“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “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.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:1-8)
Some prayers are answered immediately. Some are answered after a long time. As a general rule, we have a tendency to think that God is too slow in responding to our requests. It takes spiritual maturity to trust God without complaining for the timing and the modality of answer to our prayer. The cross has done its deep work and the heart has been circumcised by Christ for the man to remain joyful and grateful under the burden of yet unanswered prayers. The danger is that we get impatient, restless, lazy or passive spiritually; become deceived about the value of prayer and decide to stop it. This is called spiritual ‘fainting’, a major hindrance to a successful prayer life. Once you chose to give up prayer, what is left is just wishful thinking that things may change one day. You lose the active faith to push forward and expect an answer to your request made long ago.
Let’s look at the word ‘to give up’. What does it mean? In Greek the word means to fail, to faint in the heart, to become weak and wicked, to harm yourself and others thru doubt and rebellion. The same word is defined to abandon an action because of despair of success. The man becomes a coward; he fails and betrays his destiny when he estimates that the miracle has become impossible even for God to perform. For example, he chooses to believe that the sickness is incurable, and God is not available or able to heal his body. He accepts and declares defeat without waiting for the final hour when God judges and rewards according to each man’s work. This spiritual fainting is worldly sorrow and a symbol of death. By choosing to stop prayer, a man abandons the desire to see a miraculous change in his circumstances and he aborts his dream. The choice to stop prayer is the silent but sure signal of backsliding. Selah! Prayer keeps faith burning! Faith keeps prayer burning!
We see that ‘to give up’ means to surrender to failure, to discontinue a good work or to resign. It is a matter of control. Like the man who commits suicide just to prove that he is in charge of his life. Spiritually speaking it means to deliberate chose to allow the enemy to take over your position of standing before the throne. You surrender your blessing of communion with God to another with no possibility of resuming it in the future. What a tragedy to stop the prayer of faith! What a great loss!
The opposite is to hold on, to abide, to dwell in the same place of waiting without interruptions. In other words, pray until something happens (‘PUSH’). It is a great dishonor to God to give up prayer because of circumstances that look contrary to the expected miracle. This is a great revelation! The devil does not care if we start a prayer request; he does not care if we join the line of waiting before the throne. But later he comes to persuade that we have waited too long and he offers himself to stand in our place. Satan is a thief and a fake ‘intercessor’. He desires to take over your place of blessings! Be careful! The pressure from the enemy will increase as you get closer to the moment when the prayer will be manifested in the natural realm. Then pray like the widow: ‘Lord – grant me justice against my adversary!’ Pray for the justice of your cause as you continue to give glory to God! Jesus is giving us a warning here not to be fools. Do not abandon the place of waiting which will eventually become the place of testimony, blessing and miracles!
Our Lord urges restless continued prayer! What then, is the position of the Church? That of a widow whose only weapon is incessant prayer. It is only by means of this intense concentration that faith will be preserved.
‘Dear Lord Jesus, please strengthen me today, by Your Spirit, to continue to pray, until I see results, or I see Your face…Amen!’