Welcome to Real Life. Knock, knock. Is anyone there?
A river cuts through a rock not because of its power,
but its persistence.
–James N. Watkins, Author
Lindsey Jacobellis knows the power of perseverance. Sixteen years ago, at her Olympic debut, Jacobellis was favored to win gold in Woman’s Snowboard Cross. On her final jump, however, she fell and lost to Switzerland’s Tanja Frieden. But Jacobellis never quit. She kept trying, kept competing, kept knocking on the door of Olympic Gold. This year, at her fifth Olympic competition, Jacobellis finally won that gold medal!
Perseverance is a key element of success… unfortunately. Because we prefer quick and easy, don’t we? Perseverance isn’t fun, flashy, or fuzzy-warm. It’s the grimy, gutsy, grappling-alone-in-the-dark resolve that quietly wins the day.
Not surprisingly, perseverance is also a key element of successful prayer. (Cue that grappling-alone-in-the-dark resolve.) Jesus emphasized this with a story. A neighbor knocks on your door at midnight begging bread. Out-of-town guests just arrived unexpectedly. They’re hungry and his fridge is empty. “Go away!” you call out, “We’re in bed.” Although you hate to leave your cozy bed, if he persists in knocking, you’ll open the door and give him whatever he needs. Pray like that persistent neighbor!
I need the encouragement. Because, perhaps like you, I’ve been praying about some things for a long time. Nothing seems to change. And I’m growing discouraged. But like that neighbor, God encourages us to keep knocking. He promises. He will get up and open the door.
Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
(Luke 11:9 NIV)
Our God is not distant. He’s even closer than a neighbor. And unlike the illustration, God’s not reluctant to answer the door. Our prayers don’t annoy him. Quite the opposite. The very point of the illustration is God wants us to keep praying, keep asking, keep knocking on his door.
Why can’t prayer be quick and easy? Sometimes it is. However, as we persist in bringing our cares to God, prayer changes us. It grows our souls. It draws us into an intimate conversation with our Father in heaven.
God hears. He answers. But because he’s privy to insider information, sometimes his answer is “No” or “Wait.” At other times, the way he answers looks far different from what we expect. And although it appears our prayers are not making a difference, our God is often working behind the scenes in ways we cannot see in response to our pleas.
Remember this. God’s ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts higher than our thoughts. His priorities differ. We ask for a financial windfall to pay off debts. He seeks to grow our dependence on him for our daily bread. We beg for a complete healing. He is teaching us to rely on his strength. We pray for an easy life. He desires a holy life for us. As we seek God’s heart and his priorities in prayer, our hearts begin to reflect his.
Like Lindsey Jacobellis, I will persevere. I will push through my discouragement. I will never stop praying. Because I’ve seen what happens when God opens that door. He softens hearts of stone, restores marriages, saves souls, heals bodies, provides miraculously, gives clear guidance, and sets people free! Prayer is powerful because our God is alive and powerful. So, keep knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door!
Dear Father God,
Thank you for loving us and hearing our prayers.
Give us the gutsy resolve to persevere in prayer.
We ask boldly for a mighty work.
We pray for a breakthrough.
We pray for peace in Ukraine and in our world.
We pray for healing in body, mind, and spirit.
We pray for freedom from addictions.
We pray for the salvation of loved ones.
We pray for open doors of ministry.
We pray for financial provision.
We pray for freedom from stubborn sins.
We pray for an outpouring of your Holy Spirit.
We love you!
We knock in faith, expecting great things,
And believing you will open the door in Jesus’ name.
Peggi Tustan is an ordinary woman living and extraordinary real Life in Christ. Visit her at www.eggitustan.com.