Last night I was up in the night praying a particular prayer that I have prayed for a long time. My part of the dialogue between me and Lord went something like this…
“PU-LEEEEZE….please, please, please, Lord. I am asking for a miracle here. I know that you can accomplish this – so would you say yes? Come on….please??? I know…I have asked and asked and asked. And I am asking You once again with every breath in me…please answer this prayer of my heart.”
I begged. Yep. I begged and pleaded to the point that I found myself wondering if it’s possible that I had crossed the line from trusting that God’s will would be done and demanding that my will be done. Is it appropriate to keep praying for the same thing over and over and over? At some point should I accept that the answer is simply – no?
I pulled out my trusty Bible and did some research. There are numerous scriptures that encourage us to be persistent in prayer.
There is a great story found in Mark 10:46-52 about a blind guy named Bartimaeus who regularly sat outside of Jericho begging for food and money. One day when Bartimaeus was sitting along the road, he heard the people around him say that Jesus was walking right in front of him. He seized the opportunity and cried out to Jesus saying, “Son of David, have mercy on me.”
The people sssshhhusshed him and told him to be quiet but he persisted and shouted louder.
When Jesus heard Bartimaeus he immediately stopped and called for him to come towards Him. Bartimaeus jumped to his feet and walked towards Jesus. The Lord looked right at him and asked –
“What do you want me to do for you?”
That one line in scripture is BIG. It was big for Bartimaeus and it’s big for you and me. Jesus asks us the the very same question, “What do you want me to do for you?”
How would you answer that question? What is keeping you up at night? Nagging at you? Disturbing you? Overwhelming you? What is stealing your peace? What would bring you relief? What would bring you great joy?
Tell Jesus what you want. Be bold and specific.
When you are deeply distressed it means you are unable to handle it by yourself. As long as it is nagging, hurting, disturbing, or if it steals your joy…stay in prayer until you have peace.
The Lord invites us to persist in prayer because He enjoys being with us. The more persistent we are in our petitions, the more closely we become connected with Him. When we come face to face with Jesus…that is when impossible things begin to happen.
Bartimaeus answered Jesus’ question with a simple statement. “Lord, I want to see.” And this is what happened…
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Bam! Just like that. Prayers were answered. Persistent prayer reveals that we have faith…and God is moved by our faith.
I couldn’t help but notice that once Bartimaeus’ prayer was answered he followed Jesus along the road. How often do we receive a direct answer to prayer only to continue on our merry way without Him? Bartimaeus responded by remaining close to Jesus.
So now we ask the million dollar question…. why is it that sometimes God doesn’t answer the persistent prayers of our heart?
I don’t know that answer. It’s a heavy question and even theological experts have pondered that answer. But there are a few things that I do know…
I know that God’s ways are higher than ours. I know that His love for us is unfathomable. I know that He can be trusted. I know that when the Holy Spirit resides within us our prayers are powerful and effective. I know that He is able. And I know that persistent prayer keeps us in the center of God’s will – not mine. The purpose of our life is that God would be glorified even when my will is not done.
But I also know that persistent prayer makes things that are impossible – possible.
Bring your requests before the Lord. Anytime…all of the time. Cry out to Jesus until He stops in front of you.