Luke 18:1

ESV And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
NIV Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
NASB Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not become discouraged,
CSB Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up.
NLT One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.
KJV And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
NKJV Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,

What does Luke 18:1 mean?

Jesus has just explained to the disciples what the world will look like when He returns. People will not be thinking about God. They will be living their normal lives, marrying, working, and planning. Like the people of the days of Noah and Lot, they won't realize that judgment is imminent. When Jesus comes, He will separate His followers from those who reject Him. Even the closest relationships will be broken (Luke 17:22–37).

The Greek word de leads off this passage. This connecting word can mean "and," "then," or "now," among other things. It indicates this segment is directly related to the previous one. The disciples are apparently discouraged by Jesus' warning. The parable Jesus tells suggests the disciples are doubtful that God's judgment against their enemies will ever come. They agree with Jesus when He says, "The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it" (Luke 17:22).

This parable is interesting in that Luke leads off with the basic meaning of the lesson. To "lose heart" means demotivation towards something positive: to fail to maintain resolve about a subject or idea. Jesus knows His followers will face far more hardships than what they are experiencing now. Most of the Twelve will die as martyrs. We, too, look at the state of the world and wonder if God will ever bring His justice. Jesus' answer is, "Yes, so keep praying" (cf. Luke 18:7–8).

To pray for Jesus' return and the justice He will bring "always" doesn't mean we need to be in active prayer every waking second. It means we should pray often and regularly.

The parable of the persistent neighbor is similar but, in that case, the neighbor sought bread—an earthly need—not justice (Luke 11:5–13).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: