Am I remaining persistent in my prayer requests or have I given up?
1 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 about men. 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 about men, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'" 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?"
INSIGHT: When you make a request of God, do not stop praying until He answers or redirects you, according to His will. We must remember that “quickly” (v. 8) is much different to Jesus than it is us. We see everything through the lens of about 80 to 100 years, whereas He sees things through eternity. Many Christians will only pray a few times before they give up and wonder why God didn’t answer their prayer. The timing of our answered prayers is up to God—our part is to keep praying in faith, even if it takes months, years, or the end of our life for God to answer. Notice Jesus asks, if He will find faith on earth when He comes back? This not only shows that many will depart from the faith (1 Tim 4:1), but also that is when most of us will see the justice we so long for. Often, the best blessings are the ones we have to wait the longest for.
My mother was worth waiting for! Within a few months of me moving back in with my parents at the age of 37, things got really ugly. After the bottom of my life fell out, I began taking my faith in Christ very seriously. My mother and I were baptized on the same day, in the same small town church, in 1989. We went to church three times because my mom concluded she already got what we came for (eternal life insurance). Her spiritual journey moved toward a mix of 12 step and codependent groups, where God the Father is relegated to being a “Higher Power” and where Jesus just needs to be left in the car. In her later years, church had become a pleasant social experience for her, but there was no living faith in God whatsoever. Her faith was in her own ability to control her life and circumstances. When I showed up with actual living faith in Christ, radically trusting Him for everything, my mother began persecuting me relentlessly. We had windows of peace, but for 3.5 years she pretty much tormented me, saying I was ignorant, lazy, deceived, intolerant and even mentally ill. I loved her, but I did not like her at all, and I dreaded the day I would remarry and have to introduce my future wife to her. Once, I even cried out in anguish, “God, how can you allow the woman you used to get me on the planet to treat me like this?”
I would go into the woods and pray for her and often it was very hard to believe she would ever change. I begged God to open her eyes and change her and He would say, “Humble yourself before her.” That was very difficult to do at first, but by God’s grace I was able to do it more and more where even my mom would say something about it.
Then came the amazing day that my mother would sit down on camera, in tears, and testify that she now had the same mental illness (faith) that I had. God did the impossible and answered my persistent prayers, but He delayed answering until He finished using her as a tool in His hands to further shape and humble me. Today, I have the Mother I always wanted. I not only love her, but now I really like her, and I will be so proud to introduce my future wife to her. She will be an outstanding Mother-in-law.