The child new exactly what he wanted. He had been patiently shopping with his mom through the grocery store, but as they were checking out he was surrounded by all of his favorite things. Those playing cards, stuffed animals, toys that were just his size, and… the candy. He was starving. He hadn’t had a crumb to eat since breakfast. Lunch was a long way off; he needed that candy bar. So he asked his mom politely first – that sometimes works. Then he set in begging, nagging. He’d done this before and knew that mom was vulnerable in public. If he just kept asking she would give in.
That bad example is one not to far off from the bad example that Jesus offers in Luke 18. The little boy is a bad example of someone asking. Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow is a bad example of the person receiving the plea. The point is that in our prayer life are we like the persistent widow who came to the judge and beat him down with her request? The example of the child’s persistence isn’t bad either, when it comes to prayer.
What the little boy was pleading for was out of line. He wasn’t starving. His mom would not have been helping him had she given in to his demands. Sometimes when we approach God in prayer we are out of line. Our wants do not always match up to what our God wants to give us.
In our life of prayer it is important to spend time listening to what God has to say. When God’s answers our prayers with a NO or a WAIT (they sound very similar), it is our turn to go back to hear his promises and to see what his will is for our lives. But then don’t stop GO BACK in prayer. No one wants to think of their prayers as nagging, but be persistent. Go back to him again and again with your request. In this wonderful wrestling our will changes. Prayer is how God changes our will to his. Persist prayer is the way God wants us to ask.