Each week, my 4 year old son Connor is quite consumed and entertained by the garbage truck. I am so amazed at how a little boy is so obsessed with trash and seeing it picked up each week! He literally wakes up on trash pick-up days with his first words asking when the garbage truck is coming!
He doesn’t yet fully understand the concept of time, so each week I explain to him that the garbage truck does not come early in the morning. He usually comes around noon or in the afternoon sometime.
On one particular trash pick-up day, it was around noon and the garbage truck had not yet come. Connor just couldn’t understand where the garbage truck was. So for the next 2 hours I had this 4 year old asking me…Can we go outside yet?… What time is the garbage truck coming? …Can we go outside yet? …Do you hear it yet? …Is he going to come today? …Can we go outside yet? …Is he in the neighborhood yet? …Did he forget us today? …Can we go outside yet? …Is his truck too full? …Did he have to go to the dump to empty his truck? …Can we go outside yet?
Over and over and over again he asked me these questions and wanted to wait outside for the garbage truck! Now mind you, I did answer him…repeatedly…, however, frustration began to emerge in my tone. I really did not want to go outside and wait for the truck not knowing when he was going to show up. Connor was so persistent that I finally gave in to his request to go outside and wait for the garbage truck. Shortly after we went outside, we heard the truck going down the next block. Thank you Jesus for not having us…really me! …wait out here for hours all afternoon!
What continually blows my mind about my children is their persistence!!! Connor was so persistent and would not give up in wanting to see the garbage truck! And, we too need this child-like persistence with God! We too need to pray with persistence and not give up especially when God doesn’t give us an answer right away!
There are several definitions in the dictionary for the word “persistence”. It is defined as
- the state of continuing steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition
- The state of lasting or enduring tenaciously; perseverance
- being insistent in a request, question, etc.; boldness
What is so cool to me is the Greek word translation!
The Greek word is the noun anaideia translated as “persistence, impudence” which literally means “shamelessness” and it also comes from the verb anaideuomai translated “to be unabashed, bold, literally meaning “shameless”.
Shameless!!! This suggests boldness…this suggests freedom from the bashfulness that would stop us from asking God a second time or a third time or a fourth time, etc! Like Connor…he had no shame…no bashfulness…but boldness in coming to me over and over and over again with his questions and requests to see the garbage truck.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 may be a very familiar parable to you. This is a perfect example of Jesus showing us that we need to always pray and not give up. He tells us in verse 1 that he actually wants us to pray with persistence! He actually wants us to come to Him over and over and over again with our requests.
18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
I believe this parable illustrates 3 points about our persistent prayers.
Persistent Prayers are…
I. Persistent Prayers are Insistent
The widow was insistent with her request. In verse 3, it says that the she kept coming to the judge with this plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.” The widow was so insistent and persistent that the judge granted her plea!
We must keep our prayers going up to God with this same determination. God rejoices in our insistence. He wants us to pray and not to give up. This is one of His ways of releasing His power in our lives.
How insistent are you with your prayers?
II. Persistent Prayers are Consistent
The widow kept coming every day—repeatedly, consistently coming. Verse 5 says “this widow keeps bothering me. “ The judge’s apparent unwillingness to hear her spurred the widow on even more. Finally, the judge relented, only because the widow had become an unbearable nuisance.
Now it is very important for us to see that God does not feel the same way about us coming to him with our persistence… He does not see us as a bother or a nuisance. Jesus’ purpose with this parable is clearly stated in verse 1 that he wants us to always pray and not give up. He wants us to come to him consistently and repeatedly with our prayers like the widow going to the judge.
His point is further proven in verses 6-8 when he explains that if an unjust judge actually brings justice, then how much more would He who is just and faithful bring us justice? If an unjust judge grants the widow her plea, would not our God of justice grant us our pleas?
How consistent are you with your prayers?
III. Persistent Prayers are Expectant
Why would the widow go to the unjust judge insistently and consistently? Because she expected that he would grant her plea!
Expectancy drives us to pray persistently! Have you ever heard the phrase…“Prayer is the key to heaven but faith unlocks the door!”? We must have faith and expect that God is going to show up and answer when we reach out to him persistently. If we don’t expect it, then why should he do it?
God often answers us after long and persevering requests. He hears prayers and grants blessings long after they appear to be unanswered or withheld. He does not promise to give blessings immediately. He promises only that He will do it according to His will and plan.
Although He promises to answer the prayer of the faithful, often He requires us to wait a long time to try our faith. He may allow us to persevere for months or years, until we are completely dependent on Him, until we see that there is no other way to receive the blessing, and until we are prepared to receive it.
Sometimes, we are not ready to receive a blessing when we first ask. We may be too proud, or we may not comprehend our dependence upon Him. Maybe we would not value it, or the timing for it may simply be wrong. If what we ask for is good and accords with God’s will, He will give it at the best time possible.
Are you praying expectantly?
God wants us to pray persistently so that we focus on who He is…powerful…realize who we are…powerless… and see what is really important.
Whatever it is that you are praying for today…don’t give up! Pray persistently…Pray insistently… Pray consistently…And Pray expectantly!
Persistence…insistence, consistence, and expectancy certainly worked for my son Connor, didn’t it?!
1) How persistent are you in your prayers?
2) Do you give up when you don’t get an answer right away?
3) Do you pray with expectation and have faith that God will answer your prayers?
1) Keep praying…pray persistently and don’t give up in believing God will answer your prayers.
2) Believe that the God you are praying to is a God of love, grace, mercy, and justice…a God who wants the very best for you and that his timing is perfect!
3) If your faith in God waivers, continue to ask him to strengthen your faith. Keep focused on Him and who He is. Read and study the word so you can continue to grow in your knowledge in who is so that your faith will grow.