«And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?» (Luke 18:7).
ELLEN G. WHITE SAYS that it is vital for the Christian not to «neglect secret prayer, for this is the life of the soul. It is impossible for the soul » to flourish while prayer is neglected. Family or public prayer alone is not sufficient» (Steps to Christ, ch. 11, p. 98). Could it be that we are discouraged because we are missing that key piece of spiritual life called private prayer?
On one occasion, Jesus «spoke a parable to them [His disciples], that men always ought to pray and not lose heart» (Luke 18:1). In that parable there were two protagonists: a widow and an unfair judge. In Jesus’s time, being a widow was practically synonymous with being poor, especially if you didn’t have children, since the woman depended one hundred percent on a man to provide for her. ‘Ihe judge, even though he knew that the person before him was a poor woman who likely did not have anyone to defend her rights, «for a long time…refused to act» (verse 4, GNT). But if the judge didn’t attend to her, who would do her justice? She would be completely helpless.
Most likely everyone present understood that the type of justice the widow was requesting was economic; for example, that her late husband had left her some mortgaged property that someone refused to return. She was completely dependent on that judge, but he refused to help her. What was it that finally persuaded him to attend to her request? It was her insistence: «Yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me» (verse 5). A bad judge who decides to do justice only when it is more convenient and advantageous than to continue practicing injustice is the example that Jesus used to speak about God by contrast. In other words, the Lord is precisely the opposite of that judge: He answers His daughters who come to Him in prayer because God, far from being an unfair judge, is a righteous God, who defends those who cry out to Him.
With this parable, Jesus is calling us to pray incessantly and, above all, without faltering, even though we may not see the answers. That is because prayer is a necessity, a requirement for a healthy spiritual life. Prayer is simply the breath of the soul. May your soul not run out of breath.