What are you hoping for? Are you struggling with an issue in your life or praying for God to change something? When I’ve labored in prayer over an important matter, I admit, there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up. I have been tired of striving and I’ve thought, “God will do whatever He wants.” But I believe God wants us to be a little more involved than just letting go of what concerns us. God wants us to strive for our hope, stretch ourselves in prayer, keep our eyes on Him during the struggle, learn to be faithful and become more patient as we seek the answer.
A few years ago I had been praying for a particular situation and wondering how much more I should pray about it before letting go or giving up. So I asked the Lord, should I keep praying about this?
Then I read something in the book of Isaiah that helped me to understand God’s mind on this very question.
“….You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” Isaiah 62:6b-7
Wow. God wanted His people to keep praying, even though they knew God would be faithful and would accomplish all that He had promised. It seems that God desires that we persist in prayer until His answer comes. Notice that I said “His answer”! That means “not my answer”! I believe we need to pursue God’s will on everything that we are praying about.
If I’m calling on the Lord, praying about something that’s on my heart, I should not rest, but keep praying. Not only that, I shouldn’t give God any rest either! I should continue going before Him in prayer about it until the matter is established or settled.
Reading that passage really encouraged me to keep praying and striving for the hope that I have. But what does persistent prayer accomplish?
- Deep and persistent prayer increases our intimacy with God. We are interacting with the Lord, talking to Him, reading the Bible and listening to what He may reveal to us through his Word.
- We become more and more sensitive to what God’s will is for the situation. As we study the Bible, the Holy Spirit will help us fine-tune what we are asking for. He will lead us to pray according to His will and guide us to pray for the right things.
- God leads us to do what we need to do to be involved in the process of what we’re hoping for. Do I need to have a difficult conversation? Do I need to start or stop doing something? As we persist in prayer, God may lead us to have a role in the answer.
Persisting in prayer is like walking hand in hand with God. Striving for our hope means that we learn humility and submission to whatever His answer will be for our prayer. Our confidence and hope in the Lord is that He will be faithful in working out His good, gracious and perfect will for every matter that concerns us!