1Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Reflection: Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.
It is easy to look around us and get discouraged by the injustice and unrighteousness we see. If we focus too much on the negative experiences of life, then we will start to believe in the lie of hopelessness. Prayer is so vitally important to our lives for many reasons, not the least of which is the need for proper perspective. Prayer reminds us that God is active and at work in the world. God wants us to participate in that holy action; we participate through prayer-induced action. When we pray, God gives us a proper perspective on how the world should and can be through his work of redeeming injustice and unrighteousness. Then we can understand how our actions can reflect these works of redemption.
We have a tendency to get out “ahead” of God – that is, we come up with solutions without prayer. These solutions are often not solutions at all, but are panic-driven reactions that too often complicate already-difficult situations. Action without prayer is reflective of our fear. In prayer we come into contact with God’s wisdom and that wisdom is more powerful than our fear. When we feel overwhelmed or feel like being reactive, God calls upon us to pause, pray, and get in touch with the grace of the divine heart.
The more time we spend in intentional acts of prayer, the more we will come to trust in God’s wisdom and God’s work in the world. We will also realize that changing the world is not up to us! Our responsibility is to take notice of where God is working and ask God to employ us in that work. It is difficult to lose heart when you are trusting God with the outcome of a situation and trusting in God’s empowerment for your own strength and guidance.
Journaling Focus: I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them.
Reflect upon a time in which you experienced an injustice. How did God lead you through that experience? How did God grant you justice in that unjust situation? As you reflect on your own experience, think about how you might be a divinely-appointed force for justice in the life of someone experiencing injustice in their own life.
This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week (sometimes in larger context) and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture. As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time. As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time. As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.
Explore: If you would like to explore the Scripture more deeply, go to our Exploring Scripture page!
Listen to the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Notice in the first verse that prayer is called a privilege. Have you thought of prayer before in this way? In what ways is prayer a privilege? What is God communicating to you through this song? What might you communicate to God through this song?
Prayer Focus: Will he delay long in helping them?
One of the most obvious examples of injustice in the world is the reality of suffering. We can learn a great deal through the experience of suffering. The experience of suffering can shape our character. And yet, suffering in and of itself is painful and undesirable. Pray for all who experience prolonged suffering. Trust God to be their comfort. Ask God to send deliverance and peace to those who suffer.
Meditation Focus: And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?
Look at the image above. This is a well-worn door with a rusted door-knocker. In my mind, this becomes the door of prayer – the very one Jesus references when he says “knock and the door will be opened for you” (Matthew 7:7). How often do we stand at the door and forget to knock? Our movement toward prayer is the act of knocking. God will always open the door when someone knocks. This is a door that can be trusted – the occupant behind the door is kind and warm, gentle and holy. He wants to commune with you, wants to hear your troubles, wants to speak life into you. Healing and justice wait for you there. As you consider this door, muster up the courage to knock and be brought into the lovely place of prayer.
Take some time to reflect upon your day or your week. Follow the process below and open yourself up to the presence and work of God in your life this week. Every week the structure is the same, but some specifics are changed to reflect the Scripture of the week.
- Find a place and posture that will prepare you for prayer.
- Begin by breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing deeply out of your mouth.
- Invite God to lead you through the previous day or week. For instance, if it is Tuesday night, reflect back on Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening. If it is Saturday or Sunday, reflect back on Monday through Friday.
- Ask God to guide you through these questions:
- Where have you witnessed injustice?
- Where have you witnessed justice?
- How have you participated in injustice?
- How have you participated in justice?
- Thank God for this journey of reflection on your day or week. Ask God to continue to reveal Godself to you tomorrow.
Visit the website of The Global Board of Church and Society of The United Methodist Church and explore some of the ways Methodists from around the world are working toward a more just society. As you explore, is God calling on you to take action to address a specific area of injustice in our world? If so, pray and ask God for further guidance on how to act justly!
Breath Prayer: LORD God, grant us merciful justice.