At the launch of Walkers are Welcome in Baildon the other day, Colin Speakman reviewed 200 years of work for public access to the countryside, leading to our present footpath network (and who knows what next). He commented that change rarely came but by pestering authority till they yielded for a bit of peace.
It’s like the point Jesus made about the need for persistence in prayer (Luke 18:1-8). But if, as he said, the Father God to whom we pray is so much more willing to respond than selfish power groups, why then do we still need to persist or even pester? Here are a few suggestions.
Problems in us: Asking for the wrong things, or for selfish reasons? Could delay be the Father redirecting our thoughts? Keep checking?
Problems out there: Resistance not from God but from other forces, which may take time to overcome (e.g., Daniel 10:12-14). Keep at it.
Problems beyond: God is sovereign: he knows best, and some reasons for his non-compliance may be beyond our finite ken. Keep praising.
Problems in perception: Jesus didn’t fit expectations. Paul wanted rid of his thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-10). And we may not be recognising how God is blessing Bradford North. Keep looking.
Persistence in prayer might be likened to a long flight of steps, but I’m not sure whether we are toiling up for a grander view or descending humbly to the foot of the cross.
A prayer for each week
Father God, you’ve told us to pray and I have been doing for ages. Why aren’t you answering? Will you show me if I should change the way I’m praying in some way, please. Amen.
Father God, what I’m praying for seems so right, and you aren’t telling me to stop, or change, so please help me to persist until everything falls into place for your answer to come. Amen.
Father God, Sovereign, seeing beyond all our grasp, I have prayed long for my heart’s desire, but now I trust that you know best about whether, or when, or how to answer. Amen.
Father God, what are you doing in Bradford North? You promise to respond when we pray, but I don’t see it. Am I not looking right? Please can you show me your answers. Amen.
Your own prayers