People often pray urgently when faced with crisis situations. A student worked hard on his high school senior English term paper, knowing he needed a very good grade to salvage a passing grade for the class. He wrote an analysis of the primary character in a novel he had had to read for the class. With his completed assignment in hand, he drove through a fierce rainstorm to school. As he stepped out of the car after arriving at school, his term paper slipped from his hands and fell into a mud puddle. The student watched helplessly as another automobile drove over it. When he retrieved the paper, the only thing legible on the title page was the name of the book whose primary character he had analyzed: Things Fall Apart. He could only pray that his teacher would grant him another chance. How effective are your prayers? Does it sometimes seem as though time spent in prayer is so much time wasted? Two specific factors which prevent us from praying effectively. The first is lack of endurance and perseverance. When we encounter oppositions, illness, financial problems or a crisis in our marriage, we may hesitate to pray because we doubt God’s presence or ability to help. The second is a failure to realize when we need God’s help. Jesus teaches in Luke 18 that God is a God of love and justice who hears and responds to the cries of his people when they need help. He says that his disciples must pray and not give up, even when it appeared that God was not listening. Skepticism erodes faith in believers. Jesus says to fight back with persistent prayer. Don’t just pray once and think, “I left a message. Surely God will get back with me soon.” No, keep on praying.
Even when we, like the student with the soggy term paper, suspect that all may be lost, God is beside us, listening to our cry for aid. Pray with persistence. Trust in his love for you. Listen patiently for his answer. Pray and don’t give up.