WHEN PRAYER DOESN’T BRING RELIEF
Hear me, LORD, my plea is just; listen to my cry. Hear my prayer-- it does not rise from deceitful lips. Psalm 17:1
Prayer can be confusing. I know that I'm asking for good things. Even noble things. I assume that these will be the kind God loves to answer quickly and with a 'yes'. Then, there's nothing. The heavens appear to be shut. These are the mysteries of prayer that are the hardest for God’s children to understand. If my prayers are God-honoring, why wouldn’t God love to say 'yes'?
- Praying for God to reach a prodigal child.
- Praying for an unsaved loved one to come to faith.
- Praying for ministry expansion for the sake of the Gospel.
- Praying for the healing of a disease for God’s glory.
It is my experience that God says ‘no’, or ‘wait’, for many reasons. Perhaps I need to be changed as I wait on God for that long-awaited answer. I will learn endurance. I will be challenged to become a secure child of God who prays persistently without becoming bitter. Jesus was clear about the nature of persistent prayer when he told the parable of the widow who kept asking and asking for what she wanted. The point of the story in His own words (in Luke 18) was this ~ “Ask and don’t give up.” This kind of childlike trust believes that God’s heart is ‘for’ me while I keep asking.
There are things I pray for this morning, ongoing requests that are deeply heartfelt, concerns that easily keep me up at night. I pray for His deliverance and while there are glimmers of it now and then, the mighty hand of God has not moved yet. I keep asking, tearfully, while checking my heart and the status of my relationship with God. Am I angry He hasn’t answered yet? Do I feel entitled, by my ‘performance’, to a quicker answer? Do I begin to question what kind of Father withholds the answer when the pain threshold is high? Being honest on my knees and working out my feeble faith with prayer and the Word is a necessity. Otherwise, my faith can deteriorate under my limited perspective.
I wait. I trust without sharp words on my tongue. I raise open hands to you instead of a fist. In Jesus name, Amen