When Life Hands You Lemons…Prayer Can Conquer Fear
By Dr. Potter’s wife, Jennifer
Yes, our God is sovereign over every circumstance. At the same time, this sovereign God calls us to be persistent in prayer. Taking the parable of the widow and the callous judge from Luke 18:1-8, the theme of persistent prayer emerges. While much can be said for the nuisances in this story, it is clear that we are called to persist in prayer even when the outlook is dim. So, while the comfort of God’s absolute sovereignty is available to us, the comfort of persistent prayer exists alongside it. The truths exist together and lead God’s people through the darkest of hours.
In the book Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels, Kenneth E. Bailey takes us through this parable. In summarizing his explication of the text, he writes the following:
As the saints and martyrs have known for ages, prayer can conquer fear. The suffering church across the centuries has found encouragement in this parable as Ibn-Tayyib wrote in Baghdad a millennium ago: “It is said that the purpose of this parable is to clarify what is incumbent on the believers during the life of the present church as regards perseverance and persistence in heartfelt, fervent prayer. [The faithful pray] with full confidence that if they accomplish this, there is no doubt that God will come to them with joy, look upon their suffering and torment, and grant them victory at the appropriate time” (267).
May I learn to pray whenever I fear. If the two coincide for a period, I can trust that at some point prayer will overcome the fear under which I sometimes struggle. The comfort of persistent prayer is only available to those who call upon a sovereign God— for we are assured that He has promised to save in due time.
Bailey, Kenneth E. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels. IVP Academic, 2008.