“And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” Mark 9:26
There is no spiritual exercise more mysterious than prayer.
Nothing brings awareness to human weakness quite like the activity of speaking to a God whose thoughts are infinitely higher than our loftiest idea and whose wisdom is beyond our ability to search out (Is. 55:8, Rom. 11:33). In our bewilderment, we might very well cry out like the great apostle, “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16).
Nevertheless, the man or woman of faith dedicates themselves wholeheartedly to the practice of prayer. And it is in this faithful practice of prayer that God seems pleased to reveal profound principles associated with the work of asking, seeking and knocking.
One such principle the Teacher seems to be revealing to me has to do with the role of patience in prayer. Indeed, it is on account of our impatience that leads to spiritual frustration and ultimately prayerlessness. However, I am learning that if I might find it within myself to tarry a few moments longer, I may hear the latch suddenly loosened, and to my joy, the door opening up to me.
Indeed, what typically convinces us to leave sooner is not only the delay, but the appearance of things seeming to get worst and more hopeless the more we pray. Often the initial results of prayer are like the boy spoken of Mark chapter nine. The father in his imperfect faith has sought the Master’s grace. Yet, now his beloved son lie lifeless upon the cold ground. What was initially bad has turned exceedingly so!
What gives? What’s the use?
But wait. Listen. The latch may be loosening!
How often have you and I wrongly believed that our prayer efforts were worthless? How many times have we come to the erroneous conclusion that God is careless towards us and that what concerns our hearts escapes His attention?
Oh, but don’t turn so quickly away mighty warrior of prayer! Your prayers may have been answered—if only you can muster the strength to patiently standby, you may see the glory of the Lord!