Persevere in Prayer
A devotional by Patricia Russell
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.”
—Psalm 40:1 (NLT)
Do you remember the movie, Are We There Yet?
The movie is about a family experiencing a road trip. Many people can relate to taking a road trip. If you’re a child looking out the window of your parent’s car during this kind of journey, everything that you see outside the window appears to be bigger in size. To most children, time seems to move so slow while on the road.
After driving for an hour, one or more passengers might ask the question, “Are we there yet?” Even though you’ve been told that it’s going to be a five-hour drive, for some reason, 30 minutes feels like an hour. I can relate to this. As we were on vacation and driving to another city, I knew it was going to be a long drive. I don’t know why 30 minutes felt incredibly long. It felt as if we should have been farther down the road than the clock or the GPS stated. We kept driving and before long, we were halfway there. We were actually making progress! Waiting is oftentimes difficult as it requires us to be patient on things that are out of our control.
The Bible tells us of a time in the life of Israel when things became out of their control too. In 1 Samuel 4, Israel was defeated in war by the Philistines. They experienced a devastating blow by the enemy and even more so because the Ark of God was captured. The Ark of God represented the old covenant under the law. This was not going down well for Israel. How long would the Philistines hold on to the Ark? When and how would they get the Ark back?
Just like Israel, we may have been praying for change in a situation for a long time. We prayed for an answer and hours turn into days, days into weeks and then weeks into months. We may have prayed, “Lord, how long?”
It was 20 years before God acted on their behalf. For 20 years, the ark was not in Israel’s possession (1 Samuel 7:1-3). Can you imagine waiting for 20 years?
I don’t have an answer as to why things take so long to change when you are doing all that you know to do. What I do know is that God is very patient, and He wants us to learn this also. What I know for sure is that God hears our prayers. He hears our every cry. Remember: God never slumbers nor sleeps. He is awake all day and all night. He never gets tired of hearing us call on His name.
Israel kept praying. Israel did not give up! I encourage you to not give up either. God answers in His time. They had been crying out for Messiah to come. Galatians 4:4 (KJV) says, “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman.” He did not send His Son before He was ready. The stage was set and prepared for Jesus Christ’s arrival. There was a time for this to happen and when the time was right, the ark that was held in captivity was released.
We do not control time. Waiting can become difficult but as the psalmist says, he “waited patiently” (Psalm 40:1). We are told in the book of Hebrews, chapter 11, true stories of people who were faithful to the Lord. We read how they waited for breakthroughs and change. We are also told of the many who did not receive the prize they were running toward. As a matter of fact, many of them suffered greatly for their obedience to the Lord. Yet all remained faithful to God. Every one of these people persevered and endured till their last breath.
Is there anything that would cause you to give up? Can you think of anything worth more than your obedience to God? How is it worth waiting on God and trusting Him for a breakthrough as Israel had to learn to wait? These are a few questions to consider journaling and praying privately about to God.
We all have a moment (or more) in life when we get tired and feel like giving up. But let me encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus. Remember how He stayed focused on His call. Never give up!
Heavenly Father, it is so hard to wait sometimes. Help me to learn from David how to wait on Your timing. I know that Your ways are not mine, but I trust you to make all things beautiful in your time. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.
Song of Reflection: “Find Us Faithful” by Steve Green. Listen to it here.
Patricia is a worship leader, songwriter, speaker and compiler of her 2020 best-seller anthology Stronger Resilience: Stories to Empower the Mind, Body and Spirit, as well as Lord, I Trust You: Words of Encouragement, to encourage readers and share life lessons during her cancer journey.
Patricia writes, speaks, and teaches on the power of God’s Word to heal and empower you to become all that you are purposed for. She has travelled internationally and shared her gifts with audiences to encourage, empower and share life lessons through word and song. Patricia has sung on national television broadcasts and shared the stage with several respected speakers including Anne Graham Lotz and Rev. E.V. Hill.
Her greatest joy is being married to her husband, Wayne, for 33 years. Together, they serve the community through their local congregation in various capacities. They have two adult children, Raquel and Benjamin. As a two-time breast cancer overcomer, Patricia coaches others to develop resilience and live life to their fullest.
Patricia has released two gospel music recordings: “Draw Me Nearer” and “Lord, I Trust You”. In March 2022, she launched her podcast “Becoming Resilient” which can be downloaded wherever you get your podcasts and watched on YouTube.
When not reading or studying, Patricia loves to eat Thai food and spend time with “Lucy”—her daughter’s Yorkie-poo who has taken up room in her heart.
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