to register for classes, the school director told her she wasn’t welcome. “To be blunt, Mrs. Cone, we didn’t know that you were a Negro,” he said. Refusing to leave, she whispered a prayer: Please let me stay here. Seeing her persistence, the director let Ann stay, but segregated her from the whites-only classroom leaving the back door open “for [her] to hear.”
Undeniably talented, Ann still graduated six months early and attracted high-society clients including former First Lady of the United States Jacqueline Kennedy, whose world-famous wedding gown she designed. She made the gown twice, seeking God’s help after a pipe burst above her sewing studio, ruining the first dress.
Persistence like that is powerful, especially in prayer. In Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow, a widow pleads repeatedly for justice from a corrupt judge. At first, he refused her, but “because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice” (Luke 18:5).
With far more love, “will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (v. 7). He will, said Jesus (v. 8). As He inspires us, let’s seek to persistently pray and never give up. In His time and perfect way, God will answer.
What helps you to be persistent in prayer? What request will you keep pleading?
Dear Jesus, I thank You for answering my persistent prayers.
Luke 18 is filled with stories of power. It begins with the power of the widow’s persistence (vv. 1–8), then continues with the story of the tax collector and the Pharisee (vv. 9–14), which displays the power of a humble, repentant heart. Jesus’ parable of the rich ruler (vv. 18–30) shows the negative power of possessions that can pull us away from God. The chapter concludes with Jesus’ healing power on full display as He heals the blind beggar Bartimaeus (vv. 35–43; see Mark 10:46). These are some of Jesus’ final acts and teachings before reaching the destination in His “journey to Jerusalem” (see August 1 Insight). Then, Luke 19 opens with the story of Zacchaeus (vv. 1–10), whose redeemed heart shows the kind of generosity that the rich ruler had lacked (18:18–30) and mirrors the humility of the tax collector (vv. 9–14). Clearly these stories are intended to be read and understood together.