Praying for Justice? Learn a Lesson From the Persistent Widow

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David Ireland

The great Christian author C.S. Lewis once said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” In other words, fighting spiritually is vital because of how invaluable God’s promises are—and even the devil knows it.

In 1 Samuel 30 the Bible outlines an amazing battle plan for regaining those things that have been snatched away by the enemy of our souls. After the Amalekites kidnapped the women and children and raided Ziklag—the place where David and the families of his 600 men were living—he prayed, “Shall I pursue this raiding party?” (v. 8, NIV). Here’s a paraphrase of God’s answer: “Go and seize your stolen promises!” This riveting account of David’s bravery in successfully recapturing the kidnapped families and their stolen property from the Amalekites did not come about by sheer military force. David used a threefold strategy.

First, he engaged his feelings. He grieved the loss of his family and property. He even had to work through his emotions regarding the threats his own men made to stone him because their families and property were stolen (v. 6). These wounded warriors thought that killing David would ease their pain. Thankfully David went to God in prayer to find the answer to his emotionally traumatic dilemma.

Second, David engaged his faith. When David prayed, “Shall I pursue this raiding party?” he was calling on God’s wisdom to determine whether he should go after his family and property through military pursuit. David believed that God was the captain of the army—a warring God—who would answer in a way that resulted in victory.

Third, David engaged in a fight. God’s response to David’s prayer came in the form of words. Yet those words were infused with power that fired David up for the battle. His mind was focused, knowing that God was on His side. And David was on God’s side too. This battle was not only centered on revenge, but it was also fueled with marching orders directly from God. David was doing the Lord’s work. Any time you pursue God’s promises, you are doing His work. All heaven stands behind your spiritual effort to regain your stolen promises—the gifts God has given you.

Very much like natural fighting, spiritual warfare demands training and strategy. Even understanding psychological warfare is crucial in gaining the upper hand against your adversary. Similarly a solid understanding of biblical principles is essential to engage successfully in spiritual warfare.

Regardless of your age, gender, ethnicity or national origin, the law of gravity dictates that you will come crashing to the ground at the rate of 32.2 feet per second if you jump off the roof of a building. This law is both constant and nonnegotiable, in the same way there are laws associated with prayer that are constant and nonnegotiable.

The laws of prayer can be learned. And once you have mastered them, you will invariably begin to grow in the power of prayer. You will also find yourself coming alongside discouraged believers to help them discover the reasons their prayers haven’t been answered. You will be able to assist them in picking up their helmets, wiping the discouragement from their minds, and rejoining the ranks of the kneeling warriors.

A deficiency and vitality in your prayer life could mean that you’ve become discouraged. Discouraged believers often retreat to a life of spiritual apathy, but God wants us to make requests because He delights in answering us. We ought to persistently pursue Him for all His promises because this pleases Him. God gets no glory from unanswered prayers.

It’s important to remember God doesn’t say anything He doesn’t mean. He is the epitome of integrity and credibility. His Word is His bond. He honors every aspect of His Word. It is absolutely infallible. God’s Word is pregnant with power and every other vital ingredient needed to deliver on His promises. Our role is to trust Him when we pray.

In Luke 18:1 Jesus taught His 12 recruits “that they should always pray and not give up.” His counsel is followed by a parable of a persistent widow who illustrates the value of a prayer-filled lifestyle. The parable of the persistent widow is a lesson in how we should pray and never give up. She emulates what it means to have faith in God in the face of human opposition and a blatant disregard for justice.

Isn’t this the perspective our commander in chief, Jesus, taught us to have? Jesus said to His disciples, “They should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). This command to never give up embodies the attitude and will a kneeling warrior must possess before he bends his knees in prayer. Prayer starts in your feelings and thoughts about God, His power, His willingness to act, and your willingness to believe that His promises are absolutely attainable through prayer.

Adapted from The Kneeling Warrior by David D. Ireland, Ph.D., copyright 2013, published by Charisma House. Success in life requires spiritual militancy. This book offers a courageous how-to guide to reclaim God’s promises over your life and win the battle against Satan’s attacks on your knees. To order your copy click here.


This week thank the Lord that He delights in answering your prayers. Ask Him to help you learn the laws of prayer and develop perseverance and mature faith. Pray that a spirit of repentance and revival would engulf our churches and spread throughout the nation. Pray for more laborers into God’s harvest fields. Lift up our leaders and pray that they would seek God’s guidance in all their decisions affecting our nation and the world. Lift up those victimized by the terror in Kenya, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and our own Navy Yard. Continue to pray for Israel and the persecuted church. Luke 18:1; 1 Thes. 5:17

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