He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’”
Prayer is a sign that we truly care. Jesus uses a poor widow to paint a picture of the injustice of this world. A praying person is like this widow, and like a widow, although we have seemingly no power to change the injustice in this world, we cannot just accept it. Prayer without ceasing is the sign that we will not accept those things which are not yet just. When we pray like a widow who keeps coming to the courts day in and day out, we reveal a heart that is not satisfied with the level of heaven that is evident on earth.
Jesus taught us to pray, “On earth as in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). And He meant, don’t stop praying until earth looks like heaven. If racism is still an issue, we still need to keep praying. If gun violence is still an issue, we need to keep praying. If extreme poverty is still an issue, we need to keep praying. If we say, “What can prayer do?” then we might have forgotten the power of the seed, or the power of the yeast. Prayer sows while worry loses heart. Remember that Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed be thy name” before He gave us the phrase, “on earth as in heaven.” Why? He means us to see that to bring heaven to earth is not done through the sowing of our flesh—but rather, through prayer, we sow the name of Jesus into every situation.
Human lives all around us are dead in their trespasses, faced with great fears and injustice and spiritual blindness. Prayer calls heaven into the lives of our fellow humans. As we pray for their salvation—that the Gospel would have full effect in their heart, that joy would be restored and that grace would abound—we are sowing the power of the Gospel into their life. Yes, the preaching of the Gospel is the scattering of the seed, but prayer is the sign that we are not relying on our cleverness in preaching but in the power of Jesus’ name.
Prayer is the greatest non-violent act we can take in the face of injustice. Where Peter reaches for the sword to cut off his enemy’s ear, Jesus had just been previously praying and not losing heart in the garden. When Peter cuts off the ear of a fellow human, Jesus shows the result of prayer, for He loves His enemy and heals the bondservant’s ear. Someone who prays and truly knows the Father will always reach out in love to heal.
If we as individuals reach for the sword when confronted with the potential of our freedom being taken from us by others, then we need to pray. If we as a nation reach for bombs when faced with terrorists who have bombed us, we need to pray. When we reach for hurtful thoughts or words towards others that have hurt us, we need to pray. Prayer brings the non-violent protest of heaven to earth.
This woman didn’t stop praying, even when faced with an unjust judge who did not care about God or man. She did not give up. Like the widow, we need to pray until this broken earth looks like heaven. Let’s pray today. Don’t give up. And let’s not lose heart.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey