A few years ago, I came across the following acronym, Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H.). I keep the same sticky note I wrote it on next to my desk area. The stickiness has left the back, but scotch tape still keeps it in view. I thought about it as I read back over a blog entry, Did You Inquire?, and I started to wonder about a popular question that comes up in bible study.
How often should one pray to God about a specific situation? Do you pray one time and leave it alone? Can you continue praying about the same situation over and over again? If you do, are you showing a lack of faith? I think when folks read the following verse it bothers them whether or not it applies to them.
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. — Matthew 6:7 NKJV
The one word that stands out in this verse to me is “heathen.” According to Merriam-Webster, a heathen is an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible. If you read further down in Matthew 6, Jesus teaches the disciples (and us) how to pray (The Lord’s Prayer). He did not want us to merely throw words out into the atmosphere but to seek God with direction. With this prayer as our model, God desires us to seek him. We can refer to the parable below to read Jesus’ thoughts on persistance.
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. — Luke 18:1-5 NKJV
A few months ago while reading through Matthew, I observed a pattern in Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”– Matthew 26:39 NKJV
In verses 42 and 44, Jesus prayed a similar prayer for a second and third time. Clearly distressed about the prospects ahead, he prayed for God’s will to be done. By the third time, Jesus accepted the cup he had been given. He prayed until something happened. The Cross. The Resurrection. Our Salvation. We should shout that he did push forward in prayer.
God may not provide the answer we were expecting. The results of the “P.U.S.H.” may be more about us depending on Him. Paul had a similiar experience with a certain thorn.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NIV
Whatever you are going through, don’t forget to pray. Be determined to P.U.S.H. God’s answer may be totally unexpected.