Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up… 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”Luke 18:1,7-8
Prayer is one of the most mysterious aspects of our faith. It isn’t a formula with specified outcomes from other specific inputs. No one can tell you what to do to get the answer you are looking for. The reason it’s mysterious is because at the center of effective prayer is a heart that desires God.
But how can we have a heart that truly desires God so our prayers become effective? The answer may seem odd: to have a heart that truly desires God over and above His blessings you have to pray and never give up.
To pray well, we have to desire God over His blessings; we start to desire God over His blessings by praying more.
For the most part many of us pray for a blessing from God without truly wanting to love God, and then we blame Him for feeling far away. However when we start to truly love God for Himself, that’s when He knows we can handle and understand His answers to our prayers whether they are a no or a yes.
The Apostle Paul prayed multiple times for relief from pain, but God said no, ‘my power is made perfect in weakness’, and that led Paul to boast in his weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Pauls heart desired God, so when God answered his prayer with a ‘no’, Paul was able to handle it and understand the divine purpose to his pain.
Paul’s persistent prayer was effective because it came from a heart that truly desired God.
This truth is reflected in the question Jesus asks in verse 8. ‘When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’ That is a tough question to read, but it gets at an important point; prayer comes from faith. However sometimes our faith is in systems, rules and in getting justice rather than in ‘the Son of Man'(vs. 8). Even if our faith and hope are ever so slightly leaning to other things, that can directly impact the effectiveness of our prayers, no matter how persistent we are praying.
How can we desire God more and take to heart the call to persistent prayer?
Lord, examine our hearts and bring to mind the ways we may be holding onto our own desires and selfish ambition over You. We know that as we pray continuously our hearts will start to change. We ask in Your powerful name that we would be able to handle and understand the divine purposes of Your answers to us and that we would boast in our weaknesses so that your power will be made visible in us as we devote our lives to you. Be magnified in us Lord. Amen