Knock, knock, knocking
Earlier this week I wrote a post for my personal blog reflecting on how the Great Bakeoff Meltdown illustrates the way in which social media - and the powerful impact it can have - has led us to expect that a trending hashtag can make a difference to all kinds of situations - even to events that happened in the past.
As so often with my writing, I didn’t quite know where the idea would take me when I began. Turns out it was about not giving up too easily, about not letting the fact that we now can make an instantaneous difference to various situations lull us into thinking that all situations can be resolved that quickly.
Then in my quiet time I was reading a study guide on prayer and found myself sent to the stories of Jacob wrestling with the angel and of Daniel.
Daniel 9:23 and 10:12-13 are remarkable, aren’t they? Daniel’s prayers were answered as soon as he began to pray, and in fact, as soon as he set his mind to ‘gaining understanding’ - it’s just that the angel got held up with other tasks on his way to bring the answer.
So does that mean Daniel could have given up after the first prayer? Does it mean that if only he’d had a bit more faith he could have just waited patiently and the answer would come?
I don’t think so - I think the story of Jacob illustrates that it is persistence that is rewarded, and of course, a timeless God could answer Daniel’s prayer immediately in the knowledge that he was going to persist - he doesn’t have to wait, like we do, to find out if Daniel’s commitment is really real.
Then, as I walked to the station that morning, I was listening to worship music on my MP3 player and a song from newday 2013 came on - ‘Breakthrough’. It’s a wonderful song about prayer, and I love it even more having heard Simon Brading talk about writing it and how he wanted to encourage the 6,000+ young people at the event to be persistent in prayer, and particularly focused on the line ‘Let unanswered prayers rise again to you’. (You can watch Simon’s reflections on writing the song here - there’s also a link to read the full lyrics.)
I think perhaps God is trying to tell me something about persistence in prayer, don’t you? None of this is a new revelation, but I’m sharing it in case you need to be reminded of it, too.
There are some situations I’ve been praying for recently that, I confess, I haven’t got much hope of seeing resolved. They make me weep, and my prayers have tended to be for mercy rather than resolution as, humanly, I think that is all that is attainable. I’ve learned this week, though, that I shouldn’t downgrade my faith to meet the circumstances I can see.
Who knows, maybe my prayers have already been answered. Maybe an angel is on his way at this very minute - just a little caught up with the Prince of Persia, but calling for reinforcements so he can complete his commission.
So I’m back on my metaphorical knees, praying again:
Let your Kingdom come
Let these mountains move
Let unanswered prayer rise again to you
For the more we ask is the more you’ll do.
My heart is praying in faith:
God of power, break through.