Think about a request you would like to make of God, but before you do, decide how this request will benefit God. Will this request build up the Kingdom, will it have eternal consequences? Those are questions I have been pondering upon for some time now, and has challenged me to think about what I ask of God.
Am I engaged in persistent, persevering and powerful prayer? Praying so that I continually come before the Lord in earnest, humble prayer, and then expecting that God will hear and answer according to His perfect will.
Am I bold in prayer? Do I keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking (Luke 11: 9), never give up (Luke 18: 4-5), keep pleading (Genesis 18: 16-33)? The thing about praying is that we live in a world that is all about immediate gratification. We can microwave something to eat in two minutes, we can email, text, and surf the web in a millisecond. If it doesn’t happen immediately, we become frustrated and if it doesn’t happen according to our fast-paced timetable we give up and move on to something else that will gratify us quicker. Prayer is not like that.
Remember that request I asked you to think about? If you are requesting something of God and you are expecting Him to answer immediately, chances are you’re going to be disappointed. Certainly God has answered prayers instantaneously, sometimes even before they were asked, but more often than not, God takes His time; He works on a different timetable than ours. His timing is perfect so it may take years and years and years for Him to answer your prayer. If that is the case, and you’ve been waiting a long time, have you given up? Have you stopped praying?
I am guilty of giving up when God has taken too much time to answer my prayer. Another thing I’m guilty of is not praying big enough. I limit God by the way I pray. It shows my unbelief that He can’t or won’t answer my prayers. If you don’t pray big, you can’t expect God to answer big!
It is important, too that when we pray that our joy and thankfulness to God not fluctuate with our circumstances, our needs or our feelings. We are to rejoice, give thanks and continue to persevere in prayer. Although we may not always understand it, perseverance may bring about unexpected blessings.
“”Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
God hears us when we pray: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) It is important to note that we must ask in line with His will. People often pray for things that they want instead of what God desires for us. He wants only what is best for us so check that you are praying according to His will not your will.
It gives me great encouragement when I look to John Wesley as an example.
John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher, encountered many times of refusal, and denial, during his early years in the ministry. He logged a few of these instances in his diary:
Sunday, A.M., May 5 Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5 Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday, A.M., May 12 Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19 Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19 Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26 Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2 Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2 Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.
Persistence pays off !