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?"
The point of the parable is clear. We need to persist in prayer confident that God will hear and “grant justice.” (v. 8) “And yet?” There still remains this lingering and puzzling question of “faith.” When the Son of Man comes will he find any faith remaining?
Of course Jesus’ question is meant to haunt each one of us directly. Now that Jesus has come and we have heard all the gospel promises about the mercy and justice of God, will we be moved to trust and follow this Jesus, who from day one of his ministry has proclaimed that he has come to act in mercy and justice for the poor and the oppressed in God’s world. (Luk 4:18f.) To persist in prayer with such a prospect of its outcome takes real trust—because, of course, in response to our prayers God may be leading us in paths that we may not be so ready to follow.
God of faithful promise, you have called us to follow you. Help us to see around us a world and people who are the objects of your mercy and justice, and help us to follow in trust wherever you lead, In the name of Jesus, Amen.