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Persevering prayer

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up 

Luke 18:1

I want it all, I want it all now, is the mantra endemic of the 21st century. We are a generation that doesn’t understand slow progress and delayed results. When we want something, we want it now,  no questions asked. Some have even called us the microwave generation.

One of the ways that this attitude comes through in everyday life, is how we as christians can treat prayer and communion with God. Prayer for many people even well-meaning Christians can be seen as a matter of demand and supply. We demand and God supplies and we treat communion with God like we do our take away delivery services, It must deliver now or else. 

Often times God subverts our worldly attitudes around prayer by not giving us what we want, when we want it. It’s not so much that God says no to our requests or is inconsiderate of our needs but often times God delays granting us what we want so that we can persevere in prayer.

By this God means for us to be continuous in supplication and trust and to grow in our faith.

We are so used to instant everything, instant coffee, instant noodles, we even have instant pap but sometimes prayer doesn’t provide the instant solution or instant relief that we seek. However that does not mean that we should give up on God or on prayer, rather if our prayers are centred on God’s word and our understanding of who he is then our response to delayed results should be to press in deeper and deeper into prayer. Unanswered prayer and delayed results are often God’s means to draw us into deeper communion with himself. 

This is so counter cultural because our normal response to delayed answers is to take matters into our own hands and to try fix whatever situation we find ourselves in, in our own way rather than allowing God to work it out for us in his own time and in the best way. God’s answers are filtered through infinite wisdom and love. Therefore what we perceive as delay or denial may be God weaving together what’s best for us through shaping us to receive it in his perfect timing. God’s no is as much a blessing as God’s yes. 

Persevering in prayer works in us a deeper faith and trust in God, and most importantly the Spiritual fruit of patience as we wait upon the Lord. This is a constant refrain we find in the scripture as we often read the words “Those who wait upon the Lord”. One of the major misconceptions in the church today is that faith is some kind of magic trick or that when exercised it will produce instant results but true faith is seen when an answer is not quickly forthcoming. True faith is seen when we never tire in entering into the presence of God, giving him no rest until we see his promises come to pass. True faith perseveres even when the answer is No because it trusts in the love and sovereignty of God and that through his infinite wisdom he knows what’s best for us and will not deprive us of the good things we need.