I bore my testimony in church today... I talked about a lesson I have learned over and over, and yet, still have to keep learning.
It brings me back to this blog post. I have posted it a couple times - I think it is turning into a tradition for me. Every time I go through this "life lesson," I have to repost this blog post.
Hope someone new reads it and gets something from it.
The Parable of the Unjust Judge (The Importuning Woman)
This judge “feareth not man nor God,” yet a woman comes and begs him to avenge her of her adversary. He doesn’t oblige her at first, but then, over time, he “gives in” and gives her what she wants. I’ve always interpreted this parable to mean that the Lord wants us call on His name repeatedly because somehow it unlocks the powers of heaven and helps Him help us. Or, as Joseph Smith said, “Weary the Lord until He blesses you.” In other words, we weary Him with prayer for his benefit. But Elder Lund in his book “Hearing the Voice of the Lord” points out something different.
First, we know God doesn’t ask us to pray to Him in order for Him to know what we want. He already knows everything. So clearly our pleadings don’t benefit Him that way.
Second, we know God wouldn’t ask us to pray to Him in order to satisfy some petty whim of His. He doesn’t need or want to see us grovel. And He doesn’t want us to jump through theological hoops in order to prove our submissiveness. That is completely counter to His nature. So what, then, is the purpose of this parable?
Well, this parable has another name, which is the “Parable of the Importunate Woman.” (The Savior doesn’t use the word “importunate” here, but He uses it three times in D&C 101:81-89”.) Importunate is the opposite of faint. It means “to press or beset with solicitations; demand with urgency or persistence.” Jesus is telling us in this parable that we should importune Him the Lord when we need something. But if importuning isn’t for His benefit, then it must be for ours.
What is it about importuning that’s so significant? When we ask for something we don’t get right away, it causes us to either blame God or blame ourselves. Assuming we don’t blame God, we look within ourselves and start doing a spiritual inventory, right? We check to make sure we’re being righteous enough to deserve the blessing. We pray harder and longer. We serve more. We are kinder to those around us. We hit the temple more frequently. In a word, we further the process of sanctification. In other words, importuning initiates a tremendous process of spiritual growth. The very process of praying, exercising greater faith, humbling ourselves, and finally submitting our will to His becomes spiritually empowering.
We don’t persist in prayer in order to change God’s mind or convince Him of anything. We persist in prayer to change our hearts. We don’t “weary the Lord” with prayer in order to change God’s mind. We weary Him in prayer hard enough and long enough that our own hearts change. We may think we are unlocking the powers of heaven (and perhaps we are to some degree), but it may be that more significant in effectuating blessings is that we have unlocked our own hearts.