Luke 18:1ff—Should prayer be continuous or brief?

Problem: Jesus condemned the long and repetitious prayers of the Pharisees who thought they would “be heard for their many words” (Matt. 6:7). Yet in this parable Jesus encouraged incessant prayer of those “who cry out day and night” to God (Luke 18:7). But these passages seem to be in conflict.

Solution: What Jesus spoke against was not long prayers but repetitious prayers. He was more concerned with the strength of the prayer than the length of the prayer. Petitioners before God are not heard for their “many words,” but they are heard for their sincere “cry.”

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.