Keep on Prayin'!
The reality is that praying for something and waiting for answers is really hard work. It rarely feels as kumbaya as I like to make it sound.
Waiting for God to answer our prayers takes blood, sweat, and tears. Well ... maybe not actual blood (that would be weird), but sweat and tears are certainly required. It takes work to persevere in prayer. It requires effort to continue to pray day after day and determination to continue to believe that God will keep His promises to work on our behalf. Tears may even well up in our eyes and our hearts if day after day, week after week, year after year we go to God with the same need and cannot see His hand working.
We don't like waiting. It makes us squirm. It makes us feel abandoned. Sometimes it makes us throw fits. But while we are busy with that busyness, God is still working, asking us to keep praying.
Romans 12:11–12 says, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." First Thessalonians 5:17 simply asks us to "pray continually." In other words, "Keep on prayin'!"
Nothing inspires me to keep on prayin' quite like the story found in Daniel 10. Daniel was praying for a resolution to "a great war" (Dan. 10:1). My headaches weren't a "great war" by some people's standards, but they sure were to me. That difficult friendship, big question about your future, or sin you can't seem to break free from probably feels like a great war to you, too.
Daniel prayed about his great war and then he heard crickets. Nothing. Nada. No answer came. I wonder if Daniel was tempted to stop praying? Do you think he wanted to take care of things on his own instead of waiting on God? Maybe. But then an angel (as in an actual glowing, talking angel) showed up with this news.
"Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come" (Dan. 10:12–14, emphasis added).
Since the first day ... your words were heard.
God answered Daniel's prayers all right, but a battle fought in the spiritual realm kept that answer from arriving as soon as Daniel may have wanted.
What if the answers to your prayers are on the way but you've given up and stopped watching to see how God will move? What if instead of being faithful in prayer you're being impatient in prayer and missing out on a chance to see God work? What if instead of keepin' on in the prayer department your habit of giving up is revealing more about your weak faith than God's strong power?
I'm preaching to the choir here. I am tempted to give up on prayer ... and give up on God far too easily.
Which brings me back to those headaches. God didn't zap my brain and give me instant relief. That was what I was praying for. But He did give me peace when I prayed. He got me through tough days when I couldn't have made it on my own. He helped me find a doctor who knew what to do. He reminded me that He is always, always, always in control. Those were answers I didn't expect and I would have missed if I had stopped praying.
Is there something you're tempted to stop praying about? Have you asked God to intervene and seem to be hearing crickets on the other end? I've been there, but I am learning to measure God's power by His promises instead of what I can see with my two little eyes.
Wanna join me? Let's keep on prayin'!
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