Luke 18:1-8 (NRSV)
Chapter 18Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. Verse 2He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. Verse 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' Verse 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, Verse 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'" Verse 6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. Verse 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? Verse 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
Does God call us to be persistent in prayer because our prayers somehow fulfill God's unmet needs? No, not hardly! Rather, we must pray persistently because we need to connect consistently with God. Whether we are wrestling with concerns or wrongs throughout sleepless nights, traveling from violence and poverty to find safety, seeking truth amid a barrage of false teachings, or advocating for a more caring and just society, we need persistent prayer for a consistent connection with God.
These are challenging, confusing, and conflicting times. Whatever difficulties we face individually, as faith communities, or throughout society, it might be easy to "lose heart" and give up. We could simply abandon hope and become overwhelmed by hatred. However, through persistent prayer God gives us hope and helps us overcome hatred with love. God commands us to persistently pray and consistently connect so we can faithfully follow and successfully serve God.
God of abiding love, thank you for giving us hope throughout difficult times. Help us to consistently connect with you so that we can persistently serve you with our neighbors. Amen.