Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
Lk. 18:1-8 (NIV): Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’  “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”  And the Lord 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. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
Perhaps, the widow facing injustice is in a situation similar to that of another widow who says to Elisha, “. . . you know that [my husband] revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves” (2 Ki. 4:2). Whereas Elisha is willing to help the widow, the judge in the parable is not.
Sometimes, to stress a point, an absurd argument is used. Ruth Graham once said, “If God doesn’t soon bring judgment upon America, He’ll have to go back and apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!” She meant that Americans were steeped in sin. Jesus does the same here: to show the effectiveness of persistent prayer, he has to make the judge (who represents God) out to be indifferent and uncaring. If the judge were to be kind and willing, then there would be no story to tell.
For a long time, the judge shows zero interest in addressing the widow’s grievance; her lack of stature only adds to his indifference. But the judge’s mind wavers as she keeps shouting and even banging on the door; he is clearly overwhelmed by it. As the days turn into weeks, the judge, out of sheer exhaustion, relents; she gets what she came for: justice.
Ultimately, although God isn’t like an uncaring judge, He still may not respond right away so that we can learn to pray persistently. On the other hand, God may respond immediately, as Elisha says to the widow, “How I can I help you?” and immediately provides a miraculous way for her to pay the debt (2 Ki. 4:7).
Praying consistently both in depth (“[Jesus] prayed more earnestly” [Lk. 22:43]) and length (“Could you men not keep watch me for one hour” [Matt. 26:40]) may just come down to developing it as a habit. Some scientists say that a typical person needs at least 3 weeks to form a good habit. Two components are necessary to develop any habit: intentionality and a plan. So decide that you are going to develop a prayer life where you pray daily for a significant length; develop a prayer strategy that includes adoration (praise), confession, thanksgiving, supplication and intercession. Just pray!
Lord, what am I that the God of this universe would heed to my words! It is beyond comprehension that I matter that much to You. O God, if I just stop for seconds to think about this amazing reality, nothing in life can make me really sad. Father, accept my prayer as a fragrant offering unto You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 32
Lunch Break Study
Read Lk. 2:46-55 (NIV): “And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,  for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,  for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful  to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.’”
Question to Consider
- How does Mary begin her prayer? Why is that important?
- What does Mary pray after that? What is the significance of doing that?
- Consider structuring your prayer under this acronym: A-C-T-S: adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication (including intercession, that is, praying for the needs of other people; this part should be the longest). Write out a quick prayer under each letter.
- She begins with a declaration, praising God: “My soul glories the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God.” When speaking to a waiter, we don’t say, “My stomach glorifies the chef”; we just get to the point. However, we shouldn’t speak to God as if He were taking our order (“easy on the butter”).
- She recalls all the powerful, faithful and merciful things that the Lord has done in the past on behalf of her people; this, no doubt, gives her confidence that He can help her cause as well.
- A: Father, I acknowledge You as my loving yet sovereign Ruler of my life; C: I confess that I have repeatedly failed to acknowledge You in my everyday life; T: I thank You for always forgiving me and providing for my needs; S: Lord, I pray that you will provide for the education of my children.
As we wrap up this day, I think it is appropriate to end it with a heartfelt prayer as we meditate on this verse: “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:11).