Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”
Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8
Prayer both fascinates and confuses me. We serve a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and completely self-sufficient. He is the I AM, who is big enough for every situation. He was in the beginning before He created time, space, the universe around us. He is. He was. He forever will be.
Yet, He chooses to restrain Himself from ordering the world according to His wisdom, waiting instead for His church to grow in maturity and pray His will into being. We do not know how to pray, but the Spirit of wisdom and revelation teaches us what is on the mind and in the heart of God for us. We gain momentum and faith in prayer when we declare God’s words back to Him. This is the nature of a prayer life–the mystery of walking in relationship with Him.
I am currently reading a book by Bob Sorge called “Unrelenting Prayer.” He discusses at length the parable of the unjust judge and how God longs for us to be faithful and persistent in our prayer life with Him; for it is there that our relationship with Him grows.
One point that Sorge makes is that the widow in this parable does not plead her case before her adversary–she goes over his head and appeals to a higher court:
“You will notice that she didn’t go to her adversary for justice. If she had gone to her adversary and said, ‘I am asking you to stop this and to treat me right,’ her adversary would have laughed in her face. She was weak and poor, and he was strong and powerful. She had no power over her adversary, so she went to the one who had jurisdiction over him. She went to the judge.
“Our models of spiritual warfare may need some adjustment in this regard. In going after the devil, some of us have tried to wring justice from him by saying things like, ‘Satan, we command you to restore what you’ve stolen, in Jesus’ name!’ And then we wonder why nothing changes. Was that a snicker we just now heard?
“Satan’s not about to get me justice! If I tried to appeal to him, he would just sneer at me. He won’t relinquish even an inch of ground unless he’s strong-armed into it.
“No, I’m not going to talk to my adversary; I’m going straight to my Judge.” (Sorge, 18-19)
Although I believe there is a time to command the enemy (Jesus demonstrated this Himself by speaking to demonic spirits), Sorge raises a compelling point. We can get so focused on tearing down/casting out that we lose sight of our primary responsibility — to exalt the Name of Jesus and to usher in His kingdom. We must not neglect to walk in our authority as believers and function in that capacity as the Spirit leads us. However, we should direct the bulk of our prayer life to our Judge and our advocate and not at the enemy of our souls. The Father comes with a Spirit of revelation and truth; the enemy will only ever twist and confuse what we pray.
Blessings on the journey!