This is a good article on prayer by Charles Spurgeon. It is taken from Spurgeon's Morning & Evening Devotional:
"Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you" (Isaiah 30:18).
God often DELAYS IN ANSWERING PRAYER. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day-he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that "the thorn in the flesh" might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but instead thereof a promise that God's grace should be sufficient for him. If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in?
Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that he may the more fully display the riches of his grace to thee at last. Thy prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication.
"Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road" (Mark 10:46-52).
1. Be Persistent
Blind Bartimaeus was persistent in his prayers. He did not give up after his first cry of mercy to the Lord Jesus. Though he was not heard the first time, yet he was persistent in his cry until the Lord heard him and answered his prayers. Jesus said: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). God wants us to keep asking; to keep seeking; and to keep knocking. The Lord Jesus said that the man who came to his friend at midnight (Luke 11:5-8) was heard because of “his persistence” (Luke 11:8).
2. Be Persevering
Blind Bartimaeus persevered in his prayers despite many obstacles around him. He overcame all discouragements of people around him that tried to hinder him from crying out to the Lord Jesus for healing. The bible says that we are to pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication” (Eph. 6:18) and that we ought to “continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2).
3. Be Specific
Blind Bartimaeus was specific in his prayers. He told the Lord Jesus what he desired. The Lord Jesus asked him “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) and Blind Bartimaeus answered “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight ” (Mark 10:51). We need to be specific in our prayers. Though God knows everything we need before we ask (Matt. 6:8) yet God wants his children to come with specific needs crying out “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).
4. Be Believing
Blind Bartimaeus had faith that the Lord Jesus was able to heal him. If he did not have faith, he would not have bothered to cry out to the Lord Jesus. Jesus told Blind Bartimaeus, before healing him, that “your faith has made you well” (Mark 10:52). Even so we need to have faith in the prayer-answering and prayer-hearing God. Jesus said “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24). God does not like unbelief in His people and often does not work when there is unbelief in His people (Matt. 13:58; James 1:5-8). The bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
5. Be Thankful
Blind Bartimaeus was thankful after he received his healing from the Lord Jesus. He did not forget His benefits. He was not like those nine lepers who turned away and quickly forgot what the Lord Jesus did to them (Luke 17:11-19). We read in the second account of the story of Blind Bartimaeus in Luke 18:43 that after he received his sight, Bartimaeus followed the Lord Jesus “glorifying God and all the people when they saw it, gave praise to God” (Luke 18:43). Even so we ought to be thankful. The bible says when we come to God in prayer we are to bring our thanksgiving also. We read in Philippians 4:6-7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Written by the editor of www.georgemuller.org
Written by the Editor of GeorgeMuller.org