The Lord looks favorably on those who approach him with earnestness and won’t take no for an answer (with the caveat that what they are seeking is in keeping with his will). He uses the example of the persistent widow and the apathetic judge to demonstrate how we as Christians should be persistent in our petitions.
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. he said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, “Give me justice against my adversary.” For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, “Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.” ‘ And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.’ “ (Luke 18:1-8 English Standard Version)
So too we must be as persistent in our prayers as this widow was in her petitions to the unrighteous judge. Moreover, do not be discouraged by thoughts or feelings that you should not bother the Lord with this or that petition or that you are not worthy of having your prayers answered, for the Lord does not regard the opinions of men, as we see in the case of the two blind men who pushed through the crowds that tried to discourage them and received their healing.
“And as [Jesus and the disciples] went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by they cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ And stopping, Jesus called them and said, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, let our eyes be opened.’ And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.” (Matthew 20:29-34 ESV)
My takeaway from this healing is that none of us is worthy but the Lord is merciful. I leave one final example of persistence, that of the Gentile woman who asked the Lord to heal her daughter.
“And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ But she answered him, ‘Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ And he said to her, ‘For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.’ And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone. (Mark 7:24-30 ESV)
I pray we emulate this woman in her persistence and humility, and that the Lord answer all of our petitions, blessing us with the perseverance and patience needed until they are answered.
*I would even extend this to all aspects of our lives. Let us be persistent in all things (being watchful unto prayer) and see if the Lord will not provide us what we seek.