A Prayer for the End Time: Luke 18:1-8

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As we continue moving through Luke’s gospel, we come to a parable Jesus shared that is very challenging to reconcile if we take this parable out of its context, and especially if we leave off the opening verse of this event.

In this passage, Jesus shares exactly what He wants His followers to learn from the illustration He shares, and the only way this parable makes sense is if we look through the lens that Jesus gives us to help us understand it.

With that said, let’s read this parable and discover what Jesus wants to teach us through it. Our parable and passage are found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 18, and we will read from the New Century Version. Starting in verse 1, Luke tells us that:

Then Jesus used this story to teach his followers that they should always pray and never lose hope.

I want to stop briefly and draw our attention onto this significant verse. Jesus is about to share an illustration meant for all of His followers that we should always pray and never lose hope. This is the lens we must look through when seeking to understand the parable Jesus is about to share, and this lens may be even more important for us living today than it was for Jesus’ disciples living in the first century.

Continuing in verse 2, Jesus continued saying:

“In a certain town there was a judge who did not respect God or care about people. In that same town there was a widow who kept coming to this judge, saying, ‘Give me my rights against my enemy.’ For a while the judge refused to help her. But afterwards, he thought to himself, ‘Even though I don’t respect God or care about people, I will see that she gets her rights. Otherwise she will continue to bother me until I am worn out.’”

The Lord said, “Listen to what the unfair judge said. God will always give what is right to his people who cry to him night and day, and he will not be slow to answer them. I tell you, God will help his people quickly. But when the Son of Man comes again, will he find those on earth who believe in him?”

In this parable and the follow-up verses that Jesus shares about it, we discover that we are never to give up on praying and we are to never lose hope. This tells us that we should be like the widow in this parable.

Does this mean that God is then represented as an unfair judge who doesn’t care about anyone but himself? On the surface, it may appear so, but Jesus counters this idea in His follow-up statement in verse 7, “God will always give what is right to his people who cry to him night and day, and he will not be slow to answer them.

In this parable, we are challenged to continue bringing our requests to God day and night, God will always give His people what is right, and God will not be slow to answer them.

This brings up an interesting dilemma. When God gives us the answer of wait, or an answer that the time isn’t right yet, does this mean that He is slow to answer, or that we are being impatient?

When it seems as though God is silent, does that mean that God is really being silent or that the timing isn’t right?

In my own mind, I have to conclude that if I don’t clearly see an answer to prayer, then the actual answer is to wait and be patient, because God gives us answers quickly, and He will always give what is right to His people. God has a much bigger perspective than I can even imagine, and it is helpful to understand that God will answer our prayers most often from His perspective and not from ours.

However, if God appears silent and unresponsive to our cries for justice, does that then mean that He is like this unfair judge. Again, this might appear to be the case, however, I don’t think that the quantity of our prayers are enough to change God’s mind or God’s timing. I don’t believe that more prayers to God will wear Him down like these requests to the judge.

What if instead of the focus being on the judge, it is on the widow. What if the widow’s persistent requests actually drew her to the judge. While this sounds crazy in the context of this parable, the more we pray and the more earnestly we pray, the more we are drawn to God and the more we realize our ultimate dependence on Him.

I wholeheartedly believe that God does not withhold answers to prayers because He wants us to pray more. A good God who always gives what is right to His people would not display that type of attitude. However, God has a bigger perspective than we do and His perspective wants us with Him in heaven and sin to never return into a perfectly recreated universe.

This means that this parable, and the big message that Jesus shares in it, is applicable for everyone at every point in history, and especially for those living in the time of the end. This parable, and the challenge to continually persist in prayer never giving up hope, is Jesus’ challenge to us living near the end.

The prayer of God’s people when the world is wholeheartedly, unjustly, against them is the prayer of this widow. This widow’s prayer in verse 3 is simple: “Give me my rights against my enemy.

This prayer is the prayer for God’s people living in the end times. When it appears as though God is silent and an unjust world has turned against us, never give up hope, never stop praying, and continually trust that God has a bigger perspective than we do and His perspective extends infinitely farther into the future than sin lasts, because God’s perspective extends into eternity!

Faith, hope, trust, and prayer draw our hearts to God, and even when times are bad, we can know and trust that God will always give what is right to His people, and that He will ultimately judge fairly all the unjustness we experienced in our lives in a sin-filled world.

As we come the end of another podcast episode, here are the challenges I will leave you with:

As always, continue to seek God first in your life and intentionally put your faith, hope, trust, and belief in Jesus. Never give up hope and take everything to God in prayer because prayer opens our hearts, minds, and lives up to God and prayer lets the Holy Spirit into our lives!

Also, as you continue persisting in prayer, keep studying the Bible for yourself as well. Through prayer and Bible study, discover how to open your life to God, discover how His words and His promises never fail, and ultimately learn to see your life in the big picture of His story known as history. Our lives are best looked at through the lens of what Jesus did for us, and this lens is found in the Bible, specifically in the gospels we focus this podcast on!

And as I end every set of challenges by saying in one way or another, never stop short of, back away from, chicken out of, or give up on where God wants to lead you to in your life with Him!

Year in Luke – Episode 37: In a challenging parable Jesus shares about a judge who doesn’t care about anyone but himself, discover how a widow’s prayer reflects the prayer of a certain group of people living at a certain time in history, and what that means for us living today!

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