The simple answer; just one more water droplet. In a cloud , the water droplets are tossed around, colliding with each other and coalescing to become an even bigger water droplet. Eventually, just one more droplet is added, and that becomes the tipping point, at which they have now become so heavy that gravity wins the battle and they are pulled down to earth. And the power of the water is unleashed....
All of this makes me think of our prayers.
Have you ever prayed, and prayed, and prayed for something or someone, and you just don't see anything happening? I know I have. For over 20 years, I had prayed about a particular relationship in my life. Twenty years is a long time. Long enough to make one wonder any of a number of things:
- Maybe this thing I am praying about is not God's will
- Maybe the answer is NO
- Maybe I am supposed to live with this, as the apostle Paul did with his thorn in the flesh
- and our list of 'maybes' and doubts begin to creep in
Perhaps it is the nature of the fast paced, instant gratification, instant information age in which we live, that we tend to give up too easily. After all, we want what we want, when we want it, and that is often now, right now. Patience and persistence are not words we really like, because they both require a great deal of effort, and perhaps frustration on our part.
God gives us many instructions about prayer in His word. One of them is about persistence. Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray. He teaches them, what we call the Lord's prayer. But then he goes further in Luke 11 and tells them a story about a man who goes to a friends house at midnight, pounding on the door, asking him for food. The friend doesn't answer the door, but tells him to go away, saying in effect, it's too late, we are all in bed. Then Jesus tells us this
"I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs. And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock, and it shall be given to you." Luke 11: 8-9
Notice he doesn't say how long to ask, or seek or knock...just to do it!
And again in Luke, Jesus tells a parable about being persistent in prayer
"And He was telling them a parable to show them at all times, they ought to pray and not lose heart". Luke 18: 1 And then Jesus tells the story of a widow who went to a judge asking for protection from her opponents. And she didn't go just once, she KEPT on going to this judge. The judge was unwilling to help her, but because of her persistence, he gave her the legal protection she was after. Luke 18: 1-8
Psalms 40: 1 says
"I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry"
We are told to pray, to be persistent and patient. Just like the ONE more water droplet added to a cloud is the tipping point, to unleash the power of the rain, we don't know if ONE more prayer is the tipping point, unleashing the power behind all our prayers. It is as if they all go into holding tank, and then finally that one more prayer is what causes the holding tank to spill forth.
As I said earlier, I had prayed for 20 years for a particular situation/relationship in my life. I had reached the point of thinking the answer was No, 'My grace is sufficient for you'. And then in the most unusual and challenging way,
God answered that prayer...20 years later. And it was beyond what I could have imagined and better than I had hoped for.
You may be thinking, but how do we know when to quit praying a particular prayer or to keep on praying it. That is hard to answer. But if you are plugged into His word on a regular basis, and have an honest, seeking heart, I believe you will know. For me, I never had a feeling within that my prayer had been answered. I
think I would have accepted NO as the answer, as I have with many other prayers, but I just never felt the NO in this particular prayer. I felt NOT YET. Often, it is the NOT YET answers that test us. The NOT YET answers test our patience and persistence.
But remember, our Savior's words "Don't lose heart". We never know, if that one more prayer...one more drop of water...is the tipping point to release His power.
Keep praying my blog world friends, keep praying!
If you want to know more of prayer, to become better and more persistent in prayer, you might want to download the Bible study on this web site titled, "Lord, teach us to pray". I am in the process of adding one chapter every week or two, but 8 chapters are available to download now.