This week we head into the 4th of July. Many of us will spend time celebrating with family or friends. There will be food, fireworks, and fun for everyone. Judging from the title, you may be expecting a reminder to pray for our country. For certain, that is a good thing to do, but I’d like to take a slightly different approach today. I’d like to encourage us all to remember the importance of persevering prayer on behalf of those we celebrate with. As we celebrate with the people we love, we need to remember to pray for them.
Just yesterday I learned that a prayer request I have been lifting up before the Lord for over ten years is very close to being answered. It is a request I have repeatedly made on behalf of someone I love.
The Bible teaches that when we pray, we will receive one of three answers from God. He will either say “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” I must say that I often wondered if I was receiving a straight up “no” from God. My request seemed impossible. But, as it turns out, I now see it may have simply been a very long “wait.” I also must confess I often faltered in my faith. I had seasons of earnest prayer, but other times I stopped praying about it altogether. And that was my loss.
I would encourage you, as you spend time with family and friends this week, remember them in prayer. Remember your requests and patiently endure in bringing them before the Lord. Why? For the love of the person you are interceding for, good of your faith, and for the glory of God. God delights to use every enduring prayer made in faith to make you a little bit more like Christ.
It was no mistake, then, when I read these words in my Bible this morning:
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love
answer me in your saving faithfulness.
Do we have the humility to pray to God, “at an acceptable time…answer me?” Do we have the spiritual endurance to pray, watch, and wait? We can, if we look to “the abundance of [his] steadfast love” and his “saving faithfulness.” This 4th of July I pray that God will help you to pray with enduring faith.