Luke 18:1

(1) That men ought always to pray, and not to faint.--The latter of the two verbs is noticeable as being used in the New Testament by St. Luke and St. Paul only (2Corinthians 4:1; 2Corinthians 4:16; Galatians 6:9; 2Thessalonians 3:13). The whole verse is remarkable as being one of the few instances (Luke 18:9 being another) in which a parable is introduced by a distinct statement as to its drift and aim.

Verses 1-14. - The Lord speaks the two parables on prayer - the importunate widow, and the Pharisee and publican. Verse 1. - And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. The formnla ἕλεγε δὲ καί, literally, "and he spake also," calls attention to the fact that the parable-teaching immediately to follow was a continuation of what had preceded. Indeed, the connection between the first of the two parables, which urges restless continued prayer, and the picture which the Lord had just drawn of men's state of utter forgetfulness of God, is obvious. "The Son of man has been rejected; he has gone from view; the masses are plunged in gross worldliness; men of God are become as rare as, in the days of Abraham, they were in Sodom. What, then, is the position of the Church? That of a widow whose only weapon is incessant prayer. It is only by means of this intense concentration that faith will be preserved. But such is precisely the disposition which Jesus fears may not be found even in the Church at his return" (Godet).

18:1-8 All God's people are praying people. Here earnest steadiness in prayer for spiritual mercies is taught. The widow's earnestness prevailed even with the unjust judge: she might fear lest it should set him more against her; but our earnest prayer is pleasing to our God. Even to the end there will still be ground for the same complaint of weakness of faith.And he spoke a parable unto them,.... To his own disciples, as the Ethiopic version reads, in order to encourage them to prayer, with perseverance in it; since such sore times of trial and affliction were coming upon the Jews, of which he had spoken in the preceding chapter; and such times more especially call for prayer; see Psalm 50:15

to this end, that men ought always to pray. This is opposed to them, who pray not at all, or have left off prayer before God, or who pray only in distress; and suggests, that a man should pray as often as he has an opportunity; should be constant and assiduous at the throne of grace, and continue putting up his requests to God, though he does not presently return an answer:

and not to faint; by reason of afflictions, temptations, desertions, and delays in answering prayer; and prayer itself is an admirable antidote against fainting under afflictive providences: it is with the Jews an affirmative precept that a man should pray, , "every day" (k); it was usual with them to pray three times a day; see Psalm 55:17 there is no set time fixed by Christ; men should be always praying. This is not to be understood, that a man should be always actually engaged in the work of prayer; that he should be continually either in his closet, in private devotion to God, or attending exercises of more public prayer, with the saints; for there are other religious exercises to be performed, besides prayer; and besides, there are many civil affairs of life, it is every man's indispensable duty to regard: nor does our Lord mean in the least to break in upon, or interrupt the natural and civil duties of life; but his meaning is, that a man should persevere in prayer, and not leave off, or be dejected, because he has not an immediate answer; and this is clear from the following case.

(k) Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, c. 1. sect. 1.

Luke 17:37
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