And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 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
Learning to ride a bike is never easy. My Dad liked to teach us to ride but my older sisters were more determined to get me riding. That meant they didn't have to walk places with me or stick me in a basket. Bikes at the beach meant true freedom for us. We could fly around, day and night, and return home quickly when supper or curfew was upon us. It took many hours of run and release for me to finally get the hang of it. But it was well worth it. That first taste of personal freedom and control was amazing, even better than getting a drivers license for me.
Jesus teaches his disciples about praying by telling them a story of the persistent widow. She wore the corrupt and selfish judge down. And he reminds us that God, who is good and just, will answer our prayers. We are invited to practice praying every moment, without ceasing, which takes some practice, some getting used to. And it is our freedom, our gift, to lay our burdens on our loving Creator, who is more responsive and loving than we can even imagine or hope for.
Today, I ask God to help me be persistent and to practice prayer, moment by moment. Let our conversations be with the One who made us and restores us. May we not try to fill our empty places with things, but rather see the empty as an invitation to deeper conversation. May we pause today, in the midst of a frantic world, and know our breathing to be a gift from God. And may God empower each of us today to have the strength to serve others and to pray without ceasing for the needs of the world.