Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: 1 Samuel 12:23 (KJV)
Every Wednesday on my facebook page I post a prayer meeting, like the ones that most of us grew up with on Wednesday nights. Our little church where my husband serves as pastor still does it, but it is the only church we’ve attended in the past sixteen years that does. Most of them have normal services on Wednesday, if they have services at all.
When I was a child I don’t know if our home church had prayer meetings or not. The children went downstairs for AWANAs and the adults stayed upstairs. And to be honest, my two best friends attended the same church as me. When AWANAs was out for the summer or during normal church services, we used to sit beside each other and spend more time passing notes and trying not to giggle than paying attention to what was happening in the services.
But when we went to visit my uncle and attended his church on Wednesday nights, they didn’t have any children’s meetings on Wednesday. Or if they did, I wasn’t allowed to go since I was a visitor. So I’d attend services with my aunt and uncle. And they would talk, share about their day, week, life, all the prayer needs and praises, and then divide up into prayer groups of about four or five. Men with men. Women with women.
I used to hate being there when they divided up. Because the ladies my aunt sat with (who seemed very old to a preteen!) always insisted I pray out loud, too. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know the people in the church, and didn’t care enough to remember their prayer needs so it was really awkward. I used to try to remember what my aunt said and her friends and parrot them as much as possible.
And then I grew up. One of the churches my husband, children and I attended (as members, though Steve did occasionally fill the pulpit there) had a pastor who was a serious prayer warrior. He believed in the power of prayer. And while the church didn’t have a Wednesday night prayer meeting, he didn’t hesitate to pray with someone. And when he did, it was like that woman in the movie “The War Room.” It seemed that Heaven came down and listened.
I wanted a relationship with God like that. I wanted to pray and know that God listened. And I know He does. But sometimes, it seems as though God doesn’t hear. I see it on my weekly prayer meeting post on my facebook page. The same requests. Week after week. Month after month. I post the same ones too. Because God has answered that prayer request with a “no” or a “wait.” I’m not sure which. So I keep asking. And asking. And asking.
One of the churches that I attended many years ago said that we only need to ask God once. Any more than that shows lack of faith. God heard the request. He knows. Don’t keep bothering Him. And yes, I suppose that is true. He did hear. He does know. But maybe He wants us to approach Him like children. Persistent children. And keep asking. And asking. Several stories in the Bible show how requests are granted due to persistence.
When we bring our requests to God, we honor Him. We reveal the desires of our hearts, and we admit that only He can meet them. Often, our repeated requests relate to other people. In those instances their hearts must be changed in order for our request to be granted.
We know God is good and He desires to give us good gifts (Matthew 7:7-11 and Luke 11:13). We can continue to seek Him through prayer and to make our requests known to Him (Philippians 4:6). But we must be willing to submit to God’s will. We know that whatever we ask in His will is granted (1 John 5:14-15). Sometimes we don’t understand His will or His timing. Sometimes we must be willing to wait for God’s yes. Other times we have to accept no for an answer. When we know God and trust Him, we can repeatedly bring Him the same request and rest in the fact that His answer will be best for us. God desires both our persistence and our submission.
I appreciate the prayers for my ongoing prayer request and enjoy being able to bring other requests for my facebook friends and acquaintances before God. It’s a pleasure to see how God answers prayers. And I don’t want to sin against God by ceasing to pray for you.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)
Thank you for your continued prayers for me and my family. If you have any requests, please feel free to let us know what they are so that we can pray for you.
Thank you, God, for hearing our prayers. Amen.