Get To Know God

February 22, 2013
by Anton Stander

Luke 18:1-8 – And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)

In chapter sixteen of his book, The Power of Prayer, Andrew Murray deals with a subject that I am sure many people find difficult to deal with. It is the age-old problem of answers to prayer. So often we hear the complaint, "I prayed hard for God to heal my mother but she is still sick!" And our natural tendency is to sympathize and offer some encouragement. What the person needed but did not have is what a host of people do not have, and that is an understanding of all that prayer entails. The parable of the unjust judge and the plaintive woman requires much more than a cursory reading. The benighted woman did not know whether the judge would eventually weary of her "continual coming" and avenge her. The widow kept up her pleas until she was avenged, but she lacked any deeper knowledge of the judge.

Andrew Murray brings the matter into sharper focus. He suggests that when answers to our prayers do not come at once, we should "combine quiet patience and joyful confidence in our persevering prayer". The widow had perseverance and kept on asking, but the elements of patience, faith, trust, and praise, were noticeably absent. Even at the height of his torment, poor Job could still say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." (Job 13:15a KJV) The widow would not be patient and kept on hounding the judge. She had obviously lost trust and was far from praising him. But in our dealings with God, we do well to keep in mind the law of gradual growth — everything grows gradually. Scripture exhorts us to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18 KJV) Slowly but surely, we must get to know better the God with whom we are dealing. He often waits and longs for our training in faith, trust, patience, and praise to be complete before, in His infinite wisdom, He grants our petition.

People who become agitated because their prayers have not been answered should take stock of themselves by answering some of these pertinent questions:

  • How well are you acquainted with God to make requests of Him?
  • When last did you worship or praise Him in church, home, or elsewhere?
  • Did you expect an instant miracle or allow God to decide?
  • Do you consider yourself one of God's own elect? (Luke 18:7 KJV)

Prayer: Father of all grace, love, and power, enroll us in Your School of Prayer and teach us how to pray. Give us grace to take Your yoke upon us and learn of You to be meek and lowly of heart, patient and pure, like You. Amen.

About the author:

Anton Stander
(deceased)

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good devotion Anton.


    Nice. Thank you for your devotionals, Tony!


    I am deeply grateful for the inspiring devotionals. They are well written.
    (Ghana)


    Good morning, Anton: Thank you for today’s message.
    I have my ears open to God’s voice constantly!
    He whispers in the silence!


    Wow Anton – I think this one is one of your best! It doesn’t surprise me because I know you are a strong prayer warrior and you’re attitude demonstrates a great example to the rest of us.
    Blessings.


    Thanks Anton, I relate to your reflections. Prayers are answered in so many ways that it is always a surprise and a time of joyful thanks, no matter that it was not WHAT we ordered from God.
    Thanks be to God!!
    (British Columbia)


    Dear Anton:
    For years I have prayed for a cure for cancer. I know that many others pray for this as well. When you hear of babies born with blastoma it is hard to wait.
    Now we have a tiny one with encephalitis and pray again. God bless you for your reminder of the importance of waiting.


    A lady who many years ago used to lead our Lectionary Bible study often remarked that “No” is also sometimes an answer from God. Your words, “Slowly but surely, we must get to know better the God with whom we are dealing”, are so true. God knows what is best for us, and recognizing “No” when we see it as God’s answer to us is part of getting to know God better. He will never let us down if we trust utterly in Him. Thanks for you thoughtful devotional.


    Thank you for this mornings food for thought!
    I am one waiting – in training – for God to answer some of my prayers, be it global, family member, loved ones.
    I trust God knows best how and when. Thanks be to God!
    While I wait other answers come into each day and I see the Lord’s marvelous timing in all and I have a good day by the grace of God.
    I thank God for all who have prayed for me!
    Praying hands and hearts are a blessings.
    Getting to know God is a right way!


    Dear Anton Stander,
    Thank you for many important points re – God’s answering of our prayers.
    And I think we can get one more pointer from the parable: Can it be that Jesus is saying that even if an unjust judge will answer an often-repeated plea, how very much more will our perfect, compassionate, loving, and caring Lord God answer our prayers as we trust his hearing enough to keep on making our request(s) to Him? The New English Version (NEB) reads, ” … will not God vindicate his chosen, who cry out to him day and night, while he listens patiently to them” (Luke 18:7)?
    Keep writing.
    May God bless you mightily in your many needed healings.


    Dear Anton!
    Thanks for writing!! Here are the thoughts that jumped for me after I read your devotional.
    A relationship with the LORD – Father, Son and Holy Spirit understood with a mind renewed by God’s Word plus a heart of trust full of worship and thanksgiving – is the rock solid foundation from which to launch and the fuel for petitions and intercessions.
    James 5:16b NKJV
    The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
    There are three conditions on a prayer that avails much: a righteous (in a correct relationship with God) person praying, effective (according to God’s will) need stated, fervent (expecting a Compassionate result), unwavering in that expectation.
    The LORD BLESS you and keep you.


    Dear Anton: The old word “avenge” is rarely used and not understood. It seems to include the idea of retribution or punishment of the adversary, which may not be in the original. The NIV and other translations use instead “get justice for me” or “grant me justice.” RSV says “vindicate me” and adds “And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily.” In NIV it says “Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.”
    The footnotes in my Study Bible say that as a widow she had no family to uphold her cause, so “only justice and her own persistence were in her favor”. The last sentence also is hard to understand too: “However when the Son of man comes will he find faith on the earth?” The footnotes clarify that by saying there will be a spiritual decline which “will require perseverance such as the widow demonstrated”.
    Yes we should not give up in our prayers, and we should also pray with lonely people who are on the verge of giving up. We need to seek to understand the will of the Lord in matters that is troubling them and us.


    Anton,
    I grew up in Chicago and I know this judge!
    He did not care anything about the law or people and to get him to rule in your favor you had to grease his palm with a little green (and I don’t mean shamrocks!)
    I have read translations where the judge decides to rule in her favor “else she will do me violence!”
    I think that is the Chicago translation.
    The widow is poor; she has no money to pay off the judge, but she has time, energy, and determination. So, she literally haunts the judge, night and day.
    And the judge, evil and superstitious as he is, believes that if the widow dies on his doorstep, she will continue to haunt him into his grave.
    So, he gives in and decides in her favor.
    She had blind faith that her determination would pay off; it is almost a violent faith.
    Our Lord continues in the parable, asking if He would find such faith upon His return.
    In Matthew 11:12, Our Lord speaks about the Kingdom of God “suffers” violence and the violent take it by force.
    Perhaps this “violence” is the faith of this widow, who would not be denied justice.
    Anyhow, keep writing!
    (Texas)


    We never know when the answer will come. Today I had answer from yesterday. I am overwhelmed with surprise and gratitude. I also have prayers that I am still raising. This morning my first scripture reading was Psalm 27 – “Wait on the Lord”. I will wait, because answers will come. And I know in my heart, that lack of a direct answer, is itself an answer.


    Good Evening Anton:
    Did you expect an instant miracle or allow God to decide? Great words of challenge. So often we do expect an instant miracle and want God to answer our requests immediately, even when He knows the very thing we are asking for is not the best thing for us to the person we are praying for.
    Bless Andrew Murray, I love his advice “when answers to our prayers do not come at once, we should “combine quiet patience and joyful confidence in our persevering prayer”. He was a wise pastor and one who blessed the world with wonderful books on prayer and devotional guides.
    How blessed we are to have the words of he who grew up in South Africa to guide out footsteps years later and even today.
    Thank you once again for your splendid devotional.

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