I have encouraged us through this Covid-19 virus crisis to set aside time for prayer and reflection in the middle of the week to reflect on our blessings, the things that have gone well as well as bringing to God the difficulties we are going through or facing in the near future.
In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus tells the story of a young woman experiencing some incredibly difficult times. Let us look briefly at this account of how she responded after reading through Luke’s record of what Jesus said to His disciples:
Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.”4 ‘For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”’
6 And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 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? 8 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?’
The purpose of the story: Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1) Why did Jesus need to tell this story? It is quite straightforward because as human beings if we don’t see something happening in a short period of time then our enthusiasm for bringing an issue to God often drains away and before you know it we have stopped expecting anything to happen even if we are still praying for it for a considerable period of time.
Jesus wanted to encourage His first disciples and us today to not only ‘try praying’ but to ‘keep on praying’. It was central to Jesus’ life and His example is a serious challenge to us when we settle for something less. Do you need to be encouraged to set aside some time for prayer on a daily basis?
The problem behind the story: He said: ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. (Luke 18:2) Some problems in life seem too big to overcome. This judge was in charge of that court for years. There was no Court of Appeal. He was a giant roadblock in the way of her quest for justice.
What is your roadblock just now in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis? Is it mental health struggles coping with being confined to your home? Is it a fear of catching the virus in your workplace? Is it anxiety about losing your job or not getting the university place you had worked for? Is it worry about a decline in physical health and strength as you have got older? The list is endless and at all ages!
If you are facing your roadblock just now remember these words of Jesus in Matthew 19:26: Jesus looked at them [His disciples] and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ There is no situation too big for God to handle. Bring your concerns to Him.
The person in the story: And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.” 4 ‘For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”’ (Luke 18:3-5)
The young widow in that culture was incredibly vulnerable. Her chances of getting justice from such a court as this were minimal. Yet because she was convinced that nothing is impossible with God combined with the strength of her case she was determined to keep coming back with her requests for justice. Jesus’ point to His followers was very simple. If she could do it so can you and me. Never give up in prayer; never give up in evangelistic witness to family and friends who need to find Jesus for themselves; never give up hope that we will receive the answers to our prayers – for as long as it takes!
The points to remember from the story: 6 And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 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? 8 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?’ (Luke 18:6-8).
God loves and cares for His children so if there is no totally hopeless situation on earth we can come before Him with a quiet confidence of God answering our prayers, although we must never forget His answers to our request may be ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘not yet’. The last point Jesus highlights in Luke 18:8concerns our perseverance in prayer and expectancy of God working in people’s lives until the day He returns. Can Jesus count on you and me continuing as a praying people?
Our song for reflection today ‘Never once did we ever walk alone’
I am thankful to Claire for planning some pointers for our prayer time
Prayer Time for Wednesday 29th April
• Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;his love endures forever. Psalm 106v1. Take some time to praise God for who He is and then thank Him for the things we can be grateful for in our lives.
• Pray for the many vulnerable countries, that they would receive the financial and humanitarian aid they need to prevent virus spread and meet people’s basic needs.
• Continue to pray for the Government in Scotland and in the wider UK and for their clinical and scientific advisers, may they have the wisdom they need to make the right decisions at the right time.
• Pray for the physical, emotional and mental health of the staff and residents in Care Homes. Pray that supplies of the right equipment would get through to meet theirneeds. Pray for residents as they may struggle with theneed to stay in their rooms and not having visitors. Please especially remember those who live and work in the Care Homes that our church led services in – Ferry House, Orchar, Elder Lea Manor, Ballumbie Court, Moyness and Balcarres. Pray also for our neighbour, Lochleven Care Home.
Give thanks that Hannah was able to lead a small Sunday church service for those who wished to join in at her workplace, where their spirits were lifted through singing, praying and counting their blessings together.
• Please continue to remember the NHS workers, whatever their role, as each one plays their part to ensure that we can access care when it’s needed. Pray for those who you know by name and ask God to sustain them.
• Pray for teachers, especially those known to you. Ask for God’s help for them as they adapt to new ways of teaching and for help with the frustrations that can bring. Pray that those working in school hubs would be able to work in safe ways and wouldn’t be put at unnecessary risk.
• Pray for parents who are trying to support their children with school work at home, particularly while trying to do their own work too. Pray for patience and understanding. Remember children and young people who have additional support needs and are now struggling with a big change to their routines and a reduction in their usual support services.
• Remember those with ongoing health issues in our church family just now, pray for the NHS to resume its usual services as soon as possible to attend to those waiting for operations, treatment plans, tests and check-ups.
• Pray that Messy Church At Home (on our website) and Zoom Boogie Babies (this Saturday morning) might help us to keep connected with families and be of benefit to them.
• Pray for ourselves, ask God to help us to seek Him first in everything that we do and to always make time each day to read His word and spend time in His presence.