Luke 18:1 And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought to pray and not to lose heart.
Luke 11:8-9 I tell you, though he will not get up and give anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.
I am sure I am not the only one who wonders why God hasn’t answered some prayers. He answers, “No.” He answers, “Yes”, but many times the hardest answer is, “Wait.”
I am learning about praying, by praying. I am also looking at Scriptures dealing with that discipline as well as other books on the subject. One of the books I have read on this topic is A Praying Life by Paul Miller. Miller’s daughter Kim was born with the inability to speak. He talked about waiting by referencing his wife Jill’s prayer journal.
Notice one of her journal entries: “All of this is so hard… hard to see and still believe Jesus loves her and me and hears me beg for her continual healing. It really is faith that is at stake – the suffering is really a side issue. Just to tell Jesus what I need and leave it with Him is such a struggle – especially as I see Kim struggle daily. It really breaks my heart.”
After their visit to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia two days later, Jill wrote “Give me faith to leave this with You. Please help her to talk.”
Her journal then goes silent. “It would be ten years before Jill would have the faith and the energy to write another entry in her prayer journal. It would be twenty years before Kim would begin to speak at age twenty-five.”
Could God be that heartless, or rather could God be that caring? Does He care enough to say, “No,” for a time or, “Wait?” Could His perfect timing be different from mine? Could God want to increase my faith even if it involves many years? You and I know that the answer is, “Yes.”
The Christian life is dependency. You and I want to be independent. Prayer causes us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares for us. Prayer causes us to take up His burden- which is light compared to the weight we so often – and unnecessarily- carry. Prayer causes us to beseech our Heavenly Father because there is nowhere else to go.
As we trust God for YBL, WBL, and 2nd Half – not just for this year, but for the next five, ten, twenty years- I and our leadership must fervently pray. We are believing God to do “Exceedingly abundantly beyond anything we would ask or think”. We are trusting God to expand His kingdom through YBL Ministries in Birmingham, our other cities, and the cities to which He might lead us.
We all have been challenged by the last year and a half. My prayer list gets continually longer; there is a depth of needs and concerns. We could be easily overwhelmed.
But we know that God has called us to the work of taking discipleship to a deeper, broader level. We trust that He will continually provide opportunities for us to encourage and meet the needs of our members and leaders.
Where do I go? I need to go to my Father. I need to go to my Savior. I need the Holy Spirit to empower me, to encourage me, and to help me see things from God’s perspective. Pray that for me, and I will pray that for you.
Miller says, “Learning to pray doesn’t offer you a less busy life; it offers you a less busy heart.” How is your heart? How is my heart? I know where to go to have that kind of heart; I know Who can provide my heart with a peace that passes all understanding.
I close with one last quote from A Praying Life, “At the center of self-will is me carving a world in my image. At the center of prayer is God carving me into His Son’s image.” Jesus, make me your instrument.