Circle Maker Series: Praying Through

Every night before going to bed, I would pray and lift up my concerns to the Lord. I have a number of prayer items that have been there for as long as I can remember.  Do you also experience drought in your prayer life sometimes? When it feels like you are just going around in circles and nothing is happening? Well, you need to read this.

I will start this post by sharing two stories. One from the Bible and one from the Circle Maker book.

Story 1: Luke 18: 1-5    
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
One day Jesus told his disciples of a story to show that they should always pray and not give up.  "There was a judge in a certain city," he said, "who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, 'Give me justice in this dispute with the enemy.'  The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, 'I don't fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I'm going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!'"

Story 2:  In standardized math tests, Japanese children consistently score higher than their American counterparts. While some assume that a natural proclivity toward mathematics is the primary difference, researchers have discovered that it may have more to do with effort than ability. In one study involving first-graders, students were given a difficult puzzle to solve. The researchers weren’t interested in whether or not the children could solve the puzzle; they simply wanted to see how long they would try before giving up. The American children lasted, on average, 9.47 minutes. The Japanese children lasted 13.93 minutes. In other words, the Japanese children tried 47 percent longer. Is it any wonder why they score higher on math exams? Researchers concluded that the difference in math scores might have less to do with intelligence quotient and more to do with persistence quotient. The Japanese first-graders simply tried harder.
Now do these stories tell us? Success is, more often than not, a product of persistence.  In the story of the persistent widow, the Bible was silent on what sort of injustice took place. Maybe her son was falsely imprisoned or maybe a man who molested her daughter was still walking free. Whatever injustice she was facing, it is apparent that the widow will not stop until the judge grants her the justice she is looking for. That is what makes her a circle maker.

In my previous post, i talked about dreaming big and praying bold prayers. Now here's the question we need to answer. How desperate are we for God to fulfill those dreams? How many times are you willing to lift that request up in prayer? How long are you willing to wait?

We all know that God is sovereign and the answers to our prayers do not depend on us. Ultimately, the answer will still be God's decision. But it is also up to us to show the Lord how serious we are with our request.

Pray like it depends on God (because it really does!)
If I tell you now that I know a person who can grant your deepest request, wouldn’t you be curious and immediately schedule an appointment with him?  Stop for a moment and consider this.  God CAN answer that desperate dream that we have.  Why aren't we constantly seeking the Lord for the answer?   If we do not pray and seek God like the miracle depends on Him, then our answers will always be out of our prayer reach.

In 1 Kings 18: 41-46, the Bible talked about a story of drought. Very similar to Honi's story.  Elijah went up to Mount Carmel to pray for rain. After each prayer, he would ask his servant to go and look out toward the sea and check for rain. When there was still no sign of rain, Elijah would pray again. He did this for seven times before God sent a terrific rainstorm.

This story reminded me of a story I previously shared about the Jericho Wall. The Israelites had to circle the wall of Jericho for seven days before they were able to break through the wall conquer the promised land. Similarly, there was no tangible difference after Elijah prayed for the first, second, third, until the sixth time. But he persisted until the Lord answered his request for rain after his seventh prayer.  Just like the Israelites, Elijah would have forfeited the miracle had he stopped praying on the sixth time.

Now in my prayer list, there are big and small items. I have a few friends who tell me that they only pray the big-ticket items so that God is no longer bothered by the smaller ones. Here's the next point that i want to share with you.
God is great not only because nothing is too big for Him.  He is also great because nothing is too small for Him.

The bible said that there is no sparrow that falls to the ground that the Lord does not know about. I recently found out that the maya bird is a type of sparrow. I guess the reason why the Lord used a sparrow to explain this point is because there are just a lot of sparrows in the world. With all the seemingly more important world events, can you imagine why God would even bother knowing each one of the sparrow?

A few weeks ago, our Pastor shared something with us that made me understand God's heart more.  The Bible says that the hairs on our head are numbered. The Lord did not say they are counted, but that they are numbered.  This means that when a hair falls, the Lord does not say "Minus 1 hair from Fan's head", the Lord will say "Hair #2546 has just fallen". Our hairs are numbered.

Isn't it amazing how God is into the details of our lives? There is nothing too big for him and yet there is also nothing too small for Him.  The Lord listens to all our concerns. May it be our parenting struggles, healing from a serious illness, career choice, or finding the love of our life.  The Lord is interested in all of them.

I urge all of you to pray through the tough times and not give up.  Because, who knows? You may just be a prayer away from the miracle you have been waiting for.

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