Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Seventeen Years is a Long Time

Have you ever waited seventeen (17) years for anything? In our 'you can have it your way' world we often get out of sorts when things are not our way or if we don't get them right away. Our cultures 'have it your way' concept has been embeded in our commercials (and in this blog :-). Just look at this Burger King commercial from 1976. For most us, we somehow feel like we deserve whatever we want the way we want it and when we want it. In many of our drive through fast food stores, we find not one, but two windows to serve us. One takes your money and the second window hands you your order all in the name of getting you what you want fast. Basically, we are spoiled! We have lost the discipline of persistence. Persistence has become a pesky word to many in the West. But persistence is exactly what Jesus prescribes for us in prayer. Jesus often is on the opposite end of cultural thinking: "The first shall be last" vs. "He who dies with the most toys wins", "If you want to be great you must be the servant of all" vs. "Do whatever you have to do to get on top", "If you want to save your life, you have to lose it" vs. "Save yourself", and on and on and on. Jesus' Kingdom is upside down and inside out and so it is with prayer as well. I know that many times I am so indoctrinated with our cultural concepts that I begin demanding God to move or in someway answer my prayers NOW (yelling intended)! I usually find silence for the answer. At other times I find myself praying for 'a while' only to let the ideas, desires or requests fade off into the forgotten places of my mind. At times, God doesn't seem much interested in my requests. But that is never true. Yeah sure I feel that way but it is never true. So what is true about prayer and the pesky concept of persistence? Let's see... "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it shall be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8 You may already know that the Ask, Seek and Knock ideas would be more accurately stated like this, "Ask and keep on asking...Seek and keep on seeking...Knock and keep on knocking." That spells persistence! Through persistence, God is developing in us strength, dependence on Him and the character of sticking to things that really matter. In another passage Jesus has these words about prayer, "Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart..." Luke 18:1 Jesus again hits us with the idea being persistent. We are to be in prayer at all times and we are not to give up...PERSISTENCE. So get persistent in your prayers. Write them down, journal your requests and answers and pray, pray, pray until something happens. Jesus promises that if we ask and keep asking, it will be given to us (the answer that is). If we seek and keep seeking, we will find what we need. If we knock and keep knocking doors will be open that we are to walk through but we must be persistent. Many prayers may not be answered because we have not been persistent. I prayed for a particular issue for seventeen years and then God answered it. Seventeen years is a long time, but the answer was so worth the wait. If you ask me, I'll tell you that story sometime.