But the LORD said to David my father, 'Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. - 2 Chronicles 6:8
There are times when God wants us to persist in our prayers. He uses the time to do a work in our hearts and transform us into His image. He wants us to continue our prayers until He has completed that work in us. He revealing what is in our hearts, and he growing and strengthening our faith.
But sometimes He has clearly said no, and we continue to plead for a yes. When we refuse to take His no, it is an affront to our Lord. The purpose of prayer is not to conform God to our plan, but to adjust our will to His.
I walked through something like this years ago at my previous church. It was a small church, with a congregation of about 400 people. They felt like family, and the building was like a second home. We were there multiple times a week, and my husband and I served in a variety of ministries. We loved our church. I started to feel prompted to leave, but didn’t understand those promptings, so I stuffed them down. I wanted to stay where I felt comfortable, so I ignored God’s promptings for about 6 months. Finally, I mentioned those feelings to my husband, and confirmed we both had been prompted to leave. But, I didn’t want to go, so I continued to ignore the feelings that it was time to leave my church.
Things started to get tense at my church and relationships were growing more strained. I was resisting His no because I thought I knew what was best. It didn’t make any sense at the time to my husband or myself that he would be asking us to leave our church home. We had been taught that you do not leave a church, and so we had every intention of staying no matter what. But the promptings to go were undeniable. By the time we finally left the church, we had grown so distant from many in the church that it no longer felt like home. Our hearts were heavy at the change in relationships, and the way we felt pushed out of our home.
We didn’t take God’s no through that change. We continued to push for a yes, despite the fact that He was clearly telling us no. We thought we were doing what was right by staying, we were considering our wisdom and our plan superior to His. Despite the fact that both my husband and I were prompted to go multiple times during our quiet time with the Lord, we stayed at that church for almost a year longer than we should have, and we suffered for it.
Hindsight is always more clear, so it’s easy to see why God was prompting us to move. He knew the challenges in front of us at the time, and He knew the church we were in was unable to support us through the significant trials we would walk through. We needed to be in a different place, with different people guiding us, for our faith to grow in the way that it did. God knew that through our struggle to leave, yet He kept pushing that no until we conceded.
Sometimes God wants us to persist in our prayers, but sometimes He clearly says no. Refusing to take that no is offensive to God - our prayer time is not meant to get God in board with our plan, but a chance for Him to do the transforming work in our hearts that is necessary to grow us. Listen to Him in your prayer time, and be sure you’re not ignoring His no.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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