Jesus Feeding the 5,000

A daily devotion for May 10th

Why Pray?

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!

Luke 18:2-5

Here Jesus boldly confronts us with an inescapable choice: We must either pray or give up, one or the other. Either we learn to cry out to an unseen Father, who is ever present with us, or else we must lose heart. There is nothing left for us then but to muster up the best front we can, and make our way through life, without fire or without hope. It is one or the other; there are no other alternatives.

Notice the contrast of persons in this story. There is the widow and the judge. Who is weaker and more defenseless than a widow? In contrast to the widow there is the judge. Who can be more hard-boiled and unyielding than a judge, and an unrighteous judge especially? Here is a tough, hard-bitten, self-centered old skinflint with a heart as cold as a bathroom floor at two o'clock in the morning! And the widow has a persecutor, someone who is harassing her, plaguing her, making life difficult. She appealed for help but the judge couldn't care less. He was utterly unmoved by her pleas; nothing could reach him. He was a godless judge, so there was no appealing to him on a moral basis. And he had no regard for man, so there was no political pressure that could influence him. In view of the judge's hardness of heart, the case for the widow was hopeless.

Nevertheless, she found a way. She made life miserable for him. She gave him no rest day and night. She was continually before his court, hounding him until finally he was forced to act. He granted her request and she got what she needed! Right here lies the whole point of the story. This widow found the secret of handling reluctant judges, the one principle on which even a reluctant judge would act.

When, like the widow, life appears to us to be hopeless and useless, when we are victims of forces greater than we can manage, when there is no answer to the inescapable problems before us, no end in sight but certain failure of loss, there is one way out. There is a certain solution to our problems — prayer; crying out to a God we cannot see but upon whom we may rest, a Father with a heart of tender compassion and a willingness to act. Prayer always stirs the heart of God.

Thankfully, God is not like the unrighteous judge. He will not delay an answer to our prayers, and he does not require continual battering to move him. Prayer is forever the cry of a beloved child to his father, and frequently it is the cry of a lost child who does not know his way. The Father knows, and as a father he knows that it is not yet time to answer in that particular way. The outcome may be delayed, but there is no delay in his answer to our prayer. When we cry out he immediately answers. God rushes to the help of his child.

Father, these words of our Lord Jesus have made me aware of the lack of faith in my life. Teach me to depend continually upon you, to pour out to you every aspect of my life without hindrance.

Life Application

Am I faithful in prayer, even when it seems the answer is delayed?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Why Pray?

Listen to Ray