Have you ever wanted something? Really, really wanted it? Or something you need doing? That you need someone else to help you?
If you have, did you mention it once and never again? Or was it constantly in your thoughts and on your lips.
The importance of something to us is usually proportionate to the number of times we think or speak of it. I know when I’ve set my heart on something I “may” mention it occassionally…
Luke 18:1-8 (CEV)
A Widow and a Judge
18 Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up:
2 In a town there was once a judge who didn’t fear God or care about people. 3 In that same town there was a widow who kept going to the judge and saying, “Make sure that I get fair treatment in court.”
4 For a while the judge refused to do anything. Finally, he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care about people, 5 I will help this widow because she keeps on bothering me. If I don’t help her, she will wear me out.”
6 The Lord said:
Think about what that crooked judge said. 7 Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? 8 He will surely hurry and help them. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find on this earth anyone with faith?
This is another strange story, that seems to go against everything we believe about God. It seems to imply that to get God to do anything we need to nag him, and he only helps us because he is fed up of us bothering him and wants some peace.
But if we look at the beginning, Jesus told this story to illustrate that we should keep on praying and never give up. It’s not about God and his attitude – its about us and ours.
To return to the much wanted item, if we see it once, perhaps ask for it, but never think of it again, it is not really that important to it. The whim has soon passed. If it consumes our thoughts, or heaven forbid we might nag about receiving it, it is obviously important to us.
Likewise with prayer. There are many things we could pray about, probably many things we do, but do we pray about them regularly and passionately? Are these really things that bother us enough to keep on going? Do we show God we mean business? Not to appease him and make him act, but to show we really care. In the picture, the woman is having to be pulled off the judge, such is her intent on making him hear.
So how is my praying? Formal, staid, as if I don’t mind one way or the other? Or passionate, heartfelt and ongoing? Do I show God I mean business? Lose myself in the depth of prayer? Or show it was a passing whim that I hadn’t really thought through?
In not giving up, I learn about myself. My true passions, and my staying power – my faithfulness.
It may not effect how God responds, but it will effect us and our relationship with him and the situation.
as I pray,
show me what I can do