The Path to Spiritual Growth

Prayer

This devotional is written by Ruth Slatter aka Dr. Ruth. Although she can't provide any helpful advice about strange aliments, she can tell you anything you wish to know about Victorian churches!

Luke 18:1-8

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 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?"

Prayer

At the beginning of 2017 I attended a prayer evening organised at St Mary’s by Matt (of Everyday with Matt). The evening gave people a chance to pray and reflect on the year ahead and I begrudgingly became aware that my word for the coming year was perseverance.
At that time God continued to remind me that not only do I need to pray for perseverance, but I also need to persevere in prayer.

In this parable, Jesus tells the disciples that God, who is the complete opposite of the ungodly judge, cannot wait to bless his children. Yet, our experience of this world is that prayers are not always answered and often take longer to materialise than we'd like. Sometimes this is because God's timing is not our timing, but at others this is the result of the broken world we live in. Nevertheless, God doesn't want us to stop praying; he wants us to keep pursuing him and persevering with prayers for breakthrough.

God has encouraged me to keep persevering in prayer by abundantly blessing those I love with answers to long-term prayers. If you are finding it hard to persevere in prayer I hope these abbreviations of their stories will encourage you too.

A friend became pregnant after four years of trying, another got a perfect permanent job after a long succession of short-term contracts, and God opened doors to enable two friends to pursue long-term dreams overseas.

There are often opportunities to share stories of answered prayer in the services at St Mary's. It would be great to hear more about how God has answered persistent prayers so that everyone who is finding this hard can be encouraged.

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