This is probably my favorite run of chapters in the book of Luke. Strike that - it IS my favorite run of chapters. I have spent more collective time studying, soaking, and preaching these chapters than any others in the Gospel.
One insight on prayer that I'll offer today from 18.1-8.
The widow refuses to give up on the unjust judge. The judge finally relents. Getting the woman off his back becomes an easier and more profitable road than whatever kickbacks he's getting from the injustice. And God's not unjust, so we can expect more from Him than the judge.
But then this bombshell: when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?
The first several times I read that, I had no idea what it meant. Faith on earth? Huh? Is Jesus mixed up or is He throwing down some riddle or playing a verbal game? But then, in a sermon I heard as a college student, it hit me: the kind of faith that Jesus is wondering about is the kind of faith that perseveres, specifically in prayer.
It's easy to give up on praying for someone, some activity, some circumstance, some situation. You can offer a few things heavenward but, if the answer doesn't come, life or doubt or apathy can settle in and pare the prayer life down to the bumper sticker on a car I saw the other day: "God bless everyone, no exceptions." Nice sentiment. Not faith.
Faith locks on and grabs hold like a bulldog. Tenacious. Fierce. Jacob wrestles, saying, "I'm not letting go until you bless me." That's the kind of faith that will persevere in prayer.
Anything you need to stoke the fires of faith and keep praying for?
One key suggestion (for me, anyway) is to keep the Scripture open and let the promises therein be what prompts me to keep praying. When one isn't working and my faith is waning, I turn to another and try to keep praying. And on occasion, it happens to me too, I have to say to the Lord: I believe, but You have to help my unbelief.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...