Today's devotional thought:
In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells us the parable of the persistent widow. In verse one we are told why Jesus is telling us this story. "Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually come and attack me!' "
And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 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 ? 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?"
When Jesus returns will he find faith? The kind of faith that will always pray and never give up?
Early in my ministry I was witness to an answered prayer a lifetime in the making. It happened one Sunday at the end of the service. During the invitation time an elderly man got up and came to the front to accept Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord. His name was Herbert. Holding his hand as he came forward was his wife of fifty years, Delores. The atmosphere was charged with excitement like I had never experienced before or since in ministry. I knew why. Through ministering at the Church I knew of Delores' prayers for her husband Herbert.
Over fifty years earlier after being married for a short time Delores became a Christian but Herbert did not. When her attempts to share Jesus with her husband failed Delores did the one thing she knew she could, she prayed.
Often at times of corporate prayer she would ask for us to pray for Herbert. "Please pay that Herbert would except Jesus." And so every prayer time included us praying for Herbert. I found myself feeling sorry for Delores. If God had not answered her prayer after fifty years maybe God was not going to. It only took me a couple of years of praying for Herbert to feel like giving up. Yet, Delores never did.
In the end Delores' persistence in prayer payed off. Herbert came forward to put his faith and trust in Jesus. After Herbert was baptized I went and hugged Delores. Her face was radiant and tears slipped down her cheeks. "God is so good," she kept saying. "God is so good to me."
It was less than a year later that Herbert passed away. During that short time each time I saw Herbert in Church there was Delores at his side. Her face always radiant with a smile that nothing could erase. A smile that said, "God is so good."
A number of years later, as I was ministering at another church, I heard that Delores had also passed away but her story of persistent prayer has lived on inside of me—the legacy of a woman who knew exactly what Jesus meant when he said we should always pray and never give up.
What answer to prayer are you waiting on? How long have you been waiting? Let me tell you this, always pray and never give up. God is so good.
Prayer: Holy Father, help us to be persistent. Help us to never give up. We know you are good. We know you love us. We trust in you. May you find us faithful. In Jesus name, amen.