18 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
Chapter 17 of Luke ends with Jesus talking to his disciples about the second coming. Chapter 18 seems to start with Jesus teaching that we still have a purpose here on this earth before he comes back. Jesus makes a pretty obvious statement here that all of us would agree with, but how many of us actually do it? He said that “Men (all of God’s people) ought always to pray.” Pretty simple thought, but answer this question, How is your prayer life? When is the last time you had a prayer answered? I hope you answered my prayer life is awesome, couldn’t be any better. For some of us I think we resonate more with the second part of this statement. Jesus said “Men ought always to pray, and not faint. That word faint means “to lose heart, be weak, exhausted, be wearied out.” That sure does describe me sometimes. I feel like as God’s child I always complain, I always fear, I always doubt and the list could go on. But I’m not sure I always pray, if I can just be honest with you.
I believe Jesus gives us some principles here, and He shows us what a non praying person looks like in the following verses.
Failing to pray creates
#1. A lack of reverence toward God (vs 2) the verse tells us that a person who doesn’t pray doesn’t fear God, that means this person is not in awe of God, they take no thought of God. Don’t acknowledge God in their decisions, in their relationships, in their business dealings. How many of us are guilty of waking up, going through our routine, and never really taking notice of, or spending time with the Lord?
#2. A lack of regard toward people (vs 2) it’s a natural progression, if you stop having a heart for God, you won’t have a heart toward people. Christians have developed a bad name over the years because we talk about how loving our God is (and He is) but we never show that love to other people. Often times we show judgment, or some other self righteous attitude, but do we show love? How would our impact for Jesus change if love was our default reaction in every situation?
A. A lack of prayer produces a lack of service (vs 3-4) this judge had the power to do something about this ladies situation, he had the ability to step in and change her circumstance, but he blatantly chose not to. God help us to be the kind of people that help, and serve others when we have the means to do so.
B. A lack of prayer produces a lack of sufferance (or tolerance) (vs 5) this judge finally does help this widow woman, but it isn’t because he cares about her, it’s so she’ll stop bugging him. Throughout scripture we are taught that God is long suffering toward us, and I think he expects the same out of His children.
Jesus taught His disciples this lesson, that men ought always to pray, and not faint. Jesus is coming back just like chapter 17 says, but what are we supposed to be doing in the meantime? I believe it’s love and serve God and love and serve people with every breath we have, after all Jesus said that was the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) but I believe we only accomplish that if our prayer life truly is what it should be. I’d like to end with this beautiful passage from Paul on how to love each other.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.