Then Jesus told them a parable to show them they should always pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. There was also a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but later on he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor have regard for people, yet because this widow keeps on bothering me, I will give her justice, or in the end she will wear me out by her unending pleas.’”And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says! Won’t God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay long to help them? I tell you, he will give them justice speedily. (Luke 18:1-8)
Juxtaposed to the unjust judge in this parable or story, our God is a just judge and certainly will do much better than any human judge (Isaiah 45:21,22). Again, the point of this parable is if an unjust human judge will give you what you want just to stop the constant asking will not a God that is grace, mercy-love, and compassion answer your request quickly? (Jeremiah 29:12,13. Psalms 103:13,14. Isaiah 42:3,4) The conclusion – we are not to give up on our requests to God in prayer even if the answer seems to us delayed! (Isaiah 64:4)
Contrary to popular opinion God is not waiting for the last minute to answer our prayers. Typically, we are the ones that must become desperate before we will believe God with our spiritual heart instead of just our mind (Romans 10:10). Realize, It is only from the spiritual heart (1) that faith is released not the mind. Furthermore, it is while enduring trials (1) that we experience the most spiritual growth (1 Peter 1:6-8. James 1:2. Romans 5:3-5).
Furthermore, there are times we do not receive the answer to our prayer immediately because it would affect the lives of others around us that need salvation (2 Peter 3:9). We do not have the grand view of what is going on and sometimes our requests could affect God’s desired outcome for the World (Ecclesiastes 8:11).
Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah and all the people of every class, went to the prophet Jeremiah. They said to him, "Please grant our request and pray to the LORD your God for all those of us who are still left alive here. For, as you yourself can see, there are only a few of us left out of the many there were before. Pray that the LORD your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do." The prophet Jeremiah answered them, "Agreed! I will indeed pray to the LORD your God as you have asked. I will tell you everything the LORD replies in response to you. I will not keep anything back from you." They answered Jeremiah, "May the LORD be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not do just as the LORD sends you to tell us to do. We will obey what the LORD our God to whom we are sending you tells us to do. It does not matter whether we like what he tells us or not. We will obey what he tells us to do so that things will go well for us." Ten days later the LORD spoke to Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 42:1-7)
Sometimes our answers to prayer are sent but Satan tries to prevent us from receiving them (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Daniel’s prayer was heard and the answer sent the first day; however, it took twenty-one days for the answer to reach Daniel because of Satan’s fallen angels (Daniel 10:12-13).
We may not be receiving an answer to our prayers because God is turning a deaf ear towards us due to our failure to repent of sin (Deuteronomy 1:45. Proverbs 28:9,10. Isaiah 1:15). To repent (1) is to deeply regret having disobeyed God, admit to Him we are wrong and turn away from sin in His power Proverbs 28:13. 1 John 1:9. When we turn a deaf ear towards God’s Word and deliberately choose to flaunt His laws, then God responds in like manner – He no longer listens to our prayers (Psalms 66:18. Isaiah 59:2. John 9:31). This is a principle that applies to individuals, organizations, congregations and, even, nations, as the people of Israel found out to their loss on numerous occasions (Malachi 1-4). It is not that God does not love us and is not interested in our prayers, it’s simply that our actions towards Him would be speaking louder than the words we might say to Him (Luke 6:46. John 14:15,21). If we want to regain a place of authority in prayer so that we will know about and experience the power of prayer at work in our lives, then let’s determine that the actions of our lives and the words of our lips are truly in harmony with each other. When they are God has no problem in hearing and answering our prayers! (2 Chronicles 16:9. Psalms 34:15,16. Psalms 66: 20. Psalms 145:18. Proverbs 15:8,29. 1 Peter 3:12) (2)
Furthermore, we may not receive our prayer request because we may be asking for something that violates God’s will (1 John 5:14,15). Realize, God is not going to – nor can He – sin in order to make us happy! (James 1:13) (3)
For example, you meet someone that you strongly desire (Exodus 20:17) to have them as your spouse; however, they are married to someone else. You pray and ask God to cause this person to marry you and become your spouse as you think they are your one and only soul mate. To answer this request then God would either have to kill their present spouse (1 Corinthians 7:39. Exodus 20:13) or cause them to divorce (Malachi 2:16) so that you can steal (Exodus 20:15) them from their family and marry them (Matthew 19:9. Exodus 20:14). Note how many of the laws of God would be violated by this request! Consequently, God will not grant it no matter how right it might feel or how badly you want it. However, what we can do in that situation is pray to ask God for the wisdom to find a spouse that would lead to a God-honoring marriage (James 1:5,6. Proverbs 19:14).
Again, God will not violate His word in order to make us happy! (Hebrews 6:17,18). That is why it is so important to make our requests in line with the promises (1) of our contract with God (a.k.a., the Bible).
In summary, we forfeit many blessings by giving up on our prayer requests; therefore, never give up on a request (1) that is based on God’s Promises (1) and sought with the right motive! (1) Continue to keep your faith (1) active and strong by living a lifestyle of love (1) and thanksgiving! (1) (1 Thessalonians 5:17),
Heavenly Father, be glorified in our prayer life today. Cause us not to give up so that we can receive the end of our faith the salvation of our souls. We ask for the nations they are our inheritance and the ends of the Earth, which are our possessions. Here am I Lord send me. Amen. (Based on 1 Peter 1:9, Psalms 2:8, Isaiah 6:8)
Discover Pray Series:
1. We Must Ask (1)
4. Pray in Faith (1)
7. Be Persistent (1)
8. Power Dressing for Prayer (1)
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) Seeds of the Kingdom article Deaf Ears (1), August 1, 2013, Peter Horrobin
(3) Seeds of the Kingdom article God is not Hard-Hearted (1) by Grace Marshall.