Persistent in Prayer
I woke up the other day with an ongoing desire on the forefront of my mind. You know--the one that becomes a prayer request and soon consumes your thoughts as you wake up and fall asleep. Sometimes our prayers are intense for a short season and then an answer comes. Sometimes they linger for months and even years. This particular prayer is the later type. It has been on my mind and heart to varying degrees for years now. Sometimes I read deeply into God’s Word searching for the way to pull an answer into existence. Sometimes I turn to “self-help” books to see what kinds of tips and tricks will help to get me “there”. Sometimes I try to carry the burden myself feeling like “I’m the only one”. At other times I’ve reached out to God-fearing friends and mentors for encouragement and prayer. Sometimes I write off the desire as an unreasonable expectation or something I should just not worry about. So, I get busy and forget about it…almost.
In the Gospels Jesus never provides a simple answer to the question, “Why are prayers not always answered?” What He does provide is encouragement to be persistent saying,
“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. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” - Matthew 7:7-11
It’s right there in red letters that if we ask, we will receive! Similar words are used in Luke 11 right after Jesus teaches the disciples to pray. He admonishes his disciples with an example,
“…Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” - Luke 11: 5-8
It can be embarrassing to put yourself out like that – to be an inconvenience for anyone especially God, but Jesus encourages us to ask. Don’t stop asking. God knows your desires. He is a good parent with unlimited resources, and we can trust Him to give us good things.
So, in the car on the way to work that day, I prayed to God in faith knowing that He cares about my every need and desire. God is continuing to work for good in my life. Nothing changed in the natural that particular day, but when my head hit the pillow that night my burden was a bit lighter and my hope a bit stronger. God will do that for you too. Keep on asking! Keep on seeking! Keep on knocking! Your loving heavenly Father hears you and has your answer. More than anything God wants a relationship with you – keep trusting him.