Persistence in Prayer

Encouragement for those who have lost heart.

Posted by Chase Opsahl on January 12, 2021 · 7 mins read

This past week I recall talking to my fiancée, Anna, about how I felt about my prayer life. I felt as if God had been ignoring me and that prayer didn't seem to be 'working'. I had told her that my prayer felt useless. She listened and provided words of encouragement, but I was still troubled. I swiftly opened up my Bible to a random page just so I could read God's word and turn to Him in my moment of unbelief. And just like every "Christian" movie that has ever been made, I opened my Bible to the exact passage I needed to hear. It may seem cliché, and trust me it is, but I opened my Bible up to Luke 18 and just started reading. And what I found was hope and encouragement in my prayer life! And I want to share that hope with you today!

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 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

A Persistent Widow and an Annoyed Judge

Upon reading this parable, I immediately identified with the widow. She had shown up before this judge multiple times - the passage says that the widow "kept coming" to the judge asking him to "give [the widow] justice against [her] adversary." We have no perception of the number of times this had happened, we can't see when the widow starting coming, or the last time she will come. She doesn't say, "Ok, I'll give it 3 more tries." All we know is that she started coming to him and that she kept coming. Not only had the widow repeatedly come to the judge, but the judge had continually met her with refusal to fulfill her request. How often can our hearts grow weary of praying the same things to the Lord, especially if we don't see an immediate response? We are tempted to give up on it, and God forbid, we are tempted to be bitter towards the Lord. "God, I have come before you for the 400th time to pray for this specific thing, please just answer it already. Stop holding back from me." We must realize that prayer isn't about getting what we want. Prayer is a "sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for such things as He has promised, for the good of the church with submission in faith to the will of God" (John Bunyan, Prayer). In our temptation to think that God is holding back from us, we must remember that in Christ, God has given us everything we need. So, we should always seek contentment in the things of the Lord. And we should always remember that all of our requests are to be under submission of God's will.

Thankfully in this parable we do see an end to the widow's coming. We also get an amazing glimpse and truth about who God is! In verse 4 we see that this judge eventually gives in and grants the widow what she has been asking for. The judge grew weary of this same widow coming before him and pleading for the same exact thing. One interesting thing that we learn about the judge is that he "...neither fear[s] God nor respect[s] man...", yet this judge gives justice to the widow. Then God uses the character of the judge to provide us with hope in our prayers, starting in verse 6. God tells us to look at the "unrighteous judge", and see what he says. This worldly judge, who has no fear of God, has answered the requests of a persistent widow. How much more will God answer our requests if we only ask? Our God loves us and cares for us. Isaiah 40 says "[God] will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young" (Isaiah 40:11). God hears us as we cry out day and night. Jesus phrases verse 7 as a rhetorical question because yes, of course, God will give justice to us who cry to Him day and night. So, hope in the Lord, and fervently pray! For your prayer is heard, and the Lord will answer it!


There is so much more to prayer than I could ever fathom, let alone write about. This article is meant to provide hope for anyone who is growing weary in their prayer life because they don't see any fruit or answers. This post makes the assumption that what you are praying for is godly, right, and not to fulfill the lusts of your flesh. I hope that this article blesses you and strengthens your hope in our mighty God! He hears us and happily answers all of our prayers! To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen!

Thanks for reading :) (Edited by Anna Fields!)

"You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." - James 4:3