Luke 18:1-8 NIV “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
There are a number of reasons why I invest the time and effort into blogging but one of them is to remind myself of the truths of God’s Word and the lessons I have learned and those lessons that I still need to be reminded of. This is one of those lessons.
There are many scripture passages that expound upon the benefits of being persistent in prayer. But prayer is not always simplistic, sometimes it can be complex, not the actual praying process itself but what we are specifically praying for and why we are asking something of God. Sometimes we simply need God’s guidance, sometimes we need Him to open our own eyes and hearts because of things that we have done and the possible harm that may have been caused. Sometimes we know what needs to be fixed but we simply don’t know how to fix it. And sometimes we think we know what needs to be fixed and our misconception is actually part of the problem. Sometimes things can get real complicated and we just need God to sort the whole thing out for us. And sometimes the sorting things out includes us. God never puts bandaids on things that need fixing. If there is something that needs healing, true healing, especially in relationships, He goes to the root of the problem. Sometimes where we think the problem lies and where it actually lies are not one and the same place or person.
Yet God’s Word tells us to be persistent, to keep the prayers coming so to speak. Have you ever wondered why God asks us to be persistent? Why He asks us to keep asking for something, time and time again? Didn’t He hear the first time we asked Him? If He heard us, why do we need to keep asking for the same thing?
The thing is, if we are at one with God, He does hear us the first time. We also know that our prayers can be hindered because of unconfessed sin so it is always prudent and necessary to be totally honest with God, when coming before His throne of grace, to search our own hearts and minds so that nothing stands in the way of hindering our prayers. He’s not hard of hearing, He doesn’t forget and need to be reminded of what we have asked for. Like so many things in the Christian walk, learning how to pray and what to expect from prayer, is a process, a process where we learn more about ourselves and more about our Creator and our relationship with Him.
Persistence is for us, not for Him.
I don’t like waiting for answers. I like immediate solutions. When I ask for God’s help I am over joyed when He answers me right away. I’ve seen that happen a number of times, but not very often, darn seldom actually. Like everything that we learn about in our relationship with God, there is a need to learn that we really need to be before Him, seeking His presence, seeking His guidance and most importantly, learning to trust in His wisdom, over our own. Being in communion with God isn’t like having a voice recorder where you pick it up when you need it, enter your voice reminder and then put it down again. Communion with God including prayer doesn’t work that way, never has, never will. Usually we come to Him because we have a need, He responds to us in the manner that He does because He wants us, not part of us, He wants all of us. Prayer is too often utilized like a Support Centre, you only make use of the support when you really need support. The thing is, He already knows what we need, He already knows more about us than we know ourselves, the learning isn’t on His part, it’s on our part. We come to Him in our time of need, but God looks at the bigger picture. He knows we have a problem, put the real problem isn’t usually the problem that we’re coming to Him with, the real problem is that we haven’t come to the realization that we need Him, all of the time, not just some of the time, when infrequently we run into something that we can’t in and of ourselves handle.
Too often we can’t see the forest because our focus is on the trees.
We too often miss the bigger picture. This happens a lot in relationships. In our relationship with God and also in our relationships with those that we love. That argument that we had, on who was right and who was wrong (how did we learn what we now know ). In that choice by a youth that was made that was not a good choice (how do we all learn). In that mistake that was made and how short sighted they were. Really ….. who is it that is too often really being short sighted? And we’re the mature Christians.
And when we begin to see where the fault truly lies, where the short sightedness is even more persuasive, what does it do? It should remind us of the mercy that we have received, of the patience we have experienced, it should remind us of the forgiveness that we have been given and it should confirm within us that our source of grace, our God, is the ultimate answer to all of our shortfalls, even today, even now, this very minute.
Learning these realities isn’t always fun. A lot of what we ask from God in prayer takes time, not because God can’t immediately give us the answer, but mainly because we are slow to learn and it takes time for God to bring us to the place where His answer can be understood and comprehended, by us. And I, am just as guilty of shortsightedness as anyone. This is a lesson that I apparently need to learn over and over again.
Psalm 30:5 NIV
” For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favour lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Hebrews 12:11 NIV “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Heavenly Father, forgive me for looking from my perspective and not yours.
Forgive me for not loving as you love, placing myself above others where I ought not to be.
Forgive me for forgetting the mercy, forgiveness, patience and grace that I have received and not extending it to others, especially to those whom I love.
Forgive me for my shortsightedness and heal any hurt that I have caused.
You alone are Holy and I have a long way to go.
You alone are my hope, my Redeemer, the restorer of all things that are good.
I praise you and I worship you Dear Lord, my trust is in you.
I ask these things Heavenly Father, in the name of Your precious Son, Jesus.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!