I read this from Luke 18 this morning, and it continues some thoughts from prayer meeting last night:
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
This is meant to emphasize the idea that just because we’ve prayed once, we should not give up. I’ve believed for a long time that prayer is more about what it does in us than what it gets for us. What does it do? It places us in a position of dependence. It coaxes our hearts, dusty from this earthly journey, to communicate with God. It makes us put the burdens of our hearts into words. It clarifies our thinking, especially when we pray aloud. It reminds us of why we exist: “To glory God, and enjoy Him forever.”
On the basis of these things, do you believe that God is ever “bothered” by your prayers? No. Every word is precious fellowship to Him. He is working in us through it. Because He never wastes time.
We looked at the woman in Mark 5 last night at prayer meeting…the woman with the issue of blood, who had been to scores of doctors and was only worse and penniless for her efforts. In a throng of people, she reached forth a desperate hand to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. Because she believed the touch had healing power? I don’t know. The fact is, she reached. Perhaps if only to discover whether this hope in Jesus of Nazareth was tangible. Was it true? Was He real? Or was it only a vision, a rumor, a figment of someone’s overactive imagination? She had to know.
And, in that mass of pressing people, He knew she was there. Jesus is fully God. He did not miss the fact that in the midst of all the commotion, a humble, hopeful heart was straining toward Him to “touch but His clothes.”
I understand this lady. For over a decade we’ve been to this doctor, that doctor, this nutritionist, that web site. Blood tests, prescriptions, therapy, supplements, lots of tears and lots of prayer. No answers.
Was that time wasted? It was not. With every disappointment, after the initial let down, the ember of hope in my heart would begin to rekindle. All the dependence, affirmation of my own weakness, understanding the majesty, patience, mercy, grace, and purposefulness of God would fan into flame again. On the watch for the day of deliverance. Reconciled that if this condition needed to be my “thorn in the flesh” to “keep my body under”…that was okay, because I trusted Him. Finally, in 2013, after nearly 15 years, we found an answer by His grace. Because I was persistent? Perhaps that is part. Because He is good? Yes, mainly. I’m convinced of that.
Keep reaching. Put out your hand again. Stay hopeful. Be still.
Don’t stop reaching. Because He is there. He is keenly aware of you, too.