Persevere in prayer

The Parable of the Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1-8)

2 Points:

  1. What is the meaning of: “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8b)
    • Jesus was talking about the Parousia – His Second Coming.
    • Two days before Passover at the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Jesus privately and asked, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
    • Jesus answered, “At that time, many will be led into sin … Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the hearts of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:10-12)
    • St. Paul warns against the great apostasy in his letter to the Thessalonians: “With regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ … let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed.” (2 Thes 2:1,3)
    • In conclusion to the parable, why did Jesus say that when He returns, will He find faith on earth?
    • At the abortion clinic, there were cars coming and going. A pregnant woman went accompanied inside the building, One more unborn child will die today. The escorts were young women. Their sweet and smiling faces cover up the great evil that was going on in that place. The Gospel passage speaks of this reality: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” That abortion clinic is just one of many. The absence of faith is demonstrated each day in many, many places throughout the world. Many have been deceived, many have been led to sin, and many have no faith. And yet, the Parable of the Importunate Widow is a source of great hope for it has a hidden message. Through the parable, Jesus teaches us that the response to apostasy is to persevere in prayer.
  2. The second point is that the parable is a paradox: in the parable, the widow, who is the petitioner, was able to change the judge’s mind. On the other hand, the exact opposite happens when a person of faith persists in prayer; it is that person’s heart that is changed according to God’s will. Persistent prayer is a means for continuing communion with God; it reshapes our hearts to God’s original design, because the purpose of prayer is not to change God’s will, but to bring our hearts in line with God’s will. Of course, we prefer prayer to grant what we ask for — and quickly. We expect physicians to cure us instantly. We expect technology to provide instant results. We expect the stock market to give us instant wealth. But God does not promise instant answers to prayer. Let us consider that a blessing! Imagine if God gives everyone what they pray for instantaneously. Would that really deepen our faith, or would it make us take God for granted and eventually make us lose faith? A father or mother who instantly gives everything their children ask for eventually spoils their children. We can’t expect a loving God to do that to us!