Who doesn’t have a can of WD-40 at your house? I know I do. There is a great quote about this product that says, “You only need two things in life: Duct tape and WD-40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use duct tape. If it doesn’t move and should, use WD-40.” The history of the product WD-40 is worth retelling. The company that makes it was originally called the Rocket Chemical Company because they made chemicals for rockets. Specifically, they were making a chemical for a particular rocket, the Atlas rocket in the 1950’s. The Atlas rocket is known as the rocket that eventually launched the early Mercury astronauts into space, but it started out as a missile, and was the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile. Missiles are susceptible to corrosion and rust, so a lubricant was needed to protect the outer skin of the missiles. Norm Larson, a chemist and founder of Rocket Chemical Company aimed to develop a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers. He tried and failed. Tried again and failed. And kept failing but kept trying. Persistence paid off and on his 40th attempt he succeeded, and WD-40 was created. WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, 40th attempt. WD-40 worked so well that employees snuck cans of WD-40 out of the plant to use at home. Now, almost every home has a can of WD-40 somewhere in the house or garage.
Just as persistence was rewarded in the creation of WD-40, persistence is taught in the Bible, specifically in prayer. The parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge in Luke 18:1-8 is a lesson meant to show the disciples (and us) “that they should always pray and never give up.” In the story an unjust judge presides over a town. He has no fear of God or compassion for the people under his jurisdiction. A needy widow repeatedly comes before the judge to plead her case. Although the judge ignores her, she refuses to give up. She is persistent. Eventually the judge gets worn out by the widow’s constant requests and she receives justice. Jesus then explains the point of the parable: If an uncaring, unfit, ungodly judge answers with justice in the end, how much more will a loving and holy Father give what is right to His children?
Most often we do not always get immediate results when we pray because our definition of swift justice is not the same as the Lord’s definition. The parable of the persistent widow demonstrates that effective prayer requires persistence and faithfulness. A genuine disciple must learn that prayer never gives up and is based on absolute trust and faith in God. We can fully count on the Lord to answer when, where, and how He chooses. God expects us to keep on asking, seeking, knocking, and praying until the answers come. Jesus said it well in Matthew 7:7-8.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
Disciples of Jesus are people of persistent faith. Faithful, never-ceasing, persistent prayer is the permanent calling of every true disciple of Christ who is dedicated to living for the Kingdom of God. Like the persistent widow, we are needy, dependent sinners who trust in our gracious, loving, and merciful God alone to supply what we need. So let us continue with our persistent prayers to our Lord, knowing that He hears and acts with His perfect will.