Continue in Prayer

“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

We live in an “instant results” world. Years ago, a couple might purchase some furniture in a local store, but have to wait weeks before it got delivered from some faraway warehouse. Today companies rise or fall based on their ability to deliver goods or services at lightning speed. We want instant gratification, and will turn elsewhere if we cannot get it.

But God does not act on our timetable. The verse above indicates some waiting will be involved with our praying. Many parents have prayed for straying children for years, often in anguish, only to give up out of despair. What if they had continued? Often those who continue in prayer see a greater harvest. One old writer remarked, “Ships out to sea the longest come back with the greatest cargo.”

Why should we continue in prayer?

1. God commanded it.
Verses like these remind us we will not always see an immediate return on the time spent in prayer. Nevertheless He commands us to continue faithfully and to wait patiently for God’s response (see Psalm 37:7). God never commands something not in our best interests.

2. We need to trust in God’s timing.
Sometimes we cry out, “How long, Lord, until you answer me?” Such a prayer of anguish is not unlike some biblical cries:

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1).

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2).

Such cries can demonstrate true faith in God’s power to save. But we need to persevere in order to receive the blessing.

3. God often reserves the biggest blessings until last.
Praying for people can prove discouraging work, but many will discover great blessings in the end. Job suffered greatly and at times voiced exasperation. But notice the outcome of his ordeal:

“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).

Faithful praying eyes the greatness of God to answer, not man-made timetables. God will answer in His own time, but delights in His children who faithfully continue in prayer.

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