In can be very discouraging to wonder why other people seem to get their prayers answered while you are waiting, and waiting, and waiting for your answer.
The challenge is to keep on praying. When we pray, when we approach Calvary, we put the burden from our shoulders onto the One who died there for us. So while my challenge may persist, I am granted strength to continue.
So keep praying--or better, as the Bible suggests, keep nagging. It's true. Read the story in the version of your choice in Luke 18:1-8. I'm including the text here from the MSG paraphrase here. The caps are my emphasis.
“Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit. He said, “There was once a judge in some city who never gave God a thought and cared nothing for people. A widow in that city kept after him: ‘My rights are being violated. Protect me!’
“He never gave her the time of day. But after this went on and on he said to himself, ‘I care nothing what God thinks, even less what people think. BUT because THIS WIDOW WON'T STOP BADGERING ME, I’d better do something and see that she gets justice—otherwise I'M GOING TO END UP BEATEN BLACK-AND-BLUE BY HER POUNDING.’”
Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? SO WHAT MAKES YOU THINK GOD WON'T STEP IN AND WORK JUSTICE FOR HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE, WHO CONTINUE TO CRY OUT FOR HELP? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”
After writing about Moses on Friday, I found myself asking why he was doubting God's statement about the quail? After all, isn't this the same God who opened the Red Sea and allowed all Israel to pass through on dry ground? Isn't this the same God who closed the sea and swallowed up the host of the Egyptian army?
So for context, I rewound the story just a bit more to the story of the 10 plagues down in Egypt. You'll remember the first two plagues the Egyptian magicians had been able to mimic, but the plague of lice from dust they couldn't. Turning to Pharaoh they said, "This is the FINGER of God" (Ex 8:19).
So when Moses now doubts, it's against the backdrop of all the power of God's finger. But God doesn't ask if His finger is to short--which was powerful enough. He asks has His whole arm been shortened? In other words, "Moses, if there was enough power in My finger to do all that I did to Egypt, how much more could My arm do for you?"
Interestingly, after Jesus had a cast a demon out of a fellow, the people were questioning how He did it. Was He Himself a devil so that He was capable of this? So in Luke 11:20, Jesus answers that He cast the demons out Himself, with His finger! But what I love in the following verses (20-23) is that Jesus says, "the Kingdom of God has come upon you." He then continues to explain that the strong defend themselves, but when one comes who is stronger, then the former are overtaken. Essentially Jesus is saying I'm stronger, and I'm overtaking this world--with just My FINGER!
Irony. The Egyptian magicians, who weren't believers, had enough sense to recognize God's power was beyond demons, but the people of God couldn't see past their own blind beliefs and traditions to attribute such a powerful miracle to God.
Reading on prayer again this morning from Mark Batterson's book, "Circle Maker." I was struck by God's question to Moses (or to us): "Has the Lord's hand been shortened?" Or better, "Is there a limit to My power?"
In Numbers 11 the Israelites are tired of the manna and God has just promised to feed more than 600,000 men enough meat for a month. Moses expresses doubt about this, and so God asks, "Is there a limit to My power?"
Made me wonder if we don't often let the "how" of what God wants to do for us, get in the way of the "what" God wants to do for us.
But because God has no limit of power, then there is no big or small, no easy or difficult. The impossible is possible. The intangible is tangible. To an all-powerful God, my hardest problems that I pray about are quite easy for Him to solve.
No. There is no limit to God's power. Only a limit to my comprehension. Maybe our prayers should then include the prayer of a desperate father wanting a miracle for his child in Mark 9, "Lord, help my unbelief!"