John the Baptist was a miracle birth from the very beginning. You see, his parents were not able to have children and they were very old. Zechariah never gave up the dream of having children. He waited on the Lord. One time an angel of the Lord shows up to Zechariah while he was on duty as a priest and said, “Do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.“ It is a wonderful story of persistent prayer. To read the story, go to Luke 1:5-13.
Persistence is a necessary part of praying effectively. Whether God answers quickly or over a longer period of time, we should never give up on hearing from the Lord. It says in Scripture that God wants us to trust Him patiently on our knees. He delights when we trust in Him and walk by faith. There are times that a delayed answer reveals our true heart toward God. No matter what we are praying for, we are to wait on the Lord in faith.
If you want to see what impatience brings, read about King Saul when he took matters into his own hands (1 Samuel 3:8-14). He lost God’s blessing all because he could not wait.
There are several references to persistent, continual prayer in the Bible. Jesus, on His famous Sermon on the Mount, said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” Matthew 7:7-9. Jesus also said in Luke 18:1, that we should pray and not lose heart. Paul says, “Pray continually” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. He also says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” in Colossians 4:2. Are you seeing the bigger picture now? We are not meant to pray one time and then quit. God works on His timetable not ours. I wish God would consult me more often because I could really help Him out on this timing issue. But I can only see what is right in front of me. He sees the past, now, and forever. It would be safe to say that He doesn’t need my shallow perspective.
So don’t get discouraged, keep praying and believing. We are so accustomed to getting things now. We can get a meal in minutes after ordering, we can get a response from a text in seconds, we can upload a picture to facebook as we speak, but that doesn’t pull God into our timeframe. God’s timing is always perfect. Do as the Psalmist says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” Psalm 37:7.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday and begins Holy week. Our choir will be singing, our children will be waving palm branches, we will take our annual Legacy Offering, and we will all have the opportunity to worship together as we celebrate Jesus. On Thursday we will have an interactive communion as families can drop in and take the Lord’s Supper together. You can come anytime between 5:30p and 7:00p. I want to encourage you to reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice during holy week. Easter Sunday will then put the exclamation point on this season as we worship the Risen Savior.
Don’t forget to come to Easterific this Saturday at 9:00a in the Family Life Center. Register online to secure a spot. It will be a fun time for all the kids and parents as they share a big breakfast and play lots of games. There are plenty of opportunities to invite your neighbors and friends during the next couple of weeks.
May you walk forth with patience as you wait on God’s perfect timing for the prayers you have been praying.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene