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October 12, 2009 / beidson

Pray Like a Widow (Or Be Judged)

Think about what Paul told Timothy: “She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:5-6).  He’s talking about caring for true widows within the church, those who are really all alone with no one else to turn to but God.  These women continue in prayer day and night because their need for care is serious and urgent.  They are truly in need.

What about those who are not really widows?  What’s the difference?  They don’t cast themselves on God in desperation, but wrongfully indulge themselves on the kindness and concern of others.  In contrast, true widows are really all alone.  If the church doesn’t feed them, they will starve to death.  And so they pray day and night and lay out supplications before God, entrusting their lives to the One who made their empty stomachs that are grumbling in hunger.  They pray in desperation–they are true widows and have no recourse but to cast themselves on God.

Pray like a desperate widow, because if you do not turn to God in desperation you will open your mouth for others to fill it, and this is self-indulgence.  Those who are self-indulgent will be judged, James tell us (5:5).  But those who understand their desperation will cast themselves on God.  Widow or not, we are all commanded to do just this, to prostrate ourselves before the God of mammon and money and houses and cars, and to recognize our absolute poverty apart from his gracious provision.  In this regard, we ought to all be praying like widows so that we may escape judgment.

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