Luke 18 tells the story of a whiny, annoying, tattletale. The woman is seeking justice so I assume she recounts her entire story including names and locations with grisly details abounding.
This, of course, is from the point of view of the ruler who had to hear her testimony day after day. Because the scriptures tell us she kept coming back, we can assume he told her, “no”, more than once.
After all, he did not care what she, or even God, thought about his ruling decisions. But something happened. An M. Night Shyamalan style plot twist occurred. The ruler grew tired of the repetition. He thought, ‘can I afford more enemies’? And for the most selfish reasons afforded to him, he chose to answer her plea…. eventually.
You don’t have to ponder for long what the moral is here. The Bible follows with it bluntly. If an evil, selfish ruler will grant your requests, how much more so would a loving Father? And if you combine this scripture with my very favorite, “Pray without ceasing.” You get a pretty good picture of what prayer life is supposed to look like.
Don’t stop praying. God does not tire of the monotony. He has an entirely different perspective than that. His children are sharing with Him what is most important to them. Those who have children will understand that its in our nature to jump from one fad to the next. So when the kids break down the door after a long school day and shout out their most current, favorite thing in the world… veteran moms and dads will wait it out and see just how precious this new interest is. Sometimes it lasts only a day. Some can be interested for a few weeks before tossing it out for the next big thing.
Praying for the same thing every day lets God know where you are vested. It’s a conversation with your Father. He doesn’t answer out of frustration, or even pity. When He answers a prayer, its out of love. I imagine the dialogue is not like that of the evil ruler who gave in selfishly to protect his own time and interests. I believe its more like:
‘You have wanted this for a long time. You have shown to be faithful. It pleases me to do this for you’.
Many will point out that God does not need our prayers to do His will. Some will argue our prayers are ineffective against the plans of our Lord. While I feel that contradicts scriptures in several ways, perhaps its better to try and look at it a different way.
Suppose we decide to go skydiving today. When we jump out of the plane, our abilities really have nothing to do with the experience. In fact, anyone can go skydiving. The plane takes us up to a height that allows the jump, and the parachute allows us to safely return to the ground. So when we say, “I’m going skydiving!”, we are really just taking a ride. The true power is everywhere but within us.
Even as it is, we still have to make the choice to skydive. We still have to get ready that day and get to and on the plane. Most importantly… we have to be willing to and decide to jump. Those are our actions even if we need the plane and the chute to make everything else happen.
And if we choose not to jump… perhaps someone else will. But they will be the ones in the embrace of the chute. They will be the ones climbing into the warmth of the sky. They will be the ones experiencing the presence of adventure. We will have missed out on the whole experience. Perhaps the parachute opens anyway? But its a chute meant for everyone… and only a few chose it.
When we pray, the power comes from God, but we have to act out some faith and time on our end. God designed prayer for us to be along for the ride. So it can take us to wonderful places and allow us to experience fantastic things. Will the world keep moving without us asking God for it to? Most likely. But, He desires our communion with Him. And He has proven on more than one occasion to alter His plans for those that love Him and pray accordingly.
Never stop praying. Pray for miracles. Pray for healing. Pray for rain. Pray for insight. Pray for tacos. God desires to hear from you… and every single day at that. Is your aunt still sick? Pray again. Still? Pray again. This isn’t questioning God, His will or His power. It’s communicating your constant desires to your creator. My cats tell me every single day they are hungry in the morning, lonely in the afternoon, and frisky in the evening. Without fail, they make their case known plainly. Does it bother me? Not at all, I’m happy they know I’m the one to come to for such things.
Now imagine a loving, daddy anxious to hear what is on your heart. Even if He’s heard it a million times… He wants to hear it once more, every day, as long as that is what consumes your heart. Someone you know need prayer? Stop your world and pray for them. Pray the way God created you and prayer to work together. Never ceasing, never withholding, always giving God the glory, faithfully that He intends to use that power as He promised, when you ask.