Prayer Takes Chutzpah

Grebber persistent widow

Chutzpah—a Yiddish word that means, “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, and incredible guts.” Sometimes prayer takes chutzpah.

To prove the point, we look at a story Jesus tells his disciples about a woman who wouldn’t take no for an answer. The story is called “The Parable of the Persistent Widow.” Deprived of her rights after her husband’s death, she pesters the judge over and over again to grant her justice. Though the judge doesn’t care about anything, he finally gives in to her persistence and gives her what she asks for.

Jesus suggests that the disciples can learn a lesson from this widow’s chutzpah. He tells them “they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). The widow is bold; she is confident. She has tenacity and audacity. Perhaps we have the tendency to give up too easily. We throw our hands in the air and proclaim that we have asked, but God hasn’t answer. Praying with chutzpah may change that. Bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers.

This painting from Dutch artist Pieter de Grebber shows the moment after the judge has given in to the demands of the woman. She is obviously the focal point of the painting, bathed in light while he is hidden in the shadows. Do I sense a little smugness in her expression? Finally, her requests have been heard!

Being Human connection: Be bold!

Featured art: Pieter de Grebber, “The Parable of the Unjust Judge,” 1628