Is there a particular prayer that there is a great need to receive an answer for in your life, whether it be the spiritual enlightenment of a loved one or a physical need or desire in your own life? Then the order of the day or week or year, whatever it takes, is appropriate and one is instructed in Scripture to be persistent in prayer until either an answer is received or the Lord says clearly and without question, “No”. And when we consider that of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prayers that were answered in the Bible and the very few, a handful, that were not (for a very specific and unique reason) should we, like Abraham, not even consider the possibility that He will not answer. It is true that there are conditions for answered prayer. We must be obedient, we must desire His will above our own, we must not ask outside His will (not ask amiss), and we must believe that He will answer,not just that He could if He wanted to.

There are clear and dramatic examples of persistent prayer in Scripture. There is the story in Luke chapter 1 of the widow that continually troubled the unjust judge until he finally granted her wish. There is the case of the Syrophenician woman in Mark chapter 7 who was relentless in approaching Jesus until finally He said to her, “Be it unto thee even as thou wilt”. And there is the account of a man in Luke chapter 11 who, time after time, requested loaves of bread from a friend only to be turned down at first. But he presses on and finally sheer importunity succeeds.

The time, during which we wait for an answer, is the substance of the Christian life. Receiving the answer is merely the shadow. While we wait, and the reason it sometimes takes so long, is that the Lord prepares us spiritually and emotionally in order that we may receive the answer, appreciate it and not consume it on our own lusts. On the other hand, from His standpoint, He is preparing someone or circumstances that would facilitate receiving the answer. Either way, the Lord works on our behalf and does not delay any longer than necessary. We are most often the limiting factor! The conclusion of this matter is that we should use the time of waiting to examine ourselves and strive to conform to the will of God in every area of our life.

Two things of note here; It is the Lord’s way to answer and bless the parishioner “far beyond his asking” and that is also a reason for the delay. We are simply not prepared for all that the Lord has for us and that takes time. And second, many times we see those who after a short time, because of their weak faith, feel they must make excuses for the Lord not answering, and they will say, “Well the Lord answered by giving something different or better even though He didn’t answer the way that I asked”. That is simply a lack of faith, the Lord does not give anything other than what you asked for. Jesus said, “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?”. Answers to prayer are the measuring stick of our relationship to the lord and we simply must come to believe that He will answer as he causes us to grow in that faith.

Pray, Pray the old time way,
To reach the saints high ground;
Pray, Pray, the prayer of faith
Will bring God’s blessings down. (Pray, Pray in the Old Time Way)

Posted on February 20th, 2014