Praying over a long period of time without seeing an answer can be discouraging. We have all been there. Yet Jesus, again and again, tells us to always pray, and not give up. He was well aware how easily we get discouraged. This is why he warns us, not to give in to our flesh, but to continue praying. So, have we fallen into the trap of giving into our flesh and given up praying?
Psalm 91 is frequently prayed in times of danger. But it opens with a very clear condition: “Whoever dwells in the secret place of the Most High”. Psalm 91:1 makes it perfectly clear that not everyone “will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Not every believer, but only those who dwell in God’s secret place.
In the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus teaches us that prayer is not just a one-off matter. Although he encourages us that our heavenly Father will hear our prayer, he also leaves no doubt that we may need to pray repeatedly and persistently until we receive our answer. If you have been praying for someone or something and are still waiting for God to answer, this is for you. Do not lose heart, do not be discouraged! Persist just as the widow persisted!
One of the greatest discoveries a believer can make is the wonderful truth that God is our Father and we are his children. But we shouldn’t stop here. Understanding our identity as God’s children is no end in itself. It is the starting point of our relationship with the Father. And as every relationship works in two ways, this is the case also in our relationship with God. But what do we bring to that Father-child relationship? What does God, our Father, expect from us?
What is the purpose of having faith when we feel the wind blowing in our sails? When we see the sun shining on us, and we find goodness and blessings along our way? Isn’t rather that faith when we have no reason to believe? When we actually cannot see “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”?
We are so tuned to be active, get things done, work our to-do list, that we have become incapable to unwind and be calm. Yet in being calm in God's presence can be the source of the strength we need for our daily life.
If waiting on the LORD renews our strength, then why on earth do we keep running ahead of Him? We cannot stand unanswered prayer for too long, and since we like being in control, we take matters into our own hands. Maybe we give it a religious labelling (“I’m stepping out in faith”); while really we are fed up with waiting on God and try to push Him to start moving.
Handling tough situations God's way does not leave room for human wisdom, but requires a heart fully commited to God.
Only if we are kind to those who treat us unjustly, with contempt, take advantage of us, betray us, gossip and spread lies about us, only then will we truly reflect our dear Father in Heaven.
Is Jesus our First Love? How earnestly are we seeking him, how deep is our desire after him? Like the bride in the Song of Solomon, we need to pursue him and his presence relentlessly.