[by Dean Smith] We all struggle for answered prayer. Sometimes we wonder if God even heard us.
When we look at the Gospels, Jesus used a variety of parables to teach on prayer. One found in Luke 18:2-8 — involves a widow who was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous person and went before a judge seeking legal help.
We are told the judge did not fear God and did not respect man (v 2). It was a simple way of saying he was corrupt. Justice was for sale in this town.
The widow apparently didn’t have the means to buy the justice she needed, so the judge put her off, but she kept coming back.
Using this story, Jesus showed one of the keys to successful prayer is praying until you prevail.
The widow came back again and again seeking help. The phrase “for a while” (v 4) that Jesus used to describe the length of her struggle implies a considerable period of time — days for certain, probably weeks.
For the intercessor, the prayer battle may extend over many weeks, even months, requiring repeated days of intercession on the same issue.
But there was more to the story than just this.
God wants intercessors who will BATTER Him
When we study the account, we read a telling statement of why the judge finally caved in.
“Yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.” (Luke 18:5 NASV)
The word “bother” is a compound word that literally means “bringing pain.” Actually one of the words “kopos” is derived from a word meaning to cut.
But the second word “hupopiazo” translated “wears me out” gives meaning to the idea of “bringing pain.” It denotes the wounds and bruises boxers receive when they fight. In its marginal notes, the NASV reads “lit. hit me under the eye.”
In its truest sense, the word means to strike with a fist and refers to anyone being treated harshly.
Though there may be no knock out blow in a fight, the constant battering — body blows, shots to the head, the blackened and swollen eyes — depletes a boxer’s strength until in the end he is finished, weakened and finally just gives up.
The woman was obviously in the judge’s face demanding justice. I’m not sure what all was said, but obviously the widow had things to say about the kind of justice he was dispensing in this town.
The judge may have been corrupt but the woman’s words were getting under his skin. His job was to protect the innocent and clearly this widow was demanding the judge simply do his job. Her words pounded away at the judge’s spirit until he threw in the towel, conceding the fight.
However, Jesus was not talking about a sanctioned boxing match governed by the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, Jesus used this story to show intercession is a street fight. No holds barred.
Though God is not like this judge, He wants us to throw our prayer punches, make our jabs, scoring hits anyway we can.
Respectfully of course — but never giving up.
God respects a fighter.
Read more in this series:
- Characteristics of an intercessor: Will you riot in the streets?
- Characteristics of an Intercessor: Are you a street fighter?
- Characteristics of an intercessor: Persistence more important than friendship
- Paga: The Intercessor
- Paga: Hitting the mark in intercession
- Paga: The intercessor as a warrior
- Paga: The intercessor claims territory for God
- Paga: The intercessor negotiates with God
- Paga: The intercessor carries a burden