I sat with seven of my favorite Edgewood residents yesterday and had a great Bible study. We were talking about prayer. Specifically, about praying and not giving up.
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 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? 8 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 18:1-8We shared stories of the times we've prayed and prayed and felt like nothing was happening. We addressed these questions, When you're being persistent in prayer, and it seems like God isn't doing anything, what do you do? and, When you're faithful in prayer and you trust God, and He says, 'NO,' does that mean He isn't faithful? And together we agreed that God's timing is perfect. He's never late. God's will is perfect. His 'no' is better than our 'yes'. God's wisdom is perfect. He can handle what we don't understand. Yet, we admitted - even with this knowledge - waiting is hard. Persevering in prayer can be hard. Then God put a thought in my heart, and I said to the group, "Imagine this..." Imagine you've come to the end of your life and you're sitting in heaven with God, and He speaks to you for the very first time. He says, Well done, my good and faithful servant. And you're expecting Him to say something about how you used your talents. But instead, He goes on to say, I saw you when you were praying. I heard you asking Me to intervene in your circumstance again, and again. I saw the tears you cried. I felt the pain in your heart, and I cared for you. I knew when you felt like I wasn't doing anything, but I saw you continue praying anyway. And when the time was right, I moved. I saw the faith you have in Me, and your perseverance in prayer. My child, you delighted My heart by your prayers of faith. Can you just imagine being there? Oh! I want to delight my Father's heart with prayers of faith!