December 10

He Hears and Answers, Part 2

Psalm 116:1-2 I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

I Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

Luke 18:1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart….

We can pick up the encouragement of Psalm 116:2 (above) to keep on praying because we know that He hears us (see yesterday’s devotional). But there are many more reasons to continue.

The first and strongest is the Lord’s command to “pray without ceasing” and Jesus’ parable that we all “ought to pray and not lose heart.” That should be enough, but there is still more.

Prayer, especially continued prayer, changes us. That’s part of the plan of God. It’s not God’s plan that we stop praying out of discouragement. It’s that we can get discouraged but keep on praying. In doing so, we let His Spirit transform us more into the image of Jesus. David said in Psalm 138:3 (yesterday’s devotional) that after prayer, God “made [him] bold with strength in [his] soul.” Prayer over time can produce every kind of fruit. We can grow in patience, die to ourselves, become less selfish, and gain a much greater spiritual perspective.

As we pray over time, for example, we get a greater understanding of His will so we can pray according to it. How many times have we waited a long time for an answer to prayer, only to see it come about, but in a context and a way that we could never have imagined? We learn so much about prayer—and God—in those times.

One thing we also learn is that God works through time. If Romans 8:28 tells us he works everything together for good, we need to recognize that “everything” is quite a lot, and will likely include many things of which we are not aware. Our prayer may well be joined with the prayers of many others, and the desire of God to do something so big, so wonderful, that we couldn’t pray for the whole thing because we couldn’t imagine it.

In that light, we must keep praying, as our prayers may well be part of something that will take God decades or more to bring about—not because He couldn’t do something miraculous now, but because our lives and concerns might be bound together with those of so many other people, and perhaps because God wants to do something so much bigger than just answer our one prayer. Later—in this life or the next—we’ll understand.

In the meantime, let’s believe that He hears us right away, and that He also encourages us to continue praying. We really have no idea what the big picture is that God is working on, but we can rest assured that our prayers have great impact and eternal value, and will help bring about His will.

Prayer: Father, I want to help bring about Your will in this earth through my prayers. Help me when I falter with discouragement, and remind my soul that as I continue in faithful prayer, I’m walking in Your will.

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