Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1)
Alvin J. Vander Greind shares the following story in Discipleship Journal:
Johnny Jones, living in a middle-class suburb in central California, committed to pray for five blessings on five neighbors for five minutes a day for five weeks. And surprising things began to happen. One neighbor asked him how she could have a personal relationship with Christ. When Johnny shared the gospel with her she accepted Christ as her Savior. A drug-dealing neighbor asked Johnny to pray for him to turn his life around and get out of the drug business. A Buddhist couple from across the street asked if they could go to church with Johnny’s family. And another couple from across the street asked him to start a Bible Study for the neighborhood. Johnny’s prayers provided God the opportunity He was looking for to work in the hearts and lives of Johnny’s neighbors.
The original “Walking Tall” movie premiered in 1973, with a remake hitting the silver screen in 2004. The plot is simple: a tough sheriff has made it his mission to clean up—and clean out—a town overrun with gross licentiousness. In short, he went to war. His primary weapon? A really big stick.
Prayer, at its core, is war…..but this is spiritual war. A war already won. And our primary weapon? It’s also a big stick: the Cross.
But, as I heard a preacher once say, “God’s will isn’t always worked out in a weekend.” But, this is precisely why Jesus encourages us in the scripture cited above: Don’t. Give. Up.
Biblically, there is no such thing as “unanswered prayer.” The answer is either, “yes, no, or wait.” It’s the “wait” that makes us wonder if God heard us. However, we have this encouraging truth in Daniel 9:23: [The angel, Gabriel, said to Daniel], “As soon as you began to pray an answer was given.” Translation: our prayers invite Almighty God into our battles, and He “accepts our invitation” immediately.
The true story of Johnny Jones reminds us that when we pray – “and not give up”, as Jesus said — it’s like a supernatural hydrogen bomb has been dropped into the enemy’s base camp! James wrote (cited above), “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. (5:16b—Amplified)
Dutch theologian, Henri Nouwen, once wrote, “It may seem that nothing happens when you pray. But when you stay with a routine, over time you realize that something has happened.”
Paul wrote, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick