Praying at the End of Your Rope

Stan Mast

READ : Luke 18:1-8

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (v. 1 NIV)

In the story of the old folks at the end of their rope (see December 5), did you notice anything about praying? No, I don’t mean the people praying outside the temple. I mean what the angel said to Zechariah in Luke 1:13, “Your prayer has been heard.”

I’m pretty sure that Zechariah hadn’t prayed for a child in quite a long time. He was an old man and Elizabeth had been barren her whole life. Do 70-year-olds pray for a baby? The angel is talking about prayers uttered years ago, prayers that Zechariah and Elizabeth assumed had not been heard. Now, many years later, they learn the wonderful truth. God heard long ago, but the answer seemed delayed. How often has that happened to you?

Fittingly, Luke’s Gospel is the only one to tell us the story of the persistent widow. Like Elizabeth and her husband, this widow had tried again and again to get what was due her. But her judge was both an atheist and a cad. Against all reasonable expectations, this widow kept coming to the judge. Finally, out of sheer exhaustion, the judge answered her plea.

The conclusion of Jesus’ story speaks to people at the end of their rope. “Will not [the Judge] bring about justice?” Yes! “Will [God] keep putting them off?” (v. 7). No! So keep the faith and keep praying.

PRAYER

Lord, help me to believe that my prayers have been heard. Amen.