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    Lesson No.: 
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    “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).


    Unjust Judge
    Jesus spoke another parable for the purpose of teaching His followers the value of prayer. A parable is an earthly saying that teaches a spiritual lesson.

    This parable was about a man who was a judge. It was his work and duty to hear the complaints of the people. He was not a fair and just judge. He had no fear of God nor any regard for his fellow man.

    A Widow
    In the same city was a widow who was oppressed. It apparently was legal and right for her to go to the judge for help. She asked to be rid of her oppressor. She asked punishment for one who had given her undue trouble. She was not asking for revenge nor to get even with one who had been unreasonable with her.

    Continual Coming
    The judge refused to help this widow. We are not told that he gave her any reason for his refusal. He was an unjust judge with no regard for his duty to the widow. “For a while” he would not help her. Many people are discouraged by one refusal. The widow did not give up when one trial failed. She knew that the judge could help her if he would. We are not told how many times she returned with her plea to the judge. He called it “her continual coming,” so she must have gone to him time after time.

    Nor are we told with what difficulty she received the answer to her request. It is possible that she had to travel a great distance across the city to see the judge. Perhaps she lost time from her work in order to place her plea before him.

    The widow did not give up to discouragement nor difficulty. Finally, the judge granted her request to be avenged of her adversary. He reasoned within himself that he would grow tired of her continual coming if he did not grant her request.

    Jesus taught this parable that His disciples would know the value of prayer. This lesson is for every person, but Jesus gave the example especially for His followers.

    In time of trouble and trials a person can either pray or he can “faint” (that is, give in, lose heart, or slacken his earnestness). No matter what the need, we can always pray; every time prayer will help.

    Jesus did not mean that men should be on their knees in prayer all the time, when He said “always.” In I Thessalonians:5:17, we read, too, “Pray without ceasing.” It would be impossible for a person to be shut away alone in prayer all the time; yet he can breathe a prayer from his heart wherever he goes and whatever he does. A Christian prays like the widow who went to the judge -– with a continual coming.

    A Christian should pray to put the matter before the Lord. Jesus said that men ought always to pray. Men ought to pray! It is a privilege and also a duty. Praying is what we “ought” to do -– at all times, not just in case of trouble or need. In I Chronicles:16:11 we read the words of David to the Children of Israel: “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.” On another occasion Jesus said, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew:26:41). Another time Jesus said to “ask . . . that your joy may be full” (John:16:24).

    In addition to a lesson on the value of prayer, we are given an example of the kind of prayer. This woman has been called the importunate widow. To importune means more than praying. She was called importunate because she would not give up. She kept going until her petition was granted; she continued to go until the judge was afraid of being wearied. The widow importuned until she received what she asked.

    If the widow had given up the first time, she would never have been avenged of her adversary. If she had failed to continue to go to the judge she would never have been rid of that which gave her trouble. If she had not importuned she would not have received that, which she desired and needed – that to which she was entitled.

    It is possible for God’s people to importune in prayer until they receive that, which God has promised and to which they are entitled. There are some things, like the experiences of justification, sanctification, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, that are the will of God and are according to His Word. One can seek and pray as the widow did -– and receive by importuning. Children can pray to keep the victory instead of “fainting” and yielding to the enemy. God expects children and adults to continue in prayer until they receive the blessing from the Lord.

    Another example, in the Bible, of a person who continued in prayer and importuned is Elijah. We read that he prayed that there would be no rain, nor dew upon the earth ([1 Kings:17:1]), and it was so for three and a half years ([James:5:17]). Then God told Elijah that He would send rain if Elijah would go and show himself to Ahab ([1 Kings:18:1]). Elijah obeyed, and he believed that God would keep His promise. Elijah told Ahab that it was going to rain ([1 Kings:18:41]). He kept holding on to the promise of God even while his servant went seven times to see if there was a sign of rain. Elijah importuned -– “and there was a great rain” (I Kings:18:45).

    The Promise of God
    Jesus concluded the parable by saying that God would avenge His people speedily. The woman went to an unjust judge; we go in prayer to a just God. The woman was no doubt a stranger; we who are saved are called His sons ([John:1:12]; [1 John:3:1]). She was alone in making her petition; we, as God’s people, band together to pray. “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew:18:19, 20).

    God will do His part. We can depend upon Him. Can He depend upon you to have faith even though He might see fit to withhold His promise for a while? When Jesus comes to earth again He will look for faith. Is it in your heart? “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy . . . to stand before the Son of man” (Luke:21:36).


    1. What kind of judge did the widow go to?
    2. Why did the widow go to him?
    3. Why did she continue to go to the judge?
    4. What did she receive by her continual going to him?
    5. Why did the judge avenge her of her adversary?
    6. What can people do today instead of losing heart?
    7. How can they importune?
    8. Why should God’s people pray?