We’re a fickle people. One moment we are ready to charge the gates with our faith and as quickly as the breeze changes direction we are riddled with doubt refusing to take a step. With the best of intentions we earnestly pray all day or maybe a few weeks for something, then life gets busy and time passes without so much as a whisper. We are suddenly much closer to our brothers and sisters in Christ, the Israelites. One more lap around the desert.
This does not come as a surprise to God. He knew we would grow weary. We would forget. We would settle for mediocre.
It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. –C.S. Lewis
Jesus taught a lesson in Luke 18, using the analogy of a persistent widow. He did not want us to lose heart. We are told to keep coming. Keep talking even when the words fumble. Keep bringing our specific needs and desires. God not only hears our big ideas and requests, He welcomes them. Desires them.
He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” –Luke 18:2-8
When our faith becomes weak our desires quickly follow. Before we even realize that we have mistakenly placed earthly limitations on the Lord of Hosts, Jehovah-Sabaoth, we are being drained of our belief. Our doubt and unbelief is Satan’s playground. He likes nothing more than when we decide to stop praying about someone or something. When we give up, we stop looking for God’s hand in the situation. We live in resignation rather than faith. Satan wins because resigned living is ineffective.
“A ‘host’ is an army. El Shaddai, God Almighty, has ‘hosts’ of angels–armies and armies of angels–that He can send to fight for His people and for His great name!” (Sally Michael, “God’s Names”) And, while it may not always look like we imagined, God does answer every prayer. He fights for us, even when we cannot see!
When the Son of Man comes, I want to be found in faith. I do not want to be wasting time with mediocre prayers that do not even hint at God’s incredible power. I want my eyes and prayers to be opened to the work He is about. I want the people I am praying for to experience changed lives. God promises that prayers make a difference and I want to be a part of that! If we believe God, to be exactly who He says He is, our conversation with Him will be a reflection of that.
Is there something you have stopped praying for? Stopped believing? Pray about it afresh. Bring it before Jehovah-Sabaoth.