Are Your Bothering God?

In what is deemed his most popular quote, Winston Churchill said, “Never give in –never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Although these words were geared primarily toward the military battlefield, they certainly apply to our prayerful quest for unsearchable things as well.

In the midst of a teaching session, “Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). The words “give up” in the original language, which the KJV renders “faint,” mean “to give in to evil, to lose heart, or to play the coward.”

To help get His point across, Jesus told a story about a widow who went before a heartless judge seeking justice. Widows, often poor and defenseless in that society, would typically have little, if any, influence over a mighty and powerful judge, especially this one, “who neither feared God nor cared about men” (Luke 18:2). As expected, he did refuse her at first. But, because this determined woman kept on pleading her case, she got what she wanted.

If a corrupt judge granted the woman her wish, then certainly a loving God will respond positively to those seeking His favor. As the Lord proclaimed, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly” (Luke 18:6,7).

So what’s our take away from this parable? Does it mean we can change God’s mind if we persist long enough? It’s certainly possible. God fully intended to destroy the Hebrews because of their idolatry. Yet, when Moses intervened and pled their case, “the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened” (Exodus 32:14).

This encounter and subsequent result is a definite exception to the rule. We’d be a lot better off changing our minds than trying to get God to change His. Yet, Jesus had a purpose behind this story.

There are multiple reasons why we should emulate this widow and repeatedly call upon our Heavenly Father–the first and obvious being that, God wants us to develop patience and perseverance.

Someone might ask, “God knows what we need. He’s not going to forget. Why must we return time and time again with the same request?” It’s for our benefit, not his. He desires to shape and mold us into mature disciples. What happens to children who immediately and repeatedly get what they want? They grow into spoiled, entitled adults who are incapable of handling the trials and difficulties that come their way.

According to God’s Word, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart” (Proverbs 17:3). Although this verse doesn’t specifically address prayer, it certainly applies. How serious are we about the conversion of a lost person if we present their name before the Lord only once or twice?

The church was birthed in part as a result of importunate prayer. Between the time Jesus ascended back to heaven and the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost, the believers “all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14, emphasis added). It was only when the Spirit came that they stopped.

Discover the unsearchable things that await those  willing to “bother God,” and persevering before Him in prayer.

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