The Simplicity of Prayer – It must be first for the waiting disciple
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
The preeminence of pray is in Jesus’ witness to the importance of praying. In Luke 18, Jesus gives one of the most riveting examples of perseverance in prayer leaving no question of His support of the preeminence of prayer to face a hostile world in which God’s people need to have patient endurance.
1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)
This passage teaches us that we are disciples tasked with waiting for deliverance. We are not good at this.
The illustration in this passage is a woman who lives and functions in an authority structure unconcerned with her existence. Since her husband’s death, the society around her, for the most part, is completely oblivious to the fact that she even exists. In this case, she is disconnected from legal recourse through an advocate to defend her from her adversary (enemy, someone pursuing you at law). Now, alone she must recreate a connection which in the illustration appears hopeless. As she attempts to make this connection her urgency is driven by a sense of hopelessness that someone will plead her case.
In Luke 18, the woman implores the one, who should be most concerned that justice be done in her behalf, the judge; yet there is no immediate response from him. In like manner, God does not always respond immediately to His waiting disciples; and we must continue to pray before Him.
A waiting disciple alone in a hostile environment is often trapped by feelings of being alone and is burdened with a sense of hopeless disconnection. Our experiences in a society, so highly desensitized to our beliefs, way of life, or so little concern for faith, purity, and Godliness, wound our will. With growing time, our separation from Jesus demoralizes our will to hope in Him. While in this condition, this passage admonishes us to pray to God, the true judge.
We are to pray that He will vindicate us, rescue us, and encourage us in this period of separation. All too easily, we succumb to the thinking that there is no vindication imminent. Then, in a moment of multiplied stress, we abandon hope and faint. Sadly, we even think ourselves justified.
This passage admonishes us to pray with the expressed confidence that our vindication is part of God’s plan for justice. In our passage in Luke, the word “avenge” means “to make justice out,” “execute justice,” or “make justice evident.” The following support passage overwhelmingly explains the warfare of the saint of God. God will in His time come to take vengeance for all the suffering of His saints as He strives with the spirit of men.
2 Thessalonians 1:3–10
3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.