My nine-year-old son John and I have been praying for a boy in his grade for the past two years. Not long ago during bedtime, John mentioned his name after we read a book about loving others who are difficult to love. He chimed in, “Mom, I’ve been praying but he isn’t changing.”
His words were profound. I was amazed that he was staying at it to pray for his friend. It was convicting for me.
“Oh, John. Let’s just keep praying. And let’s just keep loving him.”
I told him how God can do big things and that our fervent prayers are powerful and effective (James 5:16).
I thought about how true John’s comment was for all of us in the Christian life. It’s so easy to give up on praying when we don’t see tangible, see-with-my-own-eyes results. It’s easy to question, “Why should I even keep praying when nothing is happening?”
I think about the farmer who plants and patiently waits for his seed to come to full fruition. The new momma who waits for her unborn baby to grow and develop in the unseen parts of her belly – trusting in the One who is fashioning life. The wife who desperately wants her husband to surrender his pride and begin loving Jesus. The woman who is fearful and waiting the results of her biopsy. The man who so desperately wants to overcome his alcohol addiction but remains chained to the emptiness.
Yes, we pray because we’re commanded to as followers of Christ. But we also pray to know Jesus and his heart more, to seek the One who is greater and able to do so much more than we ever could. We pray to tell God our deepest joys and pains, and simply talk to Him as our father and maker. We also pray to listen.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5:16-18)
We’re to go about our daily lives consistently in a state of prayer. I don’t know about you, but sometimes prayer is the last thing on my mind and I’m thankful God is patient with me too. When I discipline myself to pray and just talk to Him, it’s amazing how different my day is and how sweet the communion is.
Prayer also requires humility in that we are not God. His ways are perfect and not our own. His timing is often not ours either.
Before you know it in due time, that momma’s baby takes his first breath on this earth. The wife’s husband now has a thirst and craving for Jesus that he never had before. The results of the biopsy were in that woman’s favor. The man who thought he could never beat his addiction, is now set free because of Christ’s work in his life. All because of prayer.
Now, we know that our prayers aren’t always answered how we desire or in the way we anticipated, but we can trust God’s plan because he is good, loving, and sovereign. And at the end of the day, we’ve done our part to be faithful to pray for the things he has revealed to us.
I still don’t know when we’ll start to see change in John’s friend but I know we’ve been called to do our part – to keep praying and loving.
And that is enough.
Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mother to four, and writer in rural Colorado. She’s the author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches. To read more from Samantha, visit her blog: www.samanthakrieger.com