Friday, 7 June 2013

Friday - Persistent prayers for Justice and Peace

Prayer:  God be with us today.  Guide our thoughts and our actions so that we can see Your presence in our lives.   Amen.

Read St. Luke 18: 1 – 8

Jesus told the story of the persistent widow so that the disciples would always be persistent in prayer and never give up.   At least that is what verse 1 states.   But in this parable,  there is so much more!

The parable opens with a judge who declares that he does not fear God nor cares about anyone.   This is certainly not the kind of judge anyone would want to decide their fate.   This judge did not worship God.  This judge did not care about any one at all.     And in the midst of his callous heart,  there comes a widow who wants the judge to grant her justice against her adversary.

We are never told who the widow’s adversary is but with the widow coming before a judge we do know one thing about the widow.  She is all alone in the world with no children nor relatives.   If she did have  children or relatives,  the closest male would have presented her case before the judge himself.   Yet here is a widow coming before a judge herself.

The judge hears the widow’s  case and dismisses it.    The widow went away but came back again and again to the point where the judge says that even though he does not fear God nor care about men,  he will grant the widow her justice otherwise she will beat him down with her persistence.  

Verse 6 is essential to this parable.   “Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?  Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.  However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  (St. Luke 18: 6 – 8)

So the judge does give the widow justice due to her persistence.   Jesus said this is an illustration that our prayers must be persistent as well.    Jesus isn’t talking about the prayers of “Dear Lord,  I need a shiny new car”   or  “Dear Lord,  I want more money”.   Jesus is talking about persistent prayers for justice and peace.    

We read in newspapers and hear on radio and TV conflicts and wars in our world.   Do we say prayers for these situations?  Or do we just shake our head and say, “Oh that is horrible”.     Prayers are needed for each conflict and unjustice.    It is out of our great love for God that we bring these conflicts and unjustices to God. 

When the Son of Man comes,  will he find faith on the earth?   A good question for us all to meditate upon today.    

Prayer:    Great God,  we come before You today with prayers of justice and peace for those who are living in conflict and war.   Comfort and be with those O LORD,  who can not defend themselves.   Provide Your peace to those O LORD,  who are not living in safety.   Provide Your justice to those O LORD,  who govern all nations.   Use us this day O LORD to bring Your justice and Your peace into this world.     This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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