Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
Luke 18: 1
Prayer is a way of life. Prayer is faithfulness. Prayer is persistence. Prayer engages us in conscious contact with God. In doing so, it offers to draw us into a life time relationship with our Source, our Life. Prayer is faithfulness to this relationship. Prayer also draws us into God’s ongoing activity in this world –God’s work of saving, healing, releasing, blessing. Prayer is persistence in inviting the power of God’s healing love into our lives and into our world.
We are called to pray for ourselves, for our loved ones, for strangers and for our enemies. We are called upon to ask God to heal and save and bless. We are called upon to pray for peace and justice. And we are called on to keep on praying. To not give up.
There is a danger that we will grow weary or discouraged. We may not see the results we had hoped for in our lives or in the lives of those for whom we pray. As a result, we may want to give up hope and give up praying.
We are a culture that has come to expect the quick fix, the fast cure, the instant everything. We eat fast food and relate through instant messaging. And spiritually we think of miracles as God’s instant cures. The value of persistence is not deeply breed into our vision or our instincts.
Our discouragement in praying comes not only from our hurry-up mentality. It can also come out of our fears. We may fear that God is not really powerful or that God does not hear us. Or that God is not loving. Or that God has abandoned us or those for whom we pray. Or that we have to perform in some special way to have our prayers answered. We grow fearful of these things as we pray and our fear tempts us to give up.
But the work of healing, reconciling, releasing and blessing that God is doing in our lives and in this world is a difficult work. It requires time. God is a faithful and gentle healer. We resist God’s love. We resist God’s healing. We resist but God persists, faithfully loving us.
God asks us to be persistent in our prayers for ourselves and others and to trust that God is faithfully at work to offer the healing and blessing for which we pray. In asking us to be faithful, God is asking us to be like God. God is asking us to persist in prayer, even as God persists in actively loving and healing.
Pray and keep praying. Ask and keep asking. Invite God to give you glimpses of the freedom and joy that you seek for yourselves and others. Hold those images, those glimpses, in your heart and mind and keep praying. God is a healing God. God is at work. God is powerful in love and compassion. Come back to this vision. Stay with this calling. In time you will see the green seedling pushing up through the ground and you will know that all those days and years that nothing seemed to be happening, a miracle was taking place.
I get discouraged
You call me to pray
and to not give up.
You ask me to be
faithful and persistent in prayer.
Give me gifts of hope
and glimpses of your heart’s desire
so that I can pray
and keep on praying
for release and for blessing
in my life and in the lives
Make me faithful,
even as you are faithful.
What or who have you given up praying for?
Ask God to guide you in praying again about this.
Ask God to help you to keep praying for healing and blessing.