Pray and never give up

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “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?” (Luke 18:1–8)

Over the past month and a half, I have been preaching through the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus taught to his disciples in Matthew 6. One of the things that drives many of us to pray, which I did not talk in great detail about in this series, is intercession for the salvation of our loved ones. We all have family members and friends who do not appear to know Jesus, and if we believe Jesus’ warnings regarding those who die without trusting in Him for the forgiveness of their sins (see John 3:18 and 3:36, for example), then our heart breaks for their potential eternal destiny.

During this series, I have repeatedly referenced George Müller, the 19th century British pastor whose life was a great model of prayer, especially in His childlike dependence upon God. One encouraging story from Müller’s life is that he was known to pray daily for the salvation of eight of his friends. One after another, he saw these friends come to Christ, except for one holdout. Despite his persistent prayer, Müller never saw that last friend come to faith in Christ. As Müller wrote, “I have been praying for 63 years and 8 months for one man’s conversion. He is not saved yet, but he will be. How can it be otherwise? I am praying.” Such beautiful and simple faith in the power of prayer and the power of His God.

Müller died in 1898 at the age of 93. At his funeral, as Müller’s casket was being lowered into the grave, his friend for whom he has prayed for over 60 years fell to his knees and cried out, “Oh God, be merciful to a sinner like me!” Müller’s prayers had finally been answered, even though he was no longer on earth to see his friend come to faith in Jesus.

We live in a society that is used to getting whatever it wants on demand, in an instant. As a result, we can experience discouragement and doubt when we do not see God answering our prayers. But Jesus encourages us in Luke 18:1-8 to pray persistently and to never give up. And in Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus tells us to continually ask, seek, and knock, until the door is opened. Let our Savior’s words, and the example of George Müller, encourage you to pray for the salvation of your loved ones and to never give up. Even if you die without seeing them come to faith in Jesus, your Father is still powerful enough to answer your prayer.

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