Prayer and Justice

Last Sunday, Rev. Stephenson told me before the worship service that his sermon was on the topic of prayer, so I found myself surprised when he began his message with justice.

I’ve never really recognized the connection between justice and prayer in such a direct way.

Read the passage he taught from for yourself: Luke 18:1-14. Pay attention to the various forms of the word “justice” found. (If you don’t have a Bible handy click the text reference.)

In prayer, it is true, we come before the Righteous Judge of all creation with our requests, concerns, and complaints.

So in a sense we are constantly seeking justice: healing of those who are ill, salvation for those who are lost, insight for those who are spiritually blind. We do not come only when we have been wronged, we come for a world that has gone wrong.

The Judge we come to is the One who sent His only Son to pay the penalty required for the sins of the world. He came to uphold justice — restoring balance, as Rev. Stephenson said — without destroying us in the process.

The widow, in her persistence before an unjust judge, received justice. Jesus said…

“… And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?… I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. …”
Luke 18 7-8 NIV84
The tax collector seeking mercy for his sins went away justified before God, while the Pharisee, confident in his own righteousness, was not.
When we are willing to truly look at who we are before the Righteous Judge, walk into the Light of Truth, we come face to face with our sins, our brokenness, our need.
It is through prayer — asking God for forgiveness and His gift of grace in Jesus’s name — that we find justification in the gospel.
But, if we do not come before Him transparently, we will not be justified. Like the Pharisee we will walk away in the dark, not realizing our own depravity.

Who are you in this passage? 
…the widow persistently seeking justice for yourself or others? 
…the tax collector standing humbly before the Righteous Judge fully recognizing your need for His grace? 
… or are you the Pharisee, confident in your own righteousness?

Justice and prayer. A righteous connection.

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