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

Today we resume our study of the Gospel of Luke.  Our text is found in Luke 18:1-8 and is commonly referred to as “The Parable of the Persistent Widow”.  In this sermon we shall be encourage one another “always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1) through persistent and patient prayer.  While some may think there is a contradiction between persistence and patience, there is none.  Being persistent does not mean you are impatient and being patient does not mean you are not persistent.  Patience is the ability to wait without becoming angry or annoyed.  Persistence is the ability to continue despite problems.

Persistent Prayer

Persistent prayer is unrelenting.  It is the prayer life of that characterizes a person who prays at all times and for all things.

Pray at All Times.  The Bible clearly teaches that prayer is not limited to a particular time.  In verse 3, notice that the widow “kept coming” (3) to the unjust judge.  She was not content with occasional petitioning of the judge, but made sure to come to him continually in order to state her case: “Give me justice against my adversary” (3).  Jesus used this parable to teach us to continually come to our good and gracious God who loves and cares for us.

Pray in All Places. The Bible clearly teaches that prayer is not limited to a particular place.  Jesus tells us that the setting of this parable is “in a certain city” (1).  There is nothing spectacular about this particular city.  Jesus’ point is that this type of situation can happen anywhere and in any city.  Jesus used this parable to teach us to pray everywhere we find ourselves.  It doesn’t matter where we go because God is the Creator of the whole world and is with us everywhere.

Pray for All Things. The Bible clearly teaches that prayer is not limited to a particular situation.  We are not told in the parable what the details were of this particular complaint.  All we know is that this righteous widow needed justice and sought it with great persistence.  Jesus used this parable to teach us to pray everywhere we find ourselves.  It doesn’t matter where we go because God is the Creator of the whole world and is with us everywhere.

Patient Prayer

Patient prayer is unwavering.  It is the prayer life of a person who prays confidently and effectively.

Our Confident Prayer.  Patient prayers are prayers made with confidence. In the parable, the widow kept coming to the judge and asking for justice because she was confident that he would give her justice.  Even though the judge refused her request for a while (4), she was confident and kept on coming to him.  Jesus is teaching us in this parable to be confident when we pray and trust that our God is listening to our prayers.  Even if we do not see an answer, we patiently wait for god to act.

Our Effective Prayer.  Patient prayers are prayers that are effective.  When you pray, do you believe God hears you and will bring the best solution?  Are your prayers powerful and effective or are they ineffective and weak?  Pray and ask God to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life.

The Fuel is Faith

Persistent and patient prayer is fueled by faith in Jesus Christ and is an indicator that such faith exists.  Consider that Jesus spoke this parable to remind us that we “ought always to pray and not lose heart” (1).  Please do not miss this important point: the Son of God takes time to insist that we not stop praying because He intends on giving you the best answer possible on His schedule.

Righteous Judge. In this parable Jesus is arguing from the “lesser” to the “greater”.  The unrighteous judge (the lesser) is motivated to grant the widow’s request because of her insistence and her commitment that he is able.  She will not be denied.  God (the greater) is a righteous Judge and is far more motivated and caring.  Therefore (lesser to greater), how much more will “God give justice to His elect” (7) when they insistent on justice and are committed that God is able!  We can pray persistently and patiently because we have faith that God is righteous and will always do what is right.

Loving Father. In this parable there is a sharp contrast between the unrighteous judge and the righteous Judge.  The unrighteous judge “neither feared God nor respected man” (2).  The righteous Judge is God and He is our loving Heavenly Father.  The Bible tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:16).  We can pray persistently and patiently because we have faith that God loves us and cares deeply for us.