Keep Asking!

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” Ephesians 1:17 (NIV)

My father raised me to never, never give up. In fact, recently he asserted, “Down two runs with two outs in the home half of the ninth is no time to quit. Many games have been won under greater deficits. Persistence pays.”

No doubt he regretted his teaching when we were on vacation and within range of a gift shop.

Let the whining begin. “Daddy, can I puhleasse get a souvenir?” Never mind that he’d already blessed me with one. I’d convinced myself I needed another.

My husband and I have a son who we’ve affectionately referred to as our “persistent widow.” Why? Because, even at 20, he’s the one who keeps asking and asking and asking, hopeful he’ll get what he’s after. In matters of righteousness, this has been a blessing and demonstrated good character and courage. But on several occasions, we’ve had to say, “Enough.” And he’d stop asking.

Until a more opportune time.

To those in our sphere of influence, it’s wise to teach and enforce the biblical principle to let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No” be no (James 5:12). Otherwise, we’ll do nothing but perpetuate an already self-indulgent culture and lose the respect of those we hope to influence. Yet, there are situations when God invites – and even urges – us to keep asking.

“Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Luke 18:1 (NIV) A persistent widow sought justice against her adversary, albeit from a judge who was not a God-fearing man. If for no other reason than to get her to hush up so her begging wouldn’t wear him out, the judge granted her request. Luke 18:5 (Paraphrase mine)

If we carry a particular burden, desire justice, or need salvation, provision, or healing, we must keep asking. Because, unlike the unjust and godless judge referenced in Luke 18, our God loves us perfectly. He is wholly just and promises to deliver answers in His good and perfect timing.

But be warned. Satan will mock our persistent prayers with a wicked chuckle and will take advantage of moments of discouragement. During those days and seasons when the answers we desire haven’t yet arrived, the enemy is determined to silence our persistent prayers. If we let him.

The prophet Isaiah understood the directive to keep asking.

“You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.” Isaiah 62:6b-7

Where the will of God is concerned, not only are we to keep asking, we’re charged with giving God no rest about a matter. Doesn’t sound anything like a flustered, eye-rolling judge. Quite the contrary.

So long as we maintain an unwavering faith in God when we petition Him, there is great purpose and power in persistent prayer. Let’s not quit when weariness sets in at the 25-mile mark of a marathon or, as my father has taught, when we’re down two runs with two outs in the home half of the ninth. Not only will persistence change our hearts to be more like Jesus, but the recipient of our prayers will be forever grateful.

Copyright © 2018 Mary Albers Felkins, used with permission.

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