Have you ever prayed about the same situation for so long that you just accepted things the way they are? Oh sure, you may continue to pray for that thing, but deep down inside, you don’t really expect anything to change. Maybe you’ve prayed for someone’s relationship with the Lord, but they seem further from Him than ever. Maybe you’ve been praying for new life in your church or for revival in our nation. Let me encourage you today to not give up.
In Luke chapter eight, Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow.
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1, NIV).
He went on to describe a widow who goes to a judge seeking justice. The judge doesn’t fear God or care about the widow or care about justice, but because the widow continues to plea with him, he grants her request. Then Jesus said this:
“Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:6-8).
You see, according to Jesus, the problem is not that God doesn’t hear or doesn’t want to answer our prayers. The problem seems to be our lack of faith. Now, if you are like me, you may be thinking, “I believe, but God doesn’t answer.”
I used to think that, too. But then the Lord made me aware of my speech. I am praying for one thing and speaking another. Does that not show a lack of faith? For instance, if am truly believing God to work in someone’s life, then I shouldn’t be constantly commenting on the things in his life that are contrary to what I am praying. If I am praying for a move of God in my church, then I shouldn’t be complaining over the things that are not moving. If I’m truly believing God to bring revival in our nation, then I need to stop talking about all the negative things that I see happening.
Does that mean I shouldn’t be a realist and call it like it is? No. But my mouth reflects my heart.
“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
If my mouth is speaking contrary to my prayers, what does that reveal about my faith and my persistence?
I recently read this quote from Billy Graham:
“How little perseverance and persistence and pleading we show. Some time ago the newspapers told of a man in Washington who spent 17 years securing favorable action on a claim of $81,000 against the government. Yet many people will not pray for 17 minutes for the welfare of their own immortal souls or the salvation of other people.”
If you have been praying for breakthrough in some area and have still not seen an answer, let me encourage you to not give up. Here are some steps you can take to persist in prayer.
Be sure that you are quick to repent of any sin in your life.
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18).
Seek to pray in accordance with God’s will.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).
So, how do we know what is God’s will? The more time we spend with the Lord and in His Word, the more we will know how to pray in accord with His will. If it will bring God glory, then we are asking rightly.
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father” (John 14:13).
God is glorified when others are saved, when lives are changed, when relationships are restored, when revival breaks out. So continue to press in and believe God for those things that bring Him glory and don’t give up. Even when things seem the darkest, that is when God gets the most glory. Guard you lips and let your words begin to line up with what you are believing God to do.
And most all, find Scriptures that you can pray over your situation. Not only will that help to build your faith, but you will be praying in step with God’s plans and purposes.
Have you been praying but not seeing much change? Press in and press on. Your answer might be right around the bend.
Need more encouragement in seeking a breakthrough? Read my series here on the 5 Keys to Breakthrough.