“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1, New King James Version).
How long does it take before God answers a prayer? Is there a point when we just give up asking? Even if we find prayer—and how to receive an answer—so unclear at times, the Bible assures us persistence will pay off. The Lord gave two parables illustrating this.
Luke 18 tells the story of a widow seeking justice in her situation. The judge seems a harsh man with little regard for God or man. Yet, because of the widow’s constant pleading, he took action in her behalf. It was the only way to get her to go away. The parable goes on to say that God will respond to His chosen ones more speedily than this judge.
The second parable on persistence is found in Luke 11. A man has a traveler come to his house at midnight, and he has no food to feed his guest. He goes to a friend and asks for three loaves of bread. Even though they are friends, the man is unwilling to rise from his bed to help him. Yet because of his persistent knocking, the man finally gets up and gives him bread.
We sometimes feel God isn’t listening or just won’t answer. It seems like we have been praying for a very long time to no avail. Let’s consider two things: God’s will and His timing.
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him” (I John 5:14-15, NKJV).
James 4:3 tells us that sometimes we are asking with the wrong motives. Our hearts must be free of anger, bitterness, or revenge. Ask God to reveal if your request is from pure motives and in alignment with His Word. We must be willing to submit to His will. Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours.
We may not understand why God delays in answering our prayers, but we must trust His plan is ultimately best for us. Claim the words of Habakkuk 2:3 as assurance God will bring it to pass at the right time.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (NKJV)
We don’t know what God is doing behind the scenes, but we should “Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).
Be patient in your persistence.
Prayer: Give me wisdom, Lord, to determine Your will in my life. As I put my petition before You, keep my motives pure. Help me to wait with patience for Your perfect timing in my situation. Even though I may not understand Your purpose in what is happening, I can trust that it is ultimately for my good.