I have been labelled a nag, especially by my children. I like to think of myself as a “persistent encourager”. They see it differently. I try to deflect the label by saying that I learned from the best. My mother was a “persistent encourager”. Their only response is, “We rest our case”. Strange how we like to label others in certain ways but dislike wearing that same label ourselves.
I am reminded of another who was a “persistent encourager”. Her encouragement was not as much as trying to be an encourager, as encouraging someone to listen to her, in her case a judge. In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus is wanting His disciples to understand the principle of praying always and not getting discouraged. So He gives them this lesson in a parable.
The judge mentioned is possibly an atheist or an agnostic. He has no fear of God and is no respecter of persons. We do not know why she came to have her case heard, except that she is seeking recourse for some sort of wrong done to her. “Revenge me from my adversary.” She seems to have no where else to go and no one else to turn to for justice.
The judge probably wanted to dismiss her case but this widow was not willing to be so easily put off. Even though he tried for a time, she kept coming back to him. “Revenge me from my adversary.” Finally, he agreed to hear her case and she got what she had been seeking. He claims it was because she was wearing him out. Maybe. The reasoning is not important. The results she was seeking is important, at least to her.
The parable relates to prayer and the need for persistence. You have a need or know someone who has. You pray once, maybe twice. The question is now what do you do? Give up? Give in? Quit? The point of the parable is not that God is reluctant to hear your case and answer, that somehow you must “wear Him down” to at least listen to you. The point is whether you are desperate enough not to be put off, to continue to bring your request before Him until you know that your case is both heard and answered. In times past, we called that “praying through.”
If I am labelled a “persistent encourager”, at least from the standpoint of prayer, then I will wear it proudly.
So, my friends, join me as a “persistent encourager”. Pray on!