“And He spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint“ (Luke 18:1)
On October 29, 1941 Winston Churchill stood before the students at Harrow School, where he had once been a student. As part of his remarks, he said, “Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” In those dark days of World War II, this was an essential attitude for a battered nation.
Thomas Edison once said, “”Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Throughout history, men have admired this kind of perseverance. This kind of stamina “stays by the stuff” to accomplish great things.
In a parable recorded in Luke 18, Jesus Christ spoke to His followers in a similar way to urge them to pray, and not to lose heart. But Jesus Christ gave them something that no mere human leader could give. He gave them a command, and promised that God would honor their obedience. This is one of the keys to prevailing prayer.
It is helpful to remember how God helps us to pray. He encourages us with kindness. He expresses His delight in receiving our prayers. He provides examples of praying people, who are just like us. But there is another way that He motivates us to pray: He commands us. Sometimes, we are so discouraged that we forget His kind encouragement, His rejoicing heart, and His examples. What should we do then? At the very least, we should obey His commandment:
“Men ought always to pray, and not to faint”
We can do the right thing out of a sense of duty until we do it out of supreme desire. Even when we don’t feel worthy to approach Him, we can go to Him because He has commanded it. Would you like an illustration? Our Wise Teacher, Jesus Christ, gave us a story in Luke 18, to help us see the importance of His command.
There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary, and he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. (Luke 18:3-5)
So what did that unscrupulous judge do when he encountered a widow who wouldn’t quit? He granted her request, because she wouldn’t give up. What’s the point? Don’t quit! Here is the power of prevailing prayer, on display. Jesus backed up His story with a promise about prayer.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7-8)
George Mueller once wrote: “It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must pray patiently, believing, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer.”
Jesus promised us that God’s answer would come for those who refuse to quit. Don’t quit! Keep praying. Watch what happens as you abide in the Lord. You will be an eyewitness to the power of prevailing prayer.
— Gordon Dickson