If you’re waiting for God to answer prayer, you’ll be encouraged by Rachel Britton’s words on persevering in prayer. Rachel is British-born and loves a daily mug of English tea. It’s a joy to welcome Rachel’s words today.
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Persevering in prayer is not easy. Often our petitions are made from hearts that are hurting and grieving and, at the same time, the lack of an answer causes pain and sorrow, too.
For twenty years I persistently prayed the same request to God. I wanted to move back to the country of my birth and I called on God for this to happen.
Perhaps you too have one petition you have repeatedly asked God to answer. We may grow tired and become weary but we don’t give up because our deep yearnings keep us coming to God and begging Him to meet our hearts’ desires.
Jesus, in Luke 18, told us to persist in prayer. So, how do we continue without becoming despondent, frustrated or confused with what God is not doing?
We can learn a lot from the Psalms written by David. Many of those Psalms reveal David’s desperate prayers but also how to be joyful, stay hopeful, trusting, and confident as we persist in our requests to God.
For years, David lived in desperate circumstances waiting for God to answer the calling on his life. Although David had been anointed as a youth by Samuel to be the next king, he did not become king until in his thirties. Not only did David have to wait to take the throne but he spent much of that time as a fugitive, on the run from Saul who was determined to kill him. Then later David had to flee from his son, Absalom, who tried to usurp him.
Yet David’s prayers show a mind at rest, belief in God’s timing, faith and strength—qualities we can have as we persistently petition God.
When persevering in prayer, David’s prayers teach us to:
1. Be Joyful
During his time on the run, David constantly appealed to God for his personal safety. One example is at the beginning of Psalm 16. Preserve me, David asked. Even though his immediate situation didn’t look good, David was still able to be joyful. “My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure.” (Psalm 16:9, TPT)
David focused on his future with God. “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5, NIV)
Are you feeling downhearted? As you persist in prayer, shift your focus to remembering how good God has been to you, how He protects you each day and gives you a future with Him. Let this understanding bring joy to your soul and rest for your mind and body.
2. Trust God’s Timing
David depended on God’s plan for his life. Mingled in with his persistent cries to God for help is a trust in God’s timing. “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” (Psalm 31:14-15, NIV)
God knows the best time to answer our prayers and, as hard as it is, we must be willing to not only wait but to follow Jesus’ example: “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36, NIV)
It’s not easy to submit to God’s will, but just as Jesus had an angel come and strengthen him, we have the Holy Spirit who gives us strength.
3. Remain Hopeful
In Psalm 3, David is fighting for his life once again. This time Absalom is in revolt against him and David’s position as king looks fragile. “Listen,” David prays to God, “to how they whisper their slander against me saying: ‘Look! He’s hopeless! Even God can’t save him from this!’” (Psalm 3:2, TPT)
David realized that on the surface his situation looks irredeemable, but he draws hope from what he knows about God. “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:3, ESV)
When your persistent prayers look pointless, when those around you lack belief that God will come through for you, draw on the hope you have in God. Your head might be down, but God can restore your confidence.
4. Give Praise
David knew that words of praise by even the most helpless could be used by God as a stronghold. In Psalm 8:2, David proclaimed, “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”
If you are feeling small and helpless as you pray, give God praise. Like David in Psalm 8, marvel at who God is, what He has created and how much He cares for you. God can use your praises as a stronghold because God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. (1 Cor 1:27)
5. Have Confidence
David had confidence God would not only hear his prayers but his constant and continual cries would receive an answer. “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.” (Psalm 55:17, NIV)
To those who are reading, David instructs, “So here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you.” (Psalm 55:22, TPT)
If David was reassured that God would answer his prayers, then you and I can be confident too. Why? Because God never changes.
Has my prayer of 20 years been answered? No. But, more importantly, in my cries I have found peace and a deep desire to follow God’s leading on my life. My prayer is that you will, too.
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Rachel Britton is a British-born writer, author and speaker whose passion is to help women become comfortable and confident in their conversation with God. Her blog “Praying Naturally” offers an extensive library of free prayer resources to help you deepen and develop your prayer life. Sign up to receive her latest resource: 24 Days to Feel Connected & Cared For, a prayer toolkit and fun activities when you’re missing social interactions with family and friends. Rachel is a wife and mom to three young adults. Connect with Rachel on Facebook.