I've always had an issue with persistent prayer.
I love the verse "Pray without ceasing." I Thessalonians 5:16. The thought that God calls us and asks us to pray without ceasing is an amazing thought. He wants to hear from us. He hears us. He is there. What a great comfort!
Yet, here is my struggle. I can come before my Father and thank Him. I can come before Him and gripe and complain. I can even come before Him and lay my requests at His feet. And yet I struggle with the continual and repeated laying of the same request at His feet. Repeating it time and time and time again.
Here is where my rub lies. Persistently praying for the same thing over and over again feels to me like a child who begs their parent for a cookie. Please, Mom can I have a cookie? How come I can't have a cookie? Pleeeeaaassseeee, Mom, pleeeeeeaaaasssseee. I've experienced this kind of thing time and time again. After about the 10th time....I'm ready to pull my hair out and I want to scream: "IF YOU ASK ME THAT ONE MORE TIME, YOU WON'T GET A COOKIE UNTIL YOU'RE 32!!" So, I would come before my Father with my request. Lord, I know you've heard this before. I've asked you once and you know I'm going to ask you again......
And for the life of me I could not be bold before my Father asking Him again. And again. And again.
I've prayed like this for years for my son, Luke. He's struggled since day one with schooling. I would wrestle with how to reword my requests so that it didn't sound like I was begging and pleading with Him. Though that is exactly what I did. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. And God didn't "heal" my son and make him a great student. After years of praying and searching, God gave me a "diagnosis"....and an action plan to help him. He has refined my prayers for Luke. More specific. Step by step.
Now I find myself praying for the healing of my Mom. I'm specific with Him. I want the tumor gone. I want the cancer eliminated. He isn't responding immediately. (Though I'd like Him to, for sure!) And so I must pray continually. "GOD, I WANT MY MOM HEALED." How many days will I have to pray that prayer before He lays the final answer down in HOW He will heal her? And I wrestle. I wrestle with that feeling of being the petulant child who asks her Father for a cookie.
This morning, on my walk, I began to think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed multiple times:
"Abba Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet, not what I will, but what You will." Mark 14:36This cup that He referred to was the manner of death in which He was suppose to die. As we know, it was gruesome, horrifying, incredibly painful and degrading. Crucifixion. Man's cruelty to man.
Jesus prayed so diligently for the cup to be removed from Him that the Bible says that:
"Being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." Luke 22:44
Such earnest prayer. Jesus wanted to be removed from the cruel death He would face. Ultimately, He wanted God's will more. I find in this thought, I am beginning to feel more freedom to pray persistently. It doesn't mean that God will fulfill things in my way. My mother's healing is what I want so desperately. I cannot change my prayer any other way.
I. Simply. Can. Not.
And so I will continue to pray. Earnestly asking my Father to heal. I think He's okay with that. I think He understands.