"And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and
not to faint." Luke 18:1
Luke, the beloved physician, gives us the prescription of the Great Physician for
disappointment: men ought always to pray. We are to pray when we feel like it, and
pray when we don’t feel like it. There is never a time when we are not in need
of prayer. The old spiritual says, "It’s not my brother, not my sister, but
it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer."
Oh, what peace we often forfeit;
Oh, what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
We need Him when all is going well, and we need Him when all is going wrong. When Satan
said to the Lord: "Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made an hedge about
him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the
work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land," Job needed Him as
much when God was protecting and providing for him, as when all went awry and he suffered
tremendous losses of property and all his children.
In such a trial, Job was able to look up and say, in effect, "Even so, it seemed
good in Thy sight." "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be
the Name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).
Faith in God recognizes that His ways are perfect, though past finding out:
We comprehend Him not;
Yet earth and heaven tell,
God sits as Sovereign on the throne
And doeth all things well.
Last summer, while I was talking to Bill Hynd at Rest Haven Homes in Grand Rapids,
Michigan, about his wife’s Alzheimer’s affliction (she no longer recognizes
him), he said to me, "For God’s ways, that are past finding out, for those who
trust Him, He provides His peace which passes all understanding."
His Word declares, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on
Thee: because he trusteth in Thee" (Isa. 26:3).
An elderly brother was recently asked, "To what do you attribute your
longevity?" He answered, "I keep breathing!" Prayer is the Christian’s
vital breath, his native air. We need to keep breathing His holy Name in prayer in order
to receive the strength that can only come from above, to maintain the life we have in Him
in healthy form.
The deep-sea diver can walk on the bottom of the ocean because he is linked to the
life-giving air that comes from above. We are told to "pray without ceasing,"
for prayer is the air that we must breathe to maintain life. We are sustained from
above, for our help comes from above (Psalm 121:1).
In the parable that our Lord told in Luke 18:6, although the widow brought her plea to
a judge who feared neither God nor man (though he dilly-dallied for awhile), he gave her
what she requested, because he did not want to be bothered by her incessant pleas. The
Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge His own
elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them?" God’s
delays are not His denials. He will answer speedily in His own time and way.
We read in Phil. 4:6-7: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer
and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace
of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts (keep emotionally
right) and minds (keep mentally right) through Christ Jesus."
"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth
strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with
wings as eagles (look above); they shall run, and not be weary (look around);
and they shall walk, and not faint (look ahead)."
We look above. Our help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Nothing
is too big or too little for Him, for He is the Lord of both. We look around.
We’re here on a mission with a message from the Lord. Now is the time for
sowing the seed. The reaping comes later:
"Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint
not" (Gal. 6:9).
We look ahead, for all who walk with Him have their eyes on the goal: "Looking
unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him
endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of
God" (Heb. 12:2). They that wait upon the Lord look upward, outward,
How many times, discouraged, we sink beside the way?
About us all is darkness; we hardly dare to pray;
Then, from the mists and shadows, the sweetest voice e’er known,
Says, "Child, am I not with thee, never to leave thee alone?"
Take courage, wayworn pilgrim; though mists and shadows hide
The face of Him thou lovest, He’s ever at thy side;
Reach out thy hand and find Him, and lo, the clouds have flown;
He smiles on thee, Who promised never to leave thee alone!
Our Lord’s prescription for today and every day is "handle it with
prayer." "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint!"
Perhaps today! - "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be
condemned: behold, the Judge standeth before the door." -- James 5:9.
Often darkness fills the pathway of the pilgrim’s onward track,
And we shrink from going forward—trembling, feel like going back:
But the Lord, Who plans so wisely, leads us on both day and night,
Till at last, in silent wonder, we rejoice in Wisdom’s light.
Though the tunnel may be tedious through the narrow, darkened way,
Yet it amply serves its purpose—soon it brings the light of day:
And the way so greatly dreaded, as we backward take a glance,
Shows the skill of careful planning: never the result of chance!
Is your present path a tunnel, does the darkness bring you fear?
To the upright, oh, remember, He doth cause a light to cheer.
Press on bravely, resting calmly, though a way you dimly see,
Till, at length, so safely guided, you emerge triumphantly.
Trust the Engineer Eternal; surely all His works are right;
Though we cannot always trace them, faith will turn at last to sight:
Then no more the deepening shadows of the dark and dismal way;
There, for ever in clear sunlight, we’ll enjoy "The perfect day."