Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2 ESV)
Scripture is full of passages showing persistence in prayer. For example, the story of the persistence widow in Luke’s Gospel.
The judge didn’t grant the widow’s wishes because he truly believed in her request but simply because he was tired of her asking. And yet, God never gets tired with us. He never gets bothered.
We can be this persistent with God and be comforted he will never get annoyed. No changing the subject, no rolling of eyes, no exasperating. God wants us to come to him— over and over and over again. Those moments of unanswered prayer—in the proper circumstance—should prompt you to keep praying for it until you can’t pray anymore. Don’t lose hope, never give up. There’s no such thing as going to God too many times. God still works even through unanswered prayer. When God tells us no, it’s less about why he did and more about how we respond. Will we want to know the reason he said no? Absolutely. And don’t be afraid to ask that.
The late J.I. Packer said this:
Perhaps he means to strengthen us in patience, good humor, compassion, humility or meekness . . . Perhaps he has new lessons in self-denial and self-distrust to teach us. Perhaps he wishes to break us of complacency or undetected forms of pride and con- ceit. Perhaps His purpose is simply to draw us closer to himself . . . Or perhaps God is preparing us for forms of service of which at present we have no inkling.
If we truly trust the Lord, however, then we don’t need to know why. We trust him—and that’s enough. What we do know is God wants us to feel free to come to him—anytime, any place, anywhere. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the 500th time you’ve prayed for it. He wants your heart. He desires your affection, your trust, your confidence in him. So though your parents may have gotten annoyed with you or you get annoyed with your children, Scripture is clear that we cannot annoy our Heavenly Father. Therefore, go to him. Repeatedly. Non-stop. Without end. Ask, request, plead—he wants to hear from you!
There is another component to this we need to understand. Satan plays a role. He is crafty (Gen. 3:1) and wants you to believe you are annoying God. He wants to put it in your mind that you are driving God crazy, that all God wants to do is cover his ears when you pray. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s not as if God has had enough and he’s just dealing with your constant groaning, your annoying neediness. No, he’s listening. He’s not covering his ears, but leaning in closer. Don’t believe Satan’s lies. Keep going to the Lord.
This devotional was taken from a small excerpt of my new book Taking No for an Answer: How to When God Says No to Our Prayers.
One Comment Add yours
Excellent! Bookmarked for constant reference. God is not weak like us; when we put our human frailties of impatience on His character, we are so wrong.
Thank you for this encouragement!