Today’s Gospel from Luke 18 is one of three parables offered by Luke on prayer. The first half of the chapter shows constancy and persistence as key components of prayer.
Jesus uses as His models a widow, the most vulnerable and powerless in that society, and an unjust judge, a figure clearly in violation of Jewish law. (Deut 7:19)
The unjust judge grants the widow’s appeal, not out of justice but, because of her persistence, out of annoyance and fear.
How much more will our perfectly just and loving God grant what we ask in faith. We are, however reminded of St. Monica who prayed for 30 years for the conversion of her son before her prayer was answered.
Prayer is a double-sided coin: to pray frequently is to strengthen our faith; to have faith is to go to God in prayer. The Catechism instructs: “Lifting up the mind toward God is an expression of our adoration of God: prayer of praise, thanksgiving, intercession and petition (4 forms of prayer) Prayer is an indispensable condition for being able to obey God’s commandments.’
One commentator observed that if one wishes to become an atheist, one can simply stop praying. Jesus prayed before all the decisive moments of His ministry.
Jesus ends this passage using His favorite title for Himself from Daniel: ‘the Son of Man’, which emphasizes His humanity, asking if, when He returns, will He find faith, by implication of this passage, will we still be praying?