"Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart."
When I ask people what area of their Christian life that they struggle with the most, the average response is their prayer life. I understand completely. Prayer is one of the most vital areas of our spiritual walk. God in His love has given us free access to His throne. He implores us to come boldly to His throne of grace. He desires communication with His children. However, we often feel that we cannot come to God for several reasons. Some of us fear rejection. Others get discouraged because they are afraid of saying it wrong. Whatever the reason for our not coming to God in prayer, we are misguided to not bring our hearts desires to the Lord.
I have always loved the passage of Luke 18. This oppressed widow teaches us so much about prayer. There are three things that we can learn from her. First, we can learn honesty. If there is any one thing that needs to change about most of our prayer lives, it is that we need to simply be honest with God. So many are afraid to tell God how they feel. Yet, that is exactly what He wants us to do. He tells us in Matthew 11 to come to Him with all of our weariness and pain. The psalmist David enjoyed such a rich relationship with God, because he was not inhibited in his honesty. Peter tells us to cast all our care upon God. Speak openly and plainly with God. You will not offend Him or hurt His feelings. We are told in Matthew that He already knows what is in our hearts anyway.
Second, we can learn dependence. We will never receive our heart's desire from any other source. Only God knows what we truly need and how best to meet that need. The widow would not leave the judge alone, because she knew that he was the only one that could take care of her problem. In the same way, it is God and God alone that is the answer to your prayers. By coming to Him you are demonstrating faith in and dependence on the Lord.
Third, we can learn persistence. The reason stated for the parable was that men should always pray and not lose heart. Think of that phrase "not lose heart". How often have you been discouraged in your prayer life? I imagine that there have been several times. There were some answers to prayer that you thought would never come, but in some of those situations you saw God step in right on time. Jesus compares the Father to the unjust judge in the parable and demonstrates how much more the Father cares for His children. God does hear your prayer each day. Solomon told us in Ecclesiastes that God makes all things beautiful in His time. With that persistence we must have patience. Do not quit. Do not give up. Lift up your head for your redemption draweth nigh. Pray fervently and honestly with your heart open before a holy God who loves you and is joyful that you have entered into His presence once again.
May you open your heart up before your God today!