As I told some women a couple weeks ago . . . I had been contemplating on the topic of prayer for a while, feeling somewhat agitated with God about my prayer life (a better word might be “convicted,” but at the time I didn’t realize I was in the wrong). The best way I can describe the argument going on in my head with God was that it went something like this: “God, I know you are in control and will work these situations out in your time, so I’m just done petitioning you about these topics. You know my heart and thoughts on the matter, so I’m going to just give it to you and be done praying about it.” That sounds somewhat spiritual, doesn’t it?
But once I got done with that argument/discussion in my head with God, I was convicted because what I was actually saying was: “I’m so weary of this topic, Lord. I’m not seeing any action…I don’t know if my prayers are making an impact. Are You really going to do something? Can You really move mountains?” Not so spiritual after all.
Then, two weeks ago in our Daughters of Encouragement class, our assignment was to read Acts 1-13. Instances of believers praying are mentioned numerous times, but the one verse that stuck out to me the most was Acts 12:5.
So Peter was kept in prison, BUT earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
Earnest – fervent, without ceasing. Ugh. Those words were convicting because my prayers had lost their earnestness. I could go on to tell you the rest of the story about what happened to Peter as a result of those prayers, but that’s really not the point. Though in this particular situation the church’s prayer was answered, in other places in Acts their prayers were not. People were persecuted and died, and I am sure the believers were fervently praying about those situations too. The point was that the believers still fervently prayed.
This wasn’t news to me. I’ve known this story for a long time, but it was a lesson I needed to be reminded of this month–that we are to pursue God earnestly, fervently, without ceasing. Honestly, it’s a command: “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
I acknowledge that I don’t know all the answers as to why certain prayers are answered and others are not. Although it might sound trite at times, I am reminded of the verse in Isaiah 55: 8-9 where we’re told God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are far above our thoughts. I also know that God listens when we pray.
I love the LORD, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. (Psalms 116:1-2)
As I meditated on the topic more, I was reminded of all the places in scripture in the Old and the New Testament where people of faith earnestly sought God. In the big picture of Acts, I can clearly see God was at work. In the big picture of the Bible, from beginning to end, we see that God has a plan and purpose.
I want it to be said of me, as it was those believers in scripture, that I earnestly pursued God and fervently prayed, regardless of whether I could see the bigger picture or not. I want it to be said of ALL OF US here in the Equip Her Bible studies.