Good Life

Clergy Column | The Rev. Valerie Delooze

I learned in school that we should learn things seven times because we will probably forget them six times. And in Luke 11: 5-13, Jesus does not tell us seven times, but he does give us the message about persistent prayer at least four times. And we should read that passage over and over again, lest we should forget it.

Jesus says that prayer involves asking, seeking and knocking, and that we should not give up praying. Have you ever knocked on someone’s door, feeling sure that they are at home, but not gotten a response? You might be ready to give up after knocking several times, but then that person opens the door. That is how it is with prayer sometimes, and you must not give up. God answers prayer at exactly the right time, even though we sometimes do not think that. Remember Daniel: He was praying and fasting for three weeks before the angel of the Lord came in answer to his prayer (Daniel 10).

Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He always answers prayer— always in the best way and at the right time. We just do not always recognize that.

We need to surrender our life to God. God answers prayers of those who truly follow him. We are his disciples, walking in the spirit’s control and in total obedience.

Perhaps if our prayers are not being answered, we need to check the attitudes of our hearts. Prayer is the surrender to the will of God. Prayer will assist us to do God’s will and not attempt to have him do our will. God cannot answer prayer if we still have not surrendered ourselves to him with confession and repentance (Psalms 66:18-19).

Jesus said in Matthew 11:25, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” This does not mean that you can do what you want and ask for whatever you want in whatever circumstances. It is always “according to God’s will,” not our own selfishness.

Let us look at each and every day with an attitude of doing whatever God has for us that day and offer ourselves to him for his work. Be persistent in your prayer. Do not give up. Do not hold on to sin in your heart. Forgive others, repent and follow Jesus, and he will listen to your prayers.

God bless you all.