Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In our Gospel reading for this week Jesus tells a parable encouraging his people to keep praying. The widow in Luke 18:1-8 comes to an unjust judge, pushing him for a favorable decision, persisting. Finally he relents and gives her a judgment. This judgment is not because he believes God. It is not because he thinks she is right. It is merely to get rid of her.
Often we hear preaching about this parable, in which the message given is that we need to keep hounding God for an answer so he will grudgingly give in and do what we want just to get rid of us.
This cannot be a right interpretation of the passage. What works better? The whole of Scripture presents the triune God as desiring the good of his people. He urges, begs, and pleads us to repentance. It is we who give in reluctantly.
God is not this way. In fact, God is precisely the way the unjust judge isn’t. He delights to hear the prayers and needs of his people. He shows us our needs and urges us to prayer so he can show his mercy and grace. He wants us to find out how kind and gracious he is.
Why should we pray? We pray because God delights in being asked to do good for his people.
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