Keep Praying; Don’t Quit!
“There was in a certain city a judge who did not
fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and
she came to him saying, Get justice for me from my adversary. And he
would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, Though I do
not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will
avenge her lest by her continual coming she weary me.” (Luke 18:1-5)
For me it was an unusual evening, because it was an evening of discovery. My wife had travelled and the children had gone out to play. As I sat there with my Bible, the Holy Spirit directed me to the eighteenth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke. Particularly striking was the first verse: “Then He spoke a parable to them that men ought always to pray, and not lose heart.” I paused for a minute just to think about it. Then I realised that Jesus must have been the greatest motivational teacher that ever lived. One point He made, and which He made very clear in this passage, was: Always pray and you will not lose heart. I picked up some other versions of the Bible to look at the same verse.
Here are my findings:
• Always pray and do not faint (King James).
• Always pray and do not become discouraged (Today’s English Version).
• Always pray until the answer comes (Living Bible).
• Always pray and do not give up (New International Version).
• Always pray and do not be cowardly (Good News for Modern Man).
• Always pray and never despair (The 20th Century New Testament).
Then I realised that in every situation in life one will always find himself on either side of the coin, either praying to win or giving up to fail. Now, what is your situation like today? Are you discouraged? Are you fainting? Are you at the brink of total collapse? From this teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, there is one more thing you can do–you can pray!
Someone told me how a simple domestic incident taught him the essence of prayer. He has two sons, one older by two years. One Saturday morning both had their baths and dressed to go out. The older son came to the father and asked, “Daddy, can I have some money? I want to go to the cyber café to check my mail.” The father promptly gave him the money he requested for. The other son hovered around his dad, but made no request–perhaps out of timidity.
The next day the father asked him, “Did you want some money yesterday to go with your brother to the cyber café?” “Yes, Dad!” he replied “Then why did you not ask?” The father wanted to know. The son smiled, but said nothing. “I had some money I could have given you,” the father continued, “but since you were too timid to ask, I kept my money!” “Pastor,” the father said to me later, “this has taught me the need to ask my Heavenly Father whenever I need anything.”
No matter how deep in the valley you have gone, you are just one prayer short of victory. In our opening passage the picture is that of a weak and helpless woman in dire need. And from whom did she need attention? From a rather hard and disinterested man! A friend described the scenario as having a brass ceiling over one’s head. But she broke through! She got the answer she needed. Now, how did she do it? She was persistent in prayer. The truth is, one more prayer will always do it. And until it is done, one more prayer will always do.
No matter how hard a rock is, the persistent blows of the pile driver will ultimately penetrate it. Not just one blow, but persistent blows! The persistent blows of the hammer head will drive the nail through the wood. Not just one, but persistent blows! The rock badger has no diggers or shovels but it will dig deep enough into the rock to build a home for itself (Proverbs20: 26). This creature is very small and feeble, yet it will dig through where even man cannot dig without sophisticated tools. The word here is persistence. Never give up! There is a popular saying that until you fail to try, you are not yet a failure. It is not the situation that makes you a failure; rather, it is the failure to try that invariably makes you a failure.
You can at least pray and believe that you will receive. This reminds me of a story by Charles Swindoll. Ignace Jan Paderewski, the famous composer-pianist, was scheduled to perform at a great concert hall in America. It was an evening to remember–black tuxedos and long evening dresses, a high society ball. Present in the audience that evening was a mother, with her fidgety nine-year-old son. Weary of waiting, he squirmed constantly in his seat. His mother was hopeful that her boy would be encouraged to practice the piano if he could just hear the immortal Paderewski at the keyboard. So against his wishes, he had come. As she turned to talk with friends, her son could stay seated no longer. He slipped away from her side, strangely drawn to the ebony concert grand piano and its leather tufted stool on the huge stage flooded with blinding light. Without much notice from the sophisticated audience, the boy sat down at the stool, staring wide-eyed at the black and white keys. He placed his small trembling fingers in the right location and began to play a Chopin composition. The roar of the crowd was hushed as hundreds
of frowning faces turned in his direction. Irritated and embarrassed, they began to shout, “Get that boy away from there! Who’d bring a kid that young in here! Where is his mother? Somebody stop him!” Backstage, the master overheard the sound out front and quickly put together in his mind what was happening. Hurriedly, he grabbed his coat and rushed toward the stage. Without one word of announcement, he stooped over behind the boy, reached around both sides and began to improvise a counter melody to harmonies with and enhance his production. As both of them played together, Paderewski kept whispering in the boy’s ears, “Keep going! Don’t quit son! Keep on playing! Don’t stop! Don’t quit.”
That is exactly what the Master is telling you to do today. And that was exactly what He taught the twelve disciples when He began to say to them, “Men ought always to pray and not faint.” You ought to always pray and not faint. You see, you were created a Winner, Do not give up trying. The truth is, You cannot fail!
Our text says, “Lest she weary me by her continual coming” (Luke 18:7). Note that your persistence will invariably wear out any opposition on your path to success. Do not give up! As a matter of fact, pray now about your situation. We see that the woman in our text received justice from an unjust judge. God from whom you seek your justice is not unjust.
The Bible says that He is not unjust to forget your labour (Hebrews 6:10). He will come to your aid. God will never abandon you! God has brought you to this side of eternity at this time for a purpose. As a matter of fact, your situation cannot hinder you from accomplishing that purpose, except you allow it. Your situation is actually an opportunity for you to excel. One thing you must remember is that many people before you got to this same junction in life and failed; others got there and succeeded.
You will succeed, in the name of Jesus. Remember that Jesus said, “Men always ought to pray and not faint.” Now that you have the antidote, pray, pray, and pray until the answer comes.
-Pastor Taiwo Odukoya