In this parable, we are represented by the widow–she didn’t worry and she was persistent in her requests. But is God like that crooked judge? Does He have to pestered and coerced before He will answer your prayers? Not at all. Parables not only contain comparisons but contrasts as well. Jesus used the mean judge as the total opposite of our loving Heavenly Father. He said, “And will not God bring justice to His chosen? Will He not answer their prayers quickly?”

You must expect God to answer your prayers. In James 1, we are told when we pray for wisdom God will give it to us generously. Then James adds a powerful warning about letting doubt creep into your prayers. He writes: “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:6-7) Compare that to the positive promise we find in I John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him.”

The difference is learning to pay positively, without doubting. Sadly, many Christians pray, but they really don’t expect and answer. There was a Sunday School teacher who had her children write letters to a missionary they had been praying for. The teacher explained the missionary was very busy and wouldn’t have time to send a reply to every child, so they should expect to hear back from him. One little boy wrote this letter: “Dear Mr. Smith, I am praying for you and I am not expecting an answer.” Are you like that? You pray, but you aren’t really expecting an answer?

I’ve known people who have quit praying because they didn’t seem to get an answer. If I walk into a room and flip the light switch, I expect the light to come on. If it doesn’t, I don’t curse Thomas Edison and say electricity is a lie. I start looking for the problem. Maybe the light bulb is burned out, or a breaker has been thrown, or the power is out. If it seems your prayers aren’t answered, don’t quit praying–start looking for the reason. It may be the wrong request, or you may have unconfessed sin in your life, or the timing may not be right. God always answers prayer. But He answers prayer in different ways.

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