KEEP IT UP

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” 24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” 25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)
 
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)


18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8)
How often do you end up saying God has answered your prayers? 
What happens when it goes the opposite way to the way you prayed? Has God failed? 
Is God not good in the face of it? 
 
Tough questions which you should take a moment to really consider. How do you react in these moments? We can sometimes treat prayer a bit like a magic wand to get what we want and we have to remember and put in perspective that it is the means by which we communicate with our heavenly Father. The difficulty can come when we are praying for things that are good and don’t see it come to pass. God is still good in the midst of our disappointment. He is still good when it is all going wrong. He is still good in light of the evil that we see in this world. 
 
In the face of these questions we should take encouragement that even Jesus had to be persistent in prayer. We read in Mark 8:22-26 that Jesus prayed not once but twice for the healing of the blind man as he was only partially healed after first praying. Sometimes answers to prayer come in stages. Sometimes the answer is “no, for now”. 
 
Jesus encourages us to keep on pressing in with his words in Matthew 7 which some of our English translations doesn’t do justice to. It can be translated as “keep on asking… keep on seeking… keep on knocking”. With the emphasis shifted to an active approach, we are implored to keep at it. Even when we aren’t receiving, even when we aren't finding or when the door is firmly shut. It is as if Jesus knew that this would be a massive source of discouragement and in order to build our faith He says to us, in the way that only He could, keep on going! 
 
In Luke 18 Jesus tells the story of the persistent widow who cries out to a judge who is not just. She cries out to a judge who is not like our God. God is faithful and He is just. Jesus points out that if even an unjust human man is eventually moved by the persistent cries of the widow, how much more will a loving heavenly Father answer when His children call to Him?
 
God uses these times of waiting to develop our character. He uses this to build faith and trust in Him. We may not see answers to prayer immediately. It could be weeks, months, years or even decades but He just asks us to keep believing that He can and exercising faith by being persistent in prayer. Ultimately, He deepens our relationship with Him through the waiting. God meets with us in our plight and when things are crumbling around us, He is our hope and our comfort.
1) Are there things you have given up praying for?  

2) Do you need to bring them before God again knowing He hears you?

3) Have you been honest with God about any frustration or disappointment with unanswered prayer?
Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your example to be persistent in prayer. Please help me to be honest and persevere in prayer. Please help me not to give up but truly have faith You both hear my prayers and care about them. Amen.
Today’s Everyday Devotions were brought to you by Joshua Jones and Cameron Johnson, part of the Wimbledon venue.
 
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.

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