Persevering Prayer Reveals God’s Generosity

Jesus uses a parable of a widow to teach His disciples how prayer reveals both the heart of the one who prays and the heart of the God who hears those prayers (see Luke 18).

In the parable, a widow goes to a judge appointed to bring justice for people, but this judge ignores her. As we consider the vulnerability and need of this woman, we are indignant and distraught at the widow’s pain and angry at the indifference of the judge. Finally, she experiences a breakthrough. Jesus describes the judge’s response to the woman’s persistent pleas: “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’” (Luke 18:4,5).

In the end, the widow got results, but our heavenly Father is not like the judge! Jesus said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly” (Luke 18:6-8).

Persevering Prayer Reveals God’s Generosity | Doug Nuenke | iEdgers engage in ministry in and around the UASD in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Our heavenly Father is a God who hears, a God who brings justice, not one who is indifferent and needing to be pestered! The point of the parable is this: Pestering is not needed to see prayer answered. Answered prayer comes out of the heart of a good and generous God combined with our faith displayed in perseverance in bringing our requests to Him.

As we become people of prayer, we will learn that God is not indifferent, but postured to respond to dependent faith. We don’t have to edit our prayers or worry our requests are too basic or they don’t conform to some kind of pious standard. Just as a loving earthly father does not expect his children to filter their requests, we can come as we are, dependent and needy. He will not keep putting us off. Rather, He will act on our behalf. God longs to bring help to those who cry out to Him (see Luke 11:9-13). We can trust that God’s goodness and generosity will be reflected in His responses to all our prayers, big and small (see Matthew 10:29-31).

This is a new year full of new possibilities; may our goals and intentions be matched with dependent, persevering, faith-filled prayer. Prayer can open whole new vistas of relationship with God, even as our earthly life becomes crowded with difficulties. Through prayer, we not only invite intervention from our Heavenly Father, we learn more about who He is and how generously He cares for His children.

Portions of this article adapted from Doug’s book Making Waves: Being an Influence for Jesus in Everyday Life.

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  1. A very timely reminder for me as I begin to sort and review life issues for a fresh start at this challenging and unique season. God my father is not surprised at the seemingly confusing state of affairs. I will trust him and ask for clarity.

  2. I’m confused. The widow kept on and on and on. The point was that this wasn’t needed with God that he listens and hears. But then it says that we need perseverance. This is a direct contradiction. So then we don’t need to ask God more than once or we do? This is why the Bible is so frustrating. So many contradictions. Or it’s so complicated that it’s impossible to figure out.

    1. Paul, I think that there are many paradoxes in the Christian faith, such as: “he who saves his life will lose it, and he who loses his life will save it”. I think that God the Father wants us to always pray and to keep on asking, keeping in mind the fact that He is always listening to our prayers and that He is not like the unjust judge in the parable, He will answer and act one our prayers in his perfect time. And so, we should keep on going to Him and not give up. I hope that this helps a little. God bless you.

  3. I am studying the book of Genesis right now. I’m learning that when the time is right our prayers are answered. Sarah’s prayer wasn’t answered right a way. We need to have patient God will answer. Ishmael prayed for Rebecca as well for a baby. It was answered. Patients is a key factor when we pray. Don’t give up. He hears us cry out to him. He loves the fact that we come to him, like a child goes to his father. We need to Go to the Father with everything. He isn’t to busy to listen.

  4. I am reminded of the injustices committed against non-whites, including by the white church, over the past hundreds of years. Is God listening? I think so. Biblical justice is a key issue at this time in our country’s history.

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