Encouragement for Today - September 17, 2012


Rachel Olsen

September 17, 2012

Always Pray {And Don't Give Up}
Rachel Olsen

"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." Luke 18:1 (NIV)

bam, bam ... bam, bam, bam, bam, bam ... bam ... bam, bam

The noise slowly fills my consciousness.

What is that?

I rub my eyes and look at the clock: 5:51 AM.

Sounds like ... hammering. Who is hammering something at 6 o'clock in the morning? Outside? On a Saturday?

I get up and peer through the blinds, straining on my tiptoes to see through the branches to my neighbor's backyard. And I wonder, should I see someone hammering will I walk out there - pink jammies, tousled hair and all - and say something about poor timing?

I'm really not very confrontational that way. But nor am I a morning person.

bam, bam, bam, bam ... bam ... bam, bam

I wake my husband Rick with my movement at the window, the rising sunlight breeching the bedroom.

"Do you hear that noise? What is that, Rick? It sounds like hammering—at 6 o'clock in the morning!"

Rick listens then announces confidently, "It's a woodpecker."

Anticipating my response he adds, "You can't stop him."

I can't stop him? That sounds like a challenge. As Rick drifts back into dreams, I head to the backyard to find this bird. I spot it hanging off the side of my house, pelting holes into the wood trim by my bedroom window.

I try scaring it away. I scream at it. I throw sticks toward it. Don't worry, animal lovers, I throw like a girl.

It turns out Rick was right, I couldn't stop the bird.

The woodpecker returned over several days. At first, I continued my antics. Parading onto the back patio in the dawn to scream and throw things at a bird. The woodpecker remained undeterred. Occasionally he'd fly off to a neighboring tree only to fly back and peck the side of my house again once I returned to my pillow.

So finally, I granted him the right to peck in peace. It's not what I wanted to do, but he wore down my resistance. He was unstoppable.

Interestingly enough, Jesus told a story of a woman who had woodpecker-like faith. Woodpecker-like persistence. You just couldn't stop her.

With the parable in Luke 18:1-8 Jesus teaches His disciples to always pray and never give up:

He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'

"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually come and attack me!'

"And the Lord said, 'Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?'" (vs. 2-8 NIV)

The woman came to this judge so often and so boldly that he thought she would slap wear him out!

Is that us? Do we constantly seek God, asking Him repeatedly in faith for what we need?

Jesus didn't speak of this judge to portray God as unwilling or easily exhausted—the judge doesn't represent God in this story. Jesus was saying that if an unjust judge would eventually grant the request of this woman, how much more will our gracious Father grant His children's requests!

God is willing to answer—to help, to restore, to vindicate and redeem. But we must have faith. And we must ask Him. Sometimes—oftentimes—repeatedly.

You and I need the kind of faith that will not give up. The kind of faith you just cannot stop. The kind of faith that prays always.

We need woodpecker faith.

Dear Lord, hear my prayers today about _________ and thank You in advance for Your answers. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Rachel's blog for more help in praying and not giving up.

It's No Secret: Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen

Reflect and Respond:
What prayer would you like answered? What injustice do you need righted?

Persist in prayer for this today, tomorrow, this week ... as long as it takes.

Power Verses:
Mark 9:22b-23, "'But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.' 'If you can?' said Jesus. 'Everything is possible for one who believes.'" (NIV)

© 2012 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Originally published Monday, 17 September 2012.