Weekend Extra – Tough and Weak Prayer

April 11, 2011 at 5:15 am 1 comment


Recently, I heard the story of a lady whose husband was terminally ill with a heart condition.  For years, he had fought valiantly against his sickness, but now, his ability to fight was waning.  The time came when he had only days left.  He was in the hospital.  The doctors were scrambling to prolong his life.  And this man’s wife had a decision to make.  Should she advise continuing treatments for her husband, who was unable to decide for himself, or should she advise against it?  She prayed to her Lord.  A couple of hours later, word came from the nurse:  “He will not be getting better.  It’s all downhill from here.”  She took this word to be her divine answer and told the doctors to keep her beloved husband comfortable rather than to try to treat his disease.  He passed away a couple of days later.

This past weekend in worship and ABC, we took a look at Jesus’ Parable of the Unjust Judge:

In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.  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 about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!” (Luke 18:2-5)

Upfront, Luke states the purpose of Jesus’ parable when he writes, “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and never give up” (Luke 18:1).  This, then, is a parable about prayer.  Indeed, in this little parable are embedded some very valuable lessons that can help us tremendously in our own prayer lives.

First, we must remember that prayer is tough. The woman in Jesus’ parable is persistent in her entreaty of the judge.  We should be the same in prayer.  But being persistent is not always easy.  All too often, we can be tempted to give up when the answers to our prayers come slower than we might like.  In our quick fix, microwave, lightning fast, high speed society, we are conditioned to want answers from God and want them now!  But sometimes, God makes us wait.  And this is good.  For patience can build our character and our trust in God.  But waiting is not easy.

Prayer can also be tough when the answer we receive to a prayer is not the one we want.  I think of that lady and her husband.  Surely she was praying for a miracle.  Surely she was begging for her husband to be healed.  But her answer from God through a nurse was loud and clear: “No.  His time has come.”  To receive an answer like this in prayer and then to make a medical decision like the one she had to make is never easy.  Prayer is not easy.  This we must remember.

Second, we also must remember that prayer is for the weak. There is an interesting paradox that permeates prayer.  Prayer is tough, and yet it is for weak people.  It is for people who know that by their own devices, know-how, and strength, they cannot prop up, fix up, or wrap up their lives.  In Jesus’ parable, it is a widow who entreats a judge.  This is purposeful.  For widows were well known to be weak and vulnerable in this day.  Without a husband, a widow often had no financial resources for herself or recourse against those who would seek to take advantage of her, as did this mysterious adversary in Jesus’ parable.  Prayer, then, is for people who are weak…and know it.  It is for people who understand that the most profound things of life happen not with our cajoling and coaxing, but by God’s providence and power.  Prayer demands more trust in the supremacy of God and less trust in the supremacy of self.  Prayer is for weak people and to a powerful God.

Finally, then, the question of prayer is this:  Are you tough and weak in prayer?  Are you persistent and powerless in prayer?  The good news of our prayers is that they do not fall on the ears of an unjust judge, like the widow in Jesus’ parable, but on the ears of a righteous heavenly Father who wants to help.  We do not have to persuade Him to care about us as does the widow with the judge.  He already does.

Want to learn more on this passage? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!

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ABC Extra – Facebook and Salvation Adult Bible Class – God in the Gap

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Irene M.  |  April 11, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I do get discouraged when I pray and pray for certain situations that are out of my control and I see no change. Then I struggle with the idea that God knows what’s going on and why do I keep reminding Him? Then I think maybe His will is different than mine but surely in some circumstances what’s happening is not within His will, right? So I keep praying, waiting, hoping. But it’s hard to be a nag. LOL At the very least I can unburden my heart for a day at a time.

    Reply

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