Luke mentions widows more than do all the other Gospel writers combined. In that day, widows usually had a difficult time making ends meet, in spite of the care God instructed His people to give them. The early church was serious about the care of Christian widows, a good example for us to follow today.
As you study this parable, try to imagine the setting. The courtroom was not a fine building but a tent that was moved from place to place as the judge covered his circuit. The judge, not the law, set the agenda; and he sat ceremoniously in the tent, surrounded by his assistants. Anybody could watch the proceedings from outside, but only those who were approved and accepted could have their cases tried. This of course, usually meant bribing one of the assistants so that he would call the judge's attention to the case.
The widow had three obstacles to overcome. First, being a woman she, therefore, had little standing before the law. In Palestinian society of our Lord's Day, women did not go to court. Since she was a widow, she had no husband to stand with her in court. Finally, she was poor widows could not pay a bribe even if she wanted to. It shouldn't be a surprise that poor widows did not always get the protection the law that they deserved.
Now that we understand the setting of this parable, we can better understand what Jesus was teaching. Basically, He was encouraging His disciples to pray, and He did this by presenting three contrasts.
Contrast number 1: Praying contrasted with fainting (v. 1). If we don't pray, we will faint; it's as simple as that! The word faint describes a believer who loses heart and gets so discouraged that he or she wants to quit. I can recall a couple of occasions when I physically fainted. It is the most helpless feeling I have ever experienced. I felt myself going, but I couldn't seem to do a thing about it!.
There is a connection between what our Lord said in Luke chapter 18 verse 1 and His statement in chapter 17 verse 37.