She sat across from me with her dimples blazing and her eyes of friendship sparkling. Many times, through the years our lunch dates had been a time of refreshing for both of us. There was trust, common ministry experiences, shared family vacations, funny husband stories and dilemmas to be solved. I could not ask for a better friend. Our drinks and food were ordered, and I had settled back, with a sigh of contentment knowing the next two hours would be worth every minute of time and money spent.
Our chatter slowed for a minute and then I heard her say, “ I am tired of praying!” Everything around me transferred to slow motion, the movement of the waitresses, the clanging of silverware and the icy swoosh of tea glasses being refilled.
I had never heard my friend declare she was tired of any thing that had to do with the kingdom of God. She was always ready for the next project or idea that would grow the church and glorify Jesus Christ.
‘It’s loud in here, I think I might have misunderstood what you said” I replied. Then she said it again, “I am tired of praying!” Wow! I never saw that coming from my role model of faith and prayer.
The waitress interrupted with our drinks and extra napkins. The she asked if we needed anything else before our food arrived. I nodded no and whispered, “Thank you”, wishing she could give me some wisdom to share with my friend.
“I started praying the moment I heard of a possible pandemic and what good has it done me? It’s everywhere! I pray for the frontline workers and daily, another servant dies. I pray for policemen who are trying to protect us, and they are wounded and killed without mercy. I pray for the innocent children who are having their young lives ended because of violence and selfish hatred. I pray for elected officials to have wisdom and understanding, and they spend their time, my time, trying to one up each other and win elections. I’m done! I am tired of praying and believing for a world bent on destruction!”
Our waitress stopped momentarily to say our food was almost ready and would be arriving soon. A faint smile crossed my face and she departed for the next table. I looked at my friend and realized she had expressed exactly the hidden thoughts of my heart. I too, was tired of praying.
Our food arrived and as we blessed it I asked the Father to give me wisdom to encourage myself and my friend.
I began, “We live in a broken world. Sin, sickness, and death entered during the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The perfect world was handed to Satan and he began a reign of terror and destruction. Jesus Christ paid the price for salvation for all who will repent and turn to him, but there are millions who have not. Their voices shout death and destruction and life contrary to the kingdom of God. We live in a broken world with opposing forces of good and evil working every minute of every day. Jesus taught us, as his disciples, to pray in Matthew 6:7-13 NLT, “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon? May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one.”
In heaven there is no corona virus, no killing, no hatred, no politics, no starvation, and no temptation from the evil one. Thus, we pray let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Sometimes when we get tired of praying it is because we pray incompletely using one or two of the four basic elements of prayer. The prayer of blessing and adoration, the prayer of petition, the prayer of intercession and the prayer of thanksgiving are the four basic elements. If we focus on petition and intercession, for everything that is wrong we grow weary. If we add blessing and adoration and thanksgiving we can see God and can thankfully give him our cares knowing he is able. This broken world becomes his responsibility and he is more than able!
Remember the story of Elijah in 1Kings 18? Elijah prayed seven times before the servant saw a wisp of a cloud in the distance. Elijah declared the rain is coming you better hurry home fast! It had been three years since rain and then it came in torrents. Sometimes it takes consistent, faith filled prayers to overcome!
Remember the persistent widow in Luke 18? She petitioned the unjust judge until he answered her request.
Remember in the Beatitudes we are told in verse 7-8 of Matthew 7 to “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asks receives; and to him that knocks it shall be open.”
I paused to finish the last few bites of my meal. I looked at my dear friend and asked “What shall we do this afternoon?” With a smile, a twinkle in her eyes and her dimples flashing she said, “Let’s go pray!”