“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
Have you ever listened to someone pray and thought, “I wish I could learn to pray like that?” Their words just seem to flow so freely to the Lord, and we think surely the Lord must be pleased with their eloquent words and will answer their requests. Why can’t I pray like that? Sometimes it seems like we stumble and stammer over our words and wonder if the Lord even hears us. Sometimes we cannot even find the words to pray, and we can only whisper the name of Jesus.
Maybe there are prayers that you have been praying for many years. Perhaps it is a loved one that seemingly has turned their back on the Lord. You cry out to the Lord to bring them into the fold, and it seems like nothing is happening. The more you pray, the farther they seem to drift from the Lord. Maybe if you could just pray more fluently, use better words, then the Lord would answer your petition.
I believe the Lord is more concerned with our persistence in prayer rather than perfection. He listens to our hearts, more than our words. He hears the cry of that mother, agonizing over that lost son or daughter. It does not matter the words you use; it is the fact that you keep bringing that loved one to Him each day. His timing is never wrong. We can trust that He heard us the first time we prayed that prayer and He hears us every time we repeat our request.
Sometimes I find myself thinking about a way that the Lord might answer and bring that loved one to Him. Praying for my son, I often found myself doing that. But recently, I started to pray differently, “Lord I do not know how you are going to do it, but I trust you completely. I am just going to keep calling his name day after day and leaving the results with you.”
Remember, God values persistence in prayer, He is not looking for perfection. The important thing is to keep praying.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you that we can come to you in prayer over every aspect of our lives. Help us to be faithful and persistent in bringing our requests to you and trusting you to answer in the way that is best of us.
Devotion by Anne Johnston