How many times have you asked God for something one time and never asked for it again?
I know that I’ve done this before. We live in an instant gratification time and we want everything to happen right now. We end up frustrated when the internet is slow, when the person in drive-thru takes too long, when someone doesn’t move when the light turns green. Waiting is frustrating!
Let’s look at a few Bible verses. We see Jesus say that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we can move mountains (Luke 17:6). Then we see Jesus frustrated with His disciples for having little faith, saying “Oh you of little faith!”
If we look at the word Jesus uses for “little” in those verses He isn’t talking about the size of our faith, He is dealing with the short length of their faith. The Greek word literally means little in number, or low in quantity. The problem is not the size of their faith, rather the occurrence of it. The disciples had faith that could move mountains for a second, then it faded away. When they didn’t see immediate action following their prayer they lost their faith.
In (Luke 18:1-5) we find Jesus teaching His disciples to pray persistently and never give up. Jesus explains that there is a widow and every day she is going before the judge demanding justice. Since God is more loving and cares about us more than the judge in the parable, we can, and should, expect God to move when we pray, but we still need the persistent faith.
What is the reason behind that? How can God claim to love us so much and care about our prayers, yet not answer them immediately?
One reason for this is that God wants us to grow. God is not a vending machine God. If we received everything instantly we wouldn’t be ready for it and we wouldn’t be able to sustain the blessings. God does not want to bless us with things that we are unable to sustain. You can research lottery winners and find that most of them end up worse off than before! God doesn’t want us to win the lottery, He wants us to build true, sustainable, wealth.
God is interested in doing what is best for us, not what we assume will make us happy. God wants to build great people with great character. That building takes consistency, time, and dedication. An instant gratification God would create whiny, entitled children. God is looking to build people with a capacity to hope against hope; to have faith when everything is falling apart.
You can cook a steak in the microwave. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?
God want us to be thankful and appreciate what He does for us. There is a power of appreciation that is created and fueled over time. The truth is, you will take much better care for a car or house that you saved up and patiently waited for. Yes, you would appreciate a free car but it will never have the same value, fading over time.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16
A great way to ensure you stay thankful and give credit to God is to track your specific prayers. If I am asking God for a job there is a high chance that if I get a new job next year God will receive little to no credit. Now let’s say that I am praying for a sales manager job in Los Angeles, working for Audi, that pays $120,000 per year. When God answers that prayer He is going to get all of the honor. There is no way that happened without God opening the doors.
Think about how much more you would appreciate that job!
When God moves and does something for us He desires and deserves the credit and honor.
Jesus went on and asked His followers if He will find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8) Yet not just any faith, He is looking for people that have faith that is sustainable, unshakable, and persistent!