September 7, 2023
Pressing On When You Feel Like Giving Up
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“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” Mark 9:24 (NIV)
I had been praying for a family member for over four decades, yet I’d seen little or no progress.
Part of me wanted to give up. Another part of me knew to press on.
If you’ve been praying about something for years and have not seen any hint of an answer, I want to give you a holy hug right now — dear sister, I’ve been there. But what I want to tell you is that God is always working behind the scenes in ways we may never know on this side of heaven.
It’s natural to feel discouraged and disheartened when someone we love is facing a challenge and we feel helpless to do anything about it; however, that challenge could be the very detour God uses to draw our loved ones into a deeper relationship with Him. Praying for someone doesn’t mean that person will never struggle. It means we are calling on God to work miraculously even in the struggle.
There may be days, months, even years, when you feel discouraged because of the lack of fruit you see from your prayers. Your prayer might be, God, just give me one glimpse of hope! Show me something to let me know my prayers are really making a difference!
If so, friend, let God's Word remind you of what Jesus says: “My Father has been working until now [He has never ceased working], and I too am working” (John 5:17, AMP).
Our limited vision doesn’t always allow us to see how God is working in our lives, but we must have faith that He is. In fact, it may be in the moments when we sense Him or understand Him the least that He is working the most.
In the Bible, there’s a story about faith that starts with a distraught father whose son was possessed by a demon. The boy suffered greatly, throwing himself in fire and then in water, rolling on the ground, foaming at the mouth, and losing his ability to talk. His father even took the boy to Jesus' disciples for healing, but nothing seemed to work (Mark 9:17-22).
Then one day, the father boldly brought the boy to Jesus and, with desperation surely in his voice, cried, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (Mark 9:22b, NIV).
And Jesus answered, “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23b, NIV).
Immediately the father cried out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
Upon that profession, Jesus healed the man’s son (Mark 9:25-29).
Oh, how this story stirs my heart. Can’t you feel the father’s pain? How desperate he must have felt every time his child, under the influence of the impure spirit, threw himself into water or fire. Why? he must have asked. I don’t understand …
Imagine the humiliating stares and the whispers this man and his son may have heard as they walked down the streets. Don’t you know there were probably many days when this dad wanted to give up? Instead, his faith offers us a beautiful picture of the ultimate act of surrender in parenting: handing our children over to God.
Parenting, and life in general, comes with exhilarating highs and excruciating lows. At times we find ourselves at the end of our mental and emotional resources. Sometimes we feel we’ve done everything humanly possible and don’t know the best action to take. That’s exactly where God wants us to be — in a position where we depend not on our own limited strength and ability but on His limitless power and divine sovereignty.
Prayer is an extraordinary, powerful force. So let’s not give up! Keep praying. God is always working. I believe some of our most magnificent moments with God will happen when, in His perfect timing, we get to see the connection between our prayers and His answers.
Lord, I cry out with the father in our scripture today, “I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.” When I don’t see any progress from my prayers, help me remember that You are always working behind the scenes in ways that I may never know this side of heaven. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (NIV).
What does Luke 11:5-10 teach us about the importance of persistence regarding prayer? Leave a comment with the name or initials of one person you are committing to continue praying for no matter what.
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