1Because I love Zion,
I will not keep still.
Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem,
I cannot remain silent.
I will not stop praying for her
until her righteousness shines like the dawn,
and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
Isaiah continues to exhort His people to perseverance in prayer: “6O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. 7Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.” (Is. 62:6-7) If this sounds a little too demanding on our part, Jesus Himself encourages us to shake the doors of heaven: “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up” (Luke 18:1). The next verses tell of a widow who pleaded with an unjust judge. He finally gave in to her request, worn down by her determination. How much more will God, the righteous Judge, listen to the persistent prayers of His loved ones? It’s very clear that prayer was never meant to be a one time thing. There’s persistent, constant, tenacious pursuit to prayer based on the promises of God. That, just like a watchmen on the wall cannot stop watching or they will put the whole city at risk to attack, so too, wherever we go we must be vigilant in our prayerful watching for the relationships God has assigned to our care.
I received the most wonderful news yesterday from my cousin Mariam and her husband Dustin. They texted me the picture of a newborn all swaddled up with the following words: Meet Arthur Idris Mahler. Born early this morning as a preemie. 5lbs 11oz. We are flying out to Vegas on Thursday to get him from the hospital and meet his mom in person. Needless to say, this came as the best kind of surprise this morning and we haven’t stopped spinning since we got the news. We will be in Vegas for at least two weeks and possibly a month for all the paperwork and legalities to get in order. We are praying for his mama and his half siblings, as well as for God’s peace to surround us all. This is freaking crazy amazing!” This is wonderful news in and of itself. To consider how long of a journey its been to the point of this blessed adoption it becomes even more clear that they would have never made it here without perseverance in prayer. Mariam has always wanted to be a mother. They have always wanted to have a family together. 8 years ago when her first pregnancy ended with the heart break of a stillborn child they discovered that she would not be able to have children due to some unforeseen physical reasons. This started them on a journey through mourning, sorrow, loss and then finally determination that their way forward was through adoption. It has been so amazing to witness their unshakable determination that God would provide a child even though 8 different times their names were rejected as candidates for adoption with other mothers. Finally, though, yesterday morning, Arthur was born and the birth mother chose them! They had tears of joy as we talked about the goodness of our God to bring to pass that which it felt would never come. This is why persevering prayer is so vital to our faith. In our instantaneous, have-it-now, microwave, high speed download, live streaming culture the idea of asking and waiting for an undetermined amount of time feels wrong. I remember participating in what the older saints termed tarrying and what the younger leaders called P.U.S.H.: Pray Until Something Happens. It used to be normal practice in Christian circles to have prayer meetings that would go on for hours. Yet, these days it feels that if we are praying for more than a few minutes people grow impatient. Maybe one of the reasons we aren’t seeing the breakthrough we desire in our places of waking, working and worshipping is that we simply aren’t spending enough time pushing through in prayer. It’s not a matter of talking God into action, it’s a matter of having a bias for action in prayer. Where we want to go in person we must first go in prayer. Not just once or twice, but circling that circumstance in prayer until we see God’s promise come to pass.
Lord, I praise You and thank you for this reminder today. I pray that You would continue to guide this adoption process for Mariam and Dustin. I also pray that You wold forgive me for giving up so quickly, for becoming so impatient, for not loving those around me enough to continue stand watch in prayer for them. I lift up to you my brother’s wife Heather. She has just discovered she has an inoperable brain tumor. Your timing was amazing the last time she had a tumor removed and I know You are going to do it again. I stand watch with my brother Dan and will continue to push through in prayer until I get an equally joyful text from him on Heather’s healing. The God who did it then is the God who will do it again!