Powerful & Powerless

One day Jesus narrated a beautiful practical story. In this story, we get two main characters. A widow and a judge. A Widow was a powerless person in that society. On the other hand, a judge was a powerful person. As Jesus did very often, even here he made this contrast between powerful and powerless. A powerless person kept on requesting the powerful person to execute justice. According to this story, this judge was not a person who gave the right judgments. Yet because of the persistence of this widow, he was compelled to carry out justice.

By telling this story Jesus emphasized the importance and necessity of persistence in prayer. What is the method to have persistence in prayer? Or in other words, how can we maintain persistence in prayer? The answer to this question is within the story narrated by Jesus. This particular widow did not just pray in an isolated place. She kept on requesting the judge to carry out justice. Her prayer and action were together. She did not divide prayer and action into two compartments.

Think about our lives. Don’t we very often pray in order to avoid action? Then prayer becomes a substitute for action making our lives separated from real-life situations out in the world. Then we find it difficult to have persistence in prayer because we are not in touch with the ground realities that we are praying for. Look at the Bible - Jesus never prayed in this manner. Let’s just take one example from the life of Jesus for our edification.

Let me take one of my favorite prayers of Jesus. That is the prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. When Jesus narrated this prayer he was fully involved. Not just involved: he was sensing death. Then what was his prayer? “Lord take this cup away from me, but not my will, your will be done”. Jesus was persistent in prayer mainly because of 2 things. The first thing was that as I told you earlier he was involved. The second reality was that he always wrestled to know the will of God.

This second aspect of prayer is very important to keep our prayers persistent. To know the will of God. Often we assume that the will of God is a one-off thing. But actually, our understanding of the will of God is an ongoing and growing process. Please remember these underline realities – ongoing – growing – process. In our prayers we are called to live with the will of God – that is what is called “ongoing”. Always this understanding should grow. Grow in the direction of God.

Otherwise what would happen is that we might be tempted to push our will by telling that is the will of God. Then we should remember this is a process. This is always dynamic and never static. You know what happens in the stagnated water. Today in the context of the dengue epidemic it is unlawful to keep stagnated water in your vicinity as dengue mosquitoes can bread there. If our prayers are stagnated, after some time those prayers do more harm than good just like the stagnated water.

This is what I call “an ongoing and growing process”. I firmly believe that all our prayers should have this shape. Let’s ask God to give us his grace to make our prayer “an ongoing and a growing process” to work towards the furtherance of his kingdom.