23 And Jesus said to him, "'If you can'! All things are possible for one who believes."24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" - Mark 9:23-24
Sometimes when we're praying for something for a long time, we can grow weary and tired of praying. We can get frustrated and even angry as the disciples did about why God hasn't answered the prayer yet. And we give up, figuring we've prayed enough and it must not be in God's will for anything to change there, so why keep bothering.
Our faith will stagger when we are tired. We need to remember that our timing is not God's timing - just because it's been a long-standing prayer doesn't mean it's not going to get answered. The story of the man who prayed for 52 years for the salvation of his friend is so encouraging to me when I grow weary in my prayers. 52 years of prayers, and then God answered. Until I've prayed 52 years for the same thing, I have no right to grow weary. God cares and He delivers, but sometimes He is developing perseverance and a story through us so we need to take courage as we wait.
That said, I also think when we grow tired of the same prayer over and over, or when we grow frustrated because God isn’t answering our prayer, it’s time to take a step back and look at our prayer. Plenty of those prayers are in His will and He’s developing perseverance in us, but just as many of those prayers are not.
I’ve seen people pray prayers in their marriage for their spouses to change, yet these people are blind to the way they need to change. People grow frustrated that God isn’t answering the prayer the way they want Him too - their spouse remains the same. They grow weary of waiting,
and quit the marriage, justifying the action because their spouse isn’t acting in a Godly way...when all the while, God was trying to change the pray-er’s heart. I haven’t just seen this in marriages, but in all kinds of relationships. Relationships ended because of an unwillingness for people to humble themselves, to show grace and mercy, to sacrifice and love others before ourselves - all things He calls us to do. Instead, we stand on our self-righteous platforms, expecting to be treated in a certain way, wondering why God is not answering our prayers to change the other person.
I’ve seen people pray desperately for God to remove their mental illness, or to remove it from a loved one - whether the struggle is with anxiety or depression or addiction, their constant and desperate prayer is for God to lift the burden of their thoughts. While He may, and He certainly can make the illness disappear, God more often uses those struggles to reveal a place in the heart of the pray-er that is not fully surrendered to God. Where there is deep anxiety or depression or addiction, there is unbelief. God wants you to see that unbelief so you can fully surrender your heart to Him and be free of those chains. If He was to supernaturally just take it, your heart would not be fully His.
We can get stuck on the way we want God to answer our prayer. I want God to heal my son and stop his suffering, so this has been my constant and desperate prayer lately. But God’s plan is bigger than the momentary discomfort he is is, and He may never choose to heal him - not if He can use it for His glory. As I pray, I have to continue to allow Him to work on my heart, and He will use those prayers to mold and shape me.
Prayers are meant to change the pray-er. If you’ve been praying the same prayer for a long time, and you haven’t changed as a result of that prayer, it’s time to open your heart to God and ask Him to reveal to you the work He’s trying to do in your heart. He may be teaching you to press on in your faith, trusting and believing that He deliver. He may be revealing to you a place in your heart that is not fully surrendered to Him, He may be revealing to you a sin that needs to confess or a behavior that needs to change. Whatever it is, I know that it’s for your good because He promises.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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