I am a huge sports fan – I mainly still follow the teams I have followed since the early 1970’s including the New York Jets. More recently I have become a Tim Tebow fan. As you football fans know, Tebow just “Tebowed” the Jets on Thursday night and I have to admit something: I found myself actually rooting for Tebow as he led his team on an improbable 95 yard drive to win the game. I can’t explain rooting against the team I have been following for 40 years except to say the Tim Tebow (Tim Tebow) story is a great story to follow – it is hard not to be a fan.
If you research his past you find a common theme: In high school he was told he would never play QB at a major college. After he got to the University of Florida he was told he would never be successful. After winning two National Championships and the Heisman Trophy he was told he would not be a 1st round pick. After being a 1st round pick he was told he would never play QB in the NFL and would have to switch to another position. Now after being a starting QB and having a 4-1 record this season as a starter he is being told his success will not last. The common theme is that Tim never accepted no for an answer.
Does this apply to our prayers? Should we ever take no for an answer? This is another tricky issue with prayer. On one hand we are to pray without giving up – Luke 18:1 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Jesus then told the disciples The Parable of the Persistent Widow.
On the other hand as Andy Stanley recently talked about in the “When God” series, God may choose not to answer our prayers. One of the examples Andy used in this great series was the death of John the Baptist from Matthew 11. After Herod put John in prison, John thought Jesus, his cousin, would rescue him. After his prayers were not answered John sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Basically meaning “If you are the messiah why haven’t you gotten me out of prison? Should I place my faith in someone else?”
Jesus answered John: “Blessed is the man who does fall away on account of me.” Jesus was telling John that even though I have not answered your prayers still believe in me, still trust me. Or as God told Paul while Paul was struggling with a thorn in his flesh; 2 Corinthians 12:8 – 9: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you.””
So what are the lessons?
- Never give up in your prayers – He wants us to pray always.
- You can trust Him even if He is not answering your prayers – He knows what He is doing.
- His grace is sufficient in all situations – He provides what we need.
On a personal note I have prayed for something for the past 2 years and God did not answer my prayer – I am starting to understand I just need to trust Him and rely on His grace – that is all I need.
In His Service,