Saturday after Reminiscere
Scripture: St. Luke 18:1-8 (NKJV)
1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 “Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 “And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 ‘yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 “I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Persistent, resilient faith, that is what is in view here. We could get sidetracked by the details in the parable, how many prayers, how forceful, how long etc.. These things are not the focus however. “Prayer” is used here as evidence for persistent, resilient faith.
Prayer isn’t a magic incantation that if said in the right sequence, or for the right length of time, or the right method will force God to grant one’s wishes. Prayer is a continual exercise of one’s trust in the God Who will make all things right and make all thing new. Prayer is a demonstration of one’s continued trust in God.
This is why prayer is a regular part of our liturgical worship. We maintain such prayers in the Divine Service and other Offices to help the faithful Christian offer prayers of worship regularly. When Jesus returns, the passage asks if He will find the faith still on the Earth? Of course this does refer to the Christian faith, but it is asking if there will be persistent, resilient Christian faith? Will there be faith that stands up to persecution, heresy and apathy? Of course there will be, but it will get more and more rare before the end. Let us remain steadfast in the faith, praying and resisting the corruption of the world. Many calling themselves the Church do not resist the world. Instead they embrace it.
Lord, give us the strength to shun the spirit of the age and rely on You in prayer. Amen.