Don’t Lose Heart

Posted: July 7, 2011 in QT's
Tags: , , , , , ,

Have you ever had such a need in your life or a burden on your heart that was so heavy that you felt like nothing else mattered except to pray until God gave you an answer? I’m talking about something that was more important to you than eating, or sleeping, or even your own life. I have had many prayer requests over the last couple of months from people in my family, my church, and my small group Bible study that are this important to the ones in need. Have you ever prayed and wondered if God was really there hearing your prayer? Have you ever prayed and really expected God to answer your prayer and looked for that answer? Have you ever been afraid the answer may not be what you want it to be? I have had all of these experiences in my years as a follower of Christ. And as I have prayed for my friends and family lately I can’t help but think that they must be experiencing some of these same feelings and fears. I thought about all of this a while back as I was reading through Luke in my quality time and I ran across a parable Jesus told about a judge who answered a woman’s petition only because she was persistent. It goes like this:

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, ESV)

I’m not going to try to break this parable down completely because it would take a lot of space and I try to keep the blog posts fairly short (key word “try”). I do want to point out a couple of things that I thought about as I read this in the midst of praying for some serious needs.

First of all notice that Luke tells us that Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray without losing heart. Am I the only one that finds it comforting to know that Jesus understands that sometimes when we pray really long and hard for something without seeming to get an answer that we lose heart? I know I’ve been there. When I pray like that for something and I don’t seem to get an answer I get disappointed, dejected, discouraged, maybe even a little frustrated; maybe even a little angry. These eight short verses are here in Scripture for the simple reason of encouraging us to pray without losing heart. Jesus cares and He’s encouraging us, that’s pretty humbling.

Secondly, notice that the judge in the parable is nothing like God. He’s arrogant, uncaring, and impatient. He has the power, authority, and responsibility to carry out justice in this woman’s life and he just puts her off until she tries his patience to the limit; only then does he do right. Jesus points out that if we can expect an arrogant, uncaring, impatient judge to carry out justice then surely we can pray and know that God who is all powerful, does care, and is very patient will hear and answer our prayer, not because He’s weary of hearing us but because He loves us and it’s His nature to be just and do what’s right. Here’s the thing, we have to trust that God knows and always does what’s right and best, even if it’s not what we want or expect. That’s the hard part. That’s the scary part. There are other passages that talk about God giving us the desires of our heart and doing anything we ask if we pray in His name. What we need to realize and understand is that as we follow Him, He places His desire in our hearts. We will want the things that He wants. To ask something in Jesus’ name is to pray according to God’s will. Even Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane as He was preparing for the cross, asked His Father to let this cup pass from Him if there was another way and yet there was no other way and so He obediently and faithfully endured unimaginable abuse at the hands of the people He came to save and death on a cross. Why? Because God was doing what was best for us. He always does, even when we don’t understand it. That’s what it means to have faith.

Jesus ends the parable with a question, “When I come back, will I find people with this kind of faith (my paraphrase)?” How about it? If Jesus were to return today would He find you and me praying with this kind of faith? As I ask this I must face the reality that my own prayer life seems weak and powerless in light of what Jesus is teaching. I pray but many times my prayers are only half-hearted words offered up in haste. Not always, but often. I’m just trying to be honest. Knowing who God is, how can I offer anything but whole-hearted prayers full of faith?

Lord, help me to pray as I should and as scary as this is, teach me to pray as I must.

P.S.

I wrote a blog a while back about guitar stuff and promised to get back to writing about things with more spiritual depth. I wrote one more short blog then disappeared for almost two months. I didn’t intend to, I just got busy and kept putting it off. Well, I can’t put it off any longer. This is something I believe God would have me do so I better get back to doing it. Besides I enjoy it. So, if you happen to read these I apologize for being absent for so long, I’ll try to be more faithful as I get back into the swing of things. Thanks for your patience (prayers are also very welcome).

 

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Comments
  1. Jack Maddox says:

    Is that Stephen Cobert as the Judge?

  2. Jack Maddox says:

    By the way – Great Stuff Bro! Glad your back! Your writings bless me….

  3. Marty Martin(Cousin) says:

    Thanks for coming Back Paul,I’ve missed you, YOU are a Blessing to a lot of us
    Your Cuz,
    Martha

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