A Persistent Widow

Lou Lotz

READ : Luke 18:1-8

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (v. 1)

At the end of the day a plucky, energetic salesman
was finally admitted to see the
boss, and he proceeded to make a big sale. “Consider
yourself lucky,” said the boss. “Do
you know I’ve refused to see six salesmen today?” With
tireless enthusiasm the salesman
smiled and said: “I know! I’m them!” Persistent people
have a way of getting what they want.

Like the Parable of the Midnight Friend (Luke
11:5-13), this is a parable about
persistent prayer. The poor widow is relentless. She
won’t give up. She henpecks the judge
into surrender. Finally he says, “Because this widow
keeps bothering me, I will give her
justice.” There is power in persistence.

Why does God require such persistence of us? Is God
overworked? Understaffed? Hard of
hearing? Insensitive to our needs? Why must we keep
asking, over and over again?

Perhaps we do not really know what we want. When
needy people came crying to Jesus, he
often asked them: What do you want? It’s not always easy
to clarify and articulate what
you want. When I listen to my own prayers, I am
surprised, sometimes, at how diffuse and
unfocused they are.

But as we relentlessly persist in prayer, asking
again and again, our desires become
intensified, simplified, clarified. And finally comes
that moment when all the votes we
cast begin to say the same thing. To that one focused
commitment, God responds.


Father, renew my confidence in prayer. Amen.