“Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” –Luke 18:1
A great many people get discouraged in praying because the answer does not come at once. It should be settled in the mind, first, that God always hears the true prayer, and that he will always sendan answer, though it may not always be the answer we desire. He never despises nor disregards the cry of one of his children; but sometimes for wise reasons he delays his answer. Perhaps it cannot be prepared at once. God’s plans reach out widely, and he works slowly. Look at Joseph in Egypt — a slave, then a prisoner. No doubt he was praying every day for release; and he may have thought at times that the answer was long in coming. But when it came, he could see that one reason for delay was that all things might be gotten ready. It took years to prepare the answer that came at last with such blessing.
Or the reason of God’s delay may be to draw out our faith, to increase our earnestness. The story of the Syrophenician woman illustrates this. At first Jesus “answered her not a word”, but it was for her sake that he kept her waiting. She received a far better answer at last than she could have received at first. Suppose she had “fainted” after her first apparent repulse, think what she would have lost.
No doubt thousands of prayers are never answered because men faint at God’s delay. Perhaps you have lost many a joy and blessing because you lost heart and faith before the answer came. A little longer patient perseverance would have brought you a great reward. After spending thousands of dollars in drilling for oil, the operator became discouraged and sold out for a trifle. The purchaser started the drill, and in six hours found a flowing well. We see what “fainting” cost the first owner. Many Christians lose heart just when the answer is about to be granted.