I’ve been praying for the same thing for a number of years now. Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting my time, and that God must be tired of hearing from me. It’s hard to believe that God will ever answer my prayer because he hasn’t yet.
Jesus must have known we’d feel this way. In Luke 18, he told a story about “the need for them to pray always and not give up” (Luke 18:1). Sometimes it’s hard to sense that God is at work or that he hears our prayers. The world seems to spin out of control, and it looks like God isn’t doing anything about it.
Jesus told this story right after he reminded His followers that he would return to set the world right. The story, about a persistent widow and an unjust judge, reflects that we often feel powerless in a world full of corruption and privilege. The story ends with hope, though. If a widow can get an unjust judge to listen to her, we can be assured that a just God hears our prayers and will sort everything out in the end.
I love this story because it reminds me of a few truths I’m quick to forget.
God isn’t tired of us.
You will never come to God and find him unwilling to hear you. We never wear him out with our prayers. We can come to God with whatever is on our minds. We may get tired of praying about something, but God never gets tired of hearing from us.
Sometimes we just need to be patient.
We want God to answer right away, but God’s timeline is different from ours. Just because God hasn’t answered prayer yet doesn’t mean that he hasn’t heard us. Our role is to keep praying and to patiently wait on God.
In the end, God will make everything right.
Things may look bleak right now, but we know that God will sort everything out in the end. God will vindicate His people. We may not get exactly what we want, but God will work things out even better than we can imagine.
David Garland writes, “The question is not whether God will respond to our prayers but whether we will respond to God and trust his faithfulness to fulfill all the promises.”1
This morning I prayed for the same thing again. The answer to this prayer seems as distant as it did five years ago. As I prayed, it felt hard to trust that God was listening or that God would ever answer my prayer. Honestly, God may choose to answer with something different than what I asked for.
But one thing is for sure: God invites me to keep coming with my prayers. He never gets tired of hearing from me. I just need to be patient, trusting that God knows even better than I do what is right. We can know that, in the end, everything will turn out right even if we can’t see it now.
So don’t give up praying. God cares. God is listening. And he will accomplish His purposes in your life.