Jesus told them a parable to show them that shey should always pray and not lose heart (give up). He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who niether feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in the town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'"
The Prinveville Bible Fellowship meets in a building that had a former life. We hope. We notice that the "Payment Slot" has been disabled with screws. That didn't disable someone's imagination in altering the text, however.
Some churches have worked that way. Many so-called justice systems around the world have never worked differently. Justice is given to the highest bidder, the one with the most power.
When Jesus sets the stage of the parable by introducing the corrupt, unjust judge, the one who decided not on the basis of his faith, public pressure or the human community's constitution and laws--but apparently on the basis of how he felt or how well he was paid by the powerful--I imagine someone in the crowd piped up and said,
"Yo, Rabbi, name me a judge that doesn't work this way!"
And imagine the widow going up against this kind of bullheadedness and corruption. What's she got going for her? Nothing. Total zip.
In Jesus' day, and still in our day in many places, you are the bottom rung of the ladder if you are female and without a family, without male power brokers. 'Specially if you got no bucks.
But the widow does not give up. She won't take no for an answer. She wears out the crooked, corrupt judge. Nags 'til the cows come home. Good on her!
So Jesus says, "If the most powerless person you can imagine can prevail against the most corrupt system you can imagine, what's keeping you from taking advantage of your much more favorable conditions?"
For the widow, the system is completely stacked against her. But it eventually crumbles her way.
For us, the God system is completely stacked in our favor. Do we have faith enough to ask? And keep at it? At all?
Do we have faith enough to ask?
If we don't, here's a piece of advice: Act as if we do.
Pray anyway. Pray until it hurts. Pray until it feels better. Don't give up. Don't quit. Don't lose heart.
Pray for what you really need. Which is the same thing God really needs. God can't be unfaithful to God's self. So, doggone it, ask for it!
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...