Luke 18:1-14

Talks for Growing Christians

Parables of the Persistent Widow and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:1-14

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Lesson Number 47

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God expects us to be persistent in prayer.
  2. God expects us to be humble in prayer.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t twist God’s arm in prayer.


  1. Who are the elect of Luke 18:7?
  2. Will it be easier for people to pray when they are under persecution in the end times?
  3. The parable of persistent widow sounds like God is reluctant to give us what we need unless we pester Him for it. Is this the truth?
  4. List the contrasts between the Pharisee and tax collector in the parable of the two prayers.


  1. They are the elect of the Tribulation Period who will be undergoing great persecution at that time. Many will be martyred, and they will cry out day and night to God for justice.
  2. No; praying in faith is never automatic. Spiritual conditions in the world will not improve or become more conducive to prayer. That is why people need to be encouraged in all ages to pray and not lose heart (verse 1).
  3. No; the key to properly understanding this parable is to realize the Lord is not comparing God to the unrighteous judge, but contrasting Him.
  4. - The Pharisee wanted to be seen by others // The tax collector stood a good distance away - The Pharisee prayed about himself and to himself // The tax collector humbly beat his chest - The Pharisee compared himself to others and thought he was doing fine // The tax collector measured himself by God’s standards and found that he fell far short and cried out for mercy


  1. Discuss the parable of the persistent widow. Understanding what this parable is not teaching is just as important as understanding what it is teaching.
  2. What is your attitude when you approach prayer? In your public prayers before others and in your private prayers alone, do you approach God with an attitude of humility? What can you learn from the tax collector?


  1. Sometimes people complain and twist God’s arm to give them something that is not best for them. Sometimes the Lord answers these selfish prayers. So make sure your prayers are in line with God’s word… and then be persistent in prayer!

Key Verses

  • “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8
  • “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Luke 18:13

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