Pray and Don’t Give Up

Stephanie Haugen | October 6, 2022

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?”

Luke 18:1-8

In my role at Willow Creek, I get to know and interact with people who are just about to get baptized. Moments before they get into the water, they will share their story of what Jesus is doing in their life  – and often, they will introduce me to someone who has been praying for them. 

Last week, a gentle grandfather pulled me aside with a big smile and whispered, “I’ve been praying every day for two years for my granddaughter.”  And a few weeks before that, a boyfriend said to me, “We’ve been talking about faith for seven months, and I’ve been praying for my girlfriend that whole time.” There are often people behind the scenes tenaciously praying for their loved ones to know Jesus. 

When Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow, He was reminding us to always pray and never give up. Even when we get discouraged. Even when people are telling us there is no way. Even when we aren’t confident about how or what to ask for.  

In this parable, there was a vulnerable widow who had no one to represent or protect her; she was stuck and desperate. With no options, she turned to an awful, unkind judge—and pleaded with him. She kept coming to him, begging for him to review her situation. And finally, after she exhausted him with her persistence and determination, he made a judgment in her favor. 

Parables teach us lessons, and in this case, the persistent widow is not what you might think. It is not about God being reluctant or bothered by our needs—that is not in God’s character! Instead, this parable serves as a reminder. If an unjust judge would answer the request of a widow he didn’t even know, how much more will a loving, righteous, generous God hear the prayers of His kids and want to respond!? 

So, pray! Pray for your lost friends. Pray for our world filled with pain and injustice. Pray for healing and change. And don’t stop praying. We may not have answers instantly, but God loves to hear from you and wants to answer your prayers.

Next Steps

  • Think of someone in your life who is stuck or desperate today, pause to pray specifically for them. Maybe even set an alarm on your phone to remind you to consistently and persistently pray for this person.
  • Sometimes problems can seem so big that we don’t think to ask God for help, or we give up quickly. What is one issue in our world that needs bold prayer?