When Persistence Yields No Fruit
Saleama A. Ruvalcaba
How many sermons have you heard and you’re told; “don’t give up, keep prayer, keep believing.” If you’ve followed my blog for a while you’ll notice I’ve had a pattern lately. And that is for us to understand how to pray to God. We have too many messages that inspire us, yet are not challenging. We have too many messages that tell us to keep praying because faithful prayers will be answered. Well, what if God isn’t planning to answer your prayers? What if you’ve prayed the same prayer for weeks, months or even years, yet God has already decided He will not answer it? Wouldn’t you feel cheated? Afterall, God does say to be persistent in your prayers;
Luke 18:1 “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” Read verses 2-8 to see how Jesus explains the importance of persistent prayers.
But here is the puzzling question; why would God tell us to be persistent in prayers, yet not answer our prayers? People seem to forget that when God instructs us to be persistent in prayer, He is also teaching us how to pray. If your prayers are not being answered, maybe it is because you lack the knowledge of how to pray.
John 14:12-13 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have done, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
Jesus glorified the Father while He was on earth, therefore, His disciples, you, and me, are to continue to glorify God while on earth. When prayer does nothing to glorify God He will not answer those prayers. If whatever we ask for from God does not glorify God – it’s sinful. There is no light, only darkness. God’s presence, His greatness, His glory will not shine through anything we seek for our own self-serving interest. And God will not twist and turn your self-centered motives into His glory. You can pray for hours a day, the same prayer over and over. When your aim in on yourself and not God – He will not answer. When your heart is rooted on yourself, God will not move until you repent and seek His purpose – for His glory. God cannot be glorified if glory is not the center of our prayers. Jesus has given us a new life. Jesus gave glory to God, therefore, when Jesus lives in us – we too live to give God glory.
I saw a popular video circulating on the internet. It was of a famous preacher’s daughter preaching on how God will use us. Why was the video so popular? Probably because it was centered purely on ourselves. She spoke on how God cannot use us when we get in God’s way. “God cannot give you a promotion at your job, she said, because you’re in the way.” Yes, God promotes us at work, and He gives favor in various situations. But here is where this preacher’s daughter went wrong; she ended it with us. The job promotion she was referring to had nothing to do with God’s glory. It had only to do with the individual – which in turn is self-centered. I was at church and the preacher preached a New Year message on staying focused on your dreams. He presented an inspirational video that featured athletes and how hard they work for their dreams. Again, God will bless persistence, but again, this preacher ended it with us – the individual. It had nothing to do with glorifying God. So the hundreds of people combined who heard these two messages went home to pray for God to bless them in the same way. They pray – and pray – and pray – and pray, yet no answer. They were not taught that their heart must have God at the center and their prayers must first and foremost seek the glory of God – not the glory of themselves!
1 Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t follow Christian leaders/teachers/pastors based on their followers. I don’t care how big your church is, if you’re on T.V., if you’ve sold millions of books, if you have millions of followers on Facebook and Twitter. Spare me with all the trivial man-made influences. How many hours a day do you spend conversing with God before you teach His Word? Now don’t get me wrong. I am respectful to those in authority. I just don’t flock to leaders based on their numbers. Too many of us are influenced by the wrong kind of teachings, and we are unknowingly angry with God. Spending time with God in prayer, seeking His wisdom, He will teach us how to pray. We don’t have to rely on someone else’s knowledge to understand God. He is here for us all. He is here for you. If you feel you are persistent, yet not yielding any fruit – seek the Lord. Get alone with Him. Studying His Word. Pray and ask for His wisdom. Don’t ask for anything else. Praise Him. Worship Him. Ask Him to help you understand His will. And in that, you will give glory to your Father in heaven.