And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 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.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
In Jesus’ parable, the judge didn’t care about justice, nor the widow’s plight. He didn’t fear God or care what any man thought. Yet he responded to the widow’s persistence. Jesus’ point is not that we have to wear God out with our petitions till he finally caves in to stop us from bothering him. Jesus wants to encourage us that God DEEPLY CARES about his children who cry out to him. He IS listening. HOW MUCH MORE will God respond to our prayers than the judge to the widow. God is not delaying for no reason. He will come to our help speedily – though from our perspective it might not seem that way. But in his infinite wisdom, he won’t delay an answer for one second longer than necessary for our good.
So pray always and do not lose heart. You may have prayed for a loved one’s salvation for years and years and see no change yet. Don’t give up. Don’t stop praying.
There are some things I’m praying for that seem impossible from a human point of view. I don’t know if they are God’s will, but I know that God could do what I ask if he so desires. Nothing is impossible for him. So until he makes his will clear to me, I’m going to keep asking again and again and again, though it seems like nothing is changing.
God’s answer to your prayers could be just around the corner. He may answer your 20 years of prayer today. Don’t think God doesn’t care or doesn’t hear just because nothing has changed yet. He hears your prayers (Ps 65:2; 77:1). The prayer of the upright is powerful and effective, though it may not feel powerful (James 5:16-18). Not one prayer is wasted. God hears our every sigh. He doesn’t tire of us asking, but wants us to bring our requests to him. If Jesus tells us to not lose heart, and pray always, it’s because he intends to answer our prayers.
So keep asking, keep thanking, keep hoping. Don’t give up.