ODJ: shameless persistence

August 23, 2013 

READ: Luke 18:1-8  

Always pray and never give up (v.1).

It was supposed to be one of those ‘in and out’ trips to the shop—all I needed was laundry detergent. But then my daughter spotted some toys for sale. She begged, “Can we look at the toys?” I responded with, “Maybe.” Then she used a negotiation tactic popular with children—shameless persistence. “Mum, pleeeeease?” She kept up the requests until we finally ended up knee-deep in baby dolls and books.
Spiritually speaking, God doesn’t mind persistence in His children. The Bible encourages us to always “pray and never give up” (Luke 18:1). In fact, Jesus told a story about a widow who badgered a judge with repeated requests for justice (v.3). The judge had a bad reputation, and yet he thought: “I’m going to see that [this woman] gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests” (v.5). Even the crooked judge handed down “a just decision in the end” (v.7).

Since God is a righteous judge (Psalm 7:11), Jesus assured us that “God will surely give justice to His chosen people who cry out to Him day and night” (Luke 18:7). Besides justice, God also gives “good gifts” and the Holy Spirit’s help to those who ask Him (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13).

Are you struggling to ask and knock with the fervour of the persistent widow? Maybe you’ve prayed about something, but then gave up and tried to fix the issue yourself. If so, remember that God is able to “accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Going back to God again and again puts the outcome in His hands. And it allows us to say, “Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” (Psalm 116:2). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Read Deuteronomy 10:10 to see how God answered Moses’ persistent intercessory prayers.  
What’s the difference between vain repetition in prayer (Matthew 6:7) and “shameless persistence”? (Luke 11:8). What do you need to pray about today?