And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
The parable that followed this pronouncement about praying always concerns a bereft widow and an unjust judge. Though the town judge initially paid no attention to the importuning widow, because she continued to pester him, the judge finally acceded to her request for help. Jesus concludes this parable with the promise the God will hear us, "though he bear long with" us, meaning that we may have to be patient until the Lord sees fit to answer us in His own due time.
Returning to Jesus's introduction to the parable, to "not faint" is to not lose heart. God hears all prayers, but He answers in His own due time. When answers don't come quickly or easily, we may think God isn't listening or He doesn't care. Such is not the case. God always hears, always cares, and always answers. His answers, however, are always calculated for our maximum benefit. Despite what we may want, God knows what we truly need. He gives us what we need, which may not be what we want. Sometimes the most important thing we need, amidst all our wants, is a lesson in patience.
For most of my life, I have been quite adept at instructing God in how He should run His universe and the timing of the blessings I think I need in my life and in the lives of others. I tell Him who to heal and when to heal them, who to strengthen and how He should strengthen them, whose burdens He should lift and how He should lift them. I have approached God like my personal vending machine of blessings, dropped in my coins of prayer and faith, pushed the buttons, and expected instant gratification.
Has God heard all my selfish, self-centered, impatient prayers? Absolutely. Does He love me? Positively. Does He want me to have a good life? Most assuredly. But He is also wise enough to withhold the blessings I want and dispense the blessings I need. He is patient enough to let me learn His purposes despite my frantic desires to have Him right every wrong and heal every illness and remove every burden.
I has taken me many years, but I have stopped, for the most part, trying to instruct God in how I want Him to fix the world and have instead offered to listen to what He wants for me, to bear up the burdens He wants me to carry, to deal with the obstacles He allows to obstruct my easy path, to serve those on whom He has chosen to allow afflictions to linger, and to wait patiently with an eye of faith for the things I truly need. God's goodness is not in a comfortable life with no drama, no problems, and no stress, but in permitting all the trials that will enable me to come to the Savior with a broken heart and contrite spirit. My purpose in this earthly life is not to be comfortable on a calm sea, but to the strong in the midst of the storms that blow my vessel towards the promised land of salvation and exaltation.