(Luke 18:1)

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart …

Luke 18:1

The Bible is not always so direct about the purpose of the things that are recorded. For example, The Bible records that several great men of faith — Jacob, David — were polygamists. Scripture does not tell me why it records this detail, but it is recorded. In the case of the parable of the widow and the judge, The Bible shifts gears and tells me precisely why Jesus told the parable and, by extension, why it is recorded.

Since I know why the parable is told and put down in writing, it behooves me to take a moment to consider whether or not I have learned the lesson that the parable is supposed to teach.

First, do I pray? The answer, simply put, is yes. However, the lesson is that I ought to pray … at all times. Am I praying at all times and about all things?

The idea, to my mind, is that there should be no subject that is taboo in my discourse with God. He wants me to bring to Him everything: my concerns, my thanks, my hurts, my praise … everything. I do not think that God is itching to cast me out of His presence when I come before Him with my anger and my hurt. I think He wants to heal my hurts and put my anger in its proper place. I do not think that the language I use can ever shock Him — He did, after all, hear everything I ever said. All of it. Likewise, I do not think that I can shock God with the things that have entered into my heart and mind. It is not as though He is unaware of them. He wants to create in me a new heart and restore a right spirit within me, as David prayed. Reading the psalms can lead me to one of two conclusions: either prayer can be asking for some really violent and retributive things (and possibly getting them) or prayer can be a time when I vent my spleen to God and He puts things in their right order and restores communion with Himself. The second is the conclusion I have reached.

In addition, there should be no time when I do not pray. Whether I am unaware of any wrongs I may have committed or whether I just finished doing something heinous, I should still come before God to repent and to beg His forgiveness or to praise Him or thank Him or whatever is appropriate to the moment.

Second, I should not lose heart. The reason for this is obvious to any believer who has ever prayed about anything: Sometimes, God takes a long time to respond to our inquiry. God is working on a whole different time scale than I am and that difference in time table can be frustrating. Worse, it can cause me to lose heart. I pray that God will deliver me from some besetting sin and know that I know that He wants to do so. And it seems that all I get is Heaven’s silence for an answer. Do I persevere or do I lose heart? To my shame, I too often lose heart and drop the subject.

Let me press on in prayer, knowing that God will not give me anything that is not for the best and knowing that God will make good on every promise He has ever made. Let me pray about all things and on all occasions, even and especially when I feel least worthy to pray. It is, perhaps, those times in which I most need to pray.

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