Have you ever heard of Andy Bernard? Andy is one of the more persistent and annoying characters from the show The Office, a man whose personality could be summarized by one of his best quotes: “Every success I’ve ever had at my job or with the lady folks has come from my ability to slowly and painfully wear someone down.”
Ha! I love that line. And I love it even more when Jesus connects it to prayer. After telling the humorous parable about a persistent widow who wore down a local judge with her constant cries for justice, Jesus said, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly” (Luke 18:7,8).
Jesus’ point was not that our Lord is like an unjust judge, a grouchy God whom you have to wear down with a thousand prayers. No, this is an argument from the lesser to the greater. If a bad guy is moved by persistence, how much more a good God? Won’t God answer the people he chose to be his children? Won’t God make sure they get justice? When you cry out to him, won’t he do something about it? Of course he will. He will see to it that you get justice. So “wear God down” and keep praying. Jesus promises that God will, when the timing is perfect to carry out his plans, answer your prayer.