Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
We wait because believe that God loves us and that He keeps His promises .
Psalms 145:13 NLT For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations. The Lord always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does.
While we wait God may be working to put things in place for the perfect time. I’ve written that waiting teaches us patience which will end in perfection.
James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
However, when you've been praying and waiting for something for years and no answer there come times when your faith starts to falter. Yes, know that God will either answer yes or no. You also know that He may still have you to wait. It’s at these times, and I’m going through one of those times now, that you must rely on the Holy Spirit to encourage you to be patient.
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
I’ve written that I we should persevere in prayer like the woman in Jesus’ parable about the widow and the judge.
Luke 18:1-8 NLT One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?”
Or the man asking for bread so that he could feed a visiting friend.
Luke 11:5-13 NLT Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
Jesus was persistent in prayer
Matthew 26:36-44 NLT Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again.
We have all been there where we feel as if we are praying for the same situation or the same people over and over. Does the Lord hear my prayers? Is He getting tired of me? Should I just quit praying about this? We can have many questions when there are no apparent answers, but we can also find great comfort and understanding within the Bible itself. Am I bugging God when I continue to pray about the same thing?
Sometimes we might believe that the Lord is too busy to worry with our concerns.
Matthew 15:21-23 says, “Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came to Him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! A demon miserably possesses my daughter.’ But Jesus did not answer a word. So His disciples came and urged Him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’”
It is true that Jesus was in a solitary place, however He is sovereign and intentionally went to this place knowing that this Gentile woman would be there. The woman did not have a small issue – her daa demon possessed her daughterine the continuous, daily agony that this girl and her mother were in. They lived in a state of shame, uncertainty, and fear. This woman knew that Jesus was her only hope for her daughter to be healed so she sought after Him.
Notice that Jesus did not answer her at her first request. Sometimes the Lord is quiet on a matter. He is not a “mystical genie” who must respond in our time and in our way. He is in fact the opposite; He is the King of the world. He is the One who knows when to act and when to be still. Although the silence or the answer of “wait” in our own lives is challenging, Jesus models that He is not required to give an answer or respond immediately. This is not without purpose though. He did not respond for a reason.
The disciples suggested to send her away because of her continuous cries, but Jesus makes it clear that is not His intent. He was not wanting to push away the woman in her pain. Oftentimes when we do not hear a response, we can believe the lie that God does not want us to come to Him. This is the opposite. Jesus didn’t go anywhere; He sat with the woman and welcomed her tears. Jesus valued this woman and her pain and was always there for her in it, whether He responded or not.
When We Feel Humbled
Matthew 15:26-27 says, “The woman came and knelt before Him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said. But Jesus replied, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’ ‘Yes, Lord,” she said, ‘even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.’”
At first glance, these are confusing verses. Matthew Henry shares from his commentary, “The state of this woman is an emblem of the state of a sinner, deeply conscious of the misery of his soul. The least of Christ is precious to a believer, even the very crumbs of the Bread of life.”
The posture of this woman was humility. We can easily be humbled by the circumstances that we are in. This woman knew that apart for Christ, she was hopeless. She pleaded with Him. She would be willing to take a crumb of what Jesus had to offer because it would be better than what anyone else could give.
In continuous prayer, we draw near to God in a special way. We grow to understand that He is our greatest need. We learn to have a posture of trust and humility. The Lord often uses these times of waiting and asking multiple times to do something greater within our hearts. He cultivates a patient reliance on Him and reminds us that He is worth more than our trials.
When Persistence Is Blessed
Whether or not in the end God says, “Yes” to our prayer request, we can see clearly that persistence is blessed.
Matthew 15:28 says, “‘O woman,’ Jesus answered, ‘your faith is great! Let it be done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
After not giving up asking and seeking the Savior, Jesus finally healed this woman’s daughter. Her desperation and her persistence is not dishonored, in fact it is welcomed and encouraged. No matter what the outcome, we are invited to come to God in prayer.
Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Again, this is not a guarantee that we get what we want in the end. If someone asks for a Ferrari every day, their persistence is there, but it doesn’t line up with the Father’s will. 1 John 5:14 makes this clear, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (emphasis added).
So yes, we are persistent in prayer, but as we pray, we also need to ask the Holy Spirit to expose our hearts and examine our motives. We need to surrender ultimately to the Lord.
Are we bugging God when we pray about the same thing? No. He loves for his children to talk with Him. Jesus welcomes us to pray to Him. He encourages us to ask Him. He reveals that He will not always answer on our ideal time frames, but He is with us always. If our requests are drawing us closer to God that honor Him, may we keep asking unashamedly and bring our humble prayers to Him.