Blog/CYM Blog

Persistent Prayer

I love the boldness of Abraham in the first reading today (Genesis 18:20-32). His negotiation skills are on point. But what impresses me the most is his persistence and how he relentlessly seeks justice from God when he says, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. What if…?”

How many times has my prayer pressed upon the Lord in a repetitive, tireless manner like Abraham or even the friend who constantly knocks on the door for a loaf of bread in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 11:1-13)? How many times have I said a novena for the same intention or pleaded the same prayer during Mass? But then, how often have I just stop asking, knocking, or seeking the Lord because I didn’t think He was listening to my prayer?

This need for persistent prayer resonates in my heart while reading today’s Word because of the example of two friends who prayed without ceasing for a child. For ten years this couple lived in a place of longing for the Lord, more than their longing for a baby. Now their relationship with God is stronger, richer, and more fruitful, overflowing in the lives of everyone they encounter.

I watched this couple wait with hope for years. They held onto hope to place an infant in a pink and yellow baby blanket given to them as a wedding gift with a card that read, “Save this for your first child.” I witnessed their ache turn them from a young couple into one so deeply in love for Christ and His bride, the Church, that they proclaimed hope to everyone they encounter. Not hope for their desires or will; rather, hope that God’s will be done in their lives and the lives of those they serve and love.

The weight of waiting can cripple us if we allow it to. It can cause anxiety, loneliness, feelings of abandonment, or even depression. Waiting for a child, spouse, job, diagnosis, healing, reconciliation, or even our next meal to be provided can be heartbreaking. But when we offer our greatest longings to the Lord, we find hope.

Brittany explained it beautifully this past December in a blog entitle, The Weight of Waiting when she wrote about her longing for a child:

“But that time has not yet come, and our hearts are full with the weight of this waiting. Some days the weight seems heavier than normal. Those are the days when the tears flow reckless, and hope seems to shrink to a quiet lull, but it’s always there, that hope. Always. Sometimes it shouts at us in manic hysteria. Other times it whispers into the deepest recesses of our longing. But it is there — He is there. Hope, waiting to be unearthed.”

For my friends Brittany and David, living in the longing and allowing the Lord to bear the weight of their waiting fortified their relationship with God. They never terminated their prayer. They perpetually asked, sought, and knocked on the doors of heaven. Regardless if the longing for a child was fulfilled, the Lord responded with wisdom, knowledge, and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives. The game of hide and seek ended with an embrace found in the Eucharist and a reinforced Sacramental grace given to them on their wedding day. Finally, God opened doors once closed in their hearts so they could receive the most precious gift of love our heavenly Father can give; their baby boy, Judah.

All of us desire something from God. We are all seeking to understand Him more, and the constant knocking is why He never get’s any rest. But we must know that He wants to fulfill our deepest desires as only He can, and in His time. And how He satisfies our greatest hunger might look different than our image of satisfaction.

So the question begs to be asked: what do you long for from the Lord? Do you recognize how your persistent prayer is evolving your relationship with God? Is it strengthening you in wisdom and knowledge of God’s will for your life? Is your constant prayer increasing your longing for the Lord? I hope so.

britanddavid

Image via Joy Theory Co, Logo added

About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.