Luke (18:1-8) recalls one of the parables Jesus used to teach his followers.  He    begins by explaining the parable is about “the necessity of praying always and  not losing heart.”

The parable tells of a persistent widow and a reluctant judge.  It poses the question:  if a corrupt judge eventually grants the widow’s petition, how much more readily will  God listen to the prayers of his chosen.

We accept the idea that we must be persevering in prayer. To actually do that, however, can be a great challenge.  When our prayers seem to go unanswered, especially over a long period of time, we are tempted to think of prayer as a useless exercise and to give up..
One thing that can make perseverance in prayer difficult is a faulty understanding of prayer.  Praying properly means seeing prayer essentially as a rising of the soul to meet the will of God.  If we think of prayer as a means of drawing God’s will down to meet our requirements or desires we are mistaken.

It is not uncommon for people to confuse magic and religion and consequently to think of prayer as a kind of magic.  Actually magic and religion are exact opposites.  By magic we try to control God. That is certainly not a Christian way of thinking about prayer. By prayer we try to consciously submit to God’s control.

The purpose of prayer is not to wring favors from God that he would not otherwise be disposed to grant.  God’s love for us is such that he always wants what is best for us, even though at times that may be difficult to see.  Prayer is not for making God want what we want.  It is for making us want what God wants.

To be persevering in prayer is not easy, especially when we feel our prayer is not being heard.  But without perseverance, without our being faithful in praying regularly, there is no guarantee our prayer is not simply dependent on our mood, praying only when we feel like it or feel like our prayer is doing some good.

Jesus told his disciples not only to persevere in prayer but also to pray with complete confidence.  But that confidence must be accompanied by complete submission to God’s will.  Jesus gave us a perfect example of that in Gethsemane when he prayed three times that the cup of suffering might pass, adding each time: “Not my will, but thine be done.”