When I said Good morning to Jesus today per my usual practice, something unusual happened: I saw an image of him looking the other way. Without thinking twice I raised my voice and tried to get his attention. Then when I took the time to think twice I wondered if it was a biblical idea for Jesus to not pay attention to me when I address him. Then a Scripture came to mind that told me it was biblical.
In Mark 6, the disciples are in a boat during a storm and Jesus is seen walking on the water. Verse 48 says, “he was about to pass by them.” But the disciples cried out in fear and at that moment Jesus spoke to them and climbed into the boat. The interesting thing about this story is that Jesus knew the disciples were struggling to get the boat to shore. The reason he walked on the water was to get their attention. Yet he would not do anything to help them until they got his attention.
Jesus is the answer to all our problems and he is always present to help in our times of need, but sometimes I think we take him for granted and simply assume that he is automatically going to step in and help. But sometimes we need to do something to get his attention. Sometimes it is not enough to just utter a quiet prayer. Sometimes we need to cry out to him or do something unusual that catches his attention.
Do you remember the persistent widow? In this parable the woman asked for justice against her adversary, but the judge paid no attention to her request. She did not give up. Instead, she kept pleading her case. This caught the judge’s attention and he eventually gave in and granted her request (Lk 18:2-5). Or what about the man who had an unexpected visitor and knocked on his friend’s door asking for bread? The friend had no desire to help him, but because he kept knocking, the friend got up and gave him bread.
The judge said the widow was bothering him (Lk 18:5). The friend said, “Don’t bother me” (Lk 11:7). Yet both of these people got what they wanted because they bothered to keep asking and refused to give up. You are never a bother to God, but even if you were, the Scripture tells us to keep bothering him until he responds and grants you your request, because persistence catches God’s attention.
Does God seem to be ignoring you when you pray? Do you sometimes think he is not paying attention to your needs? Perhaps this is a divine set-up designed to test your persistence. Are you willing to cry out as the disciples did? They feared they were about to die. Have you ever cried out like that? The lesson Jesus gives about the persistent widow is that when God’s people “cry out to him day and night, he will not “keep putting them off” (Lk 18:7). He will grant them their righteous requests. Are you willing to be persistent enough to catch God’s attention?
Have you cried out to God day and night for anything? Is your need great enough to be this persistent? I believe God’s delay in responding to us is sometimes a tactic to draw out of us a greater sense of desperation and a greater dependence upon him. When we put our whole heart into seeking him, then and only then do we find him (Jer 29:13).
When we cry out to God we tell him how desperate we are for him and that our whole trust is in him to deliver us, We don’t trust in man we don’t trust in our selves. God is our only hope. The disciples did not even know it was Jesus they were seeing on the water. They thought it was a ghost, which, according to “urban legend” of the day, meant they were about to die. They cried out in fear, not in faith, and Jesus, though mistaken for a ghost, still responded and entered their boat and rescued them. How much more will God respond to you, who are knowingly crying out to your God, and who are crying out in faith, knowing he is the only one who can save you?
Don’t give up. Keep seeking God. Whatever it is you want from him, keep asking and never give up, and he will grant you your request. That is his promise. I believe God is telling his church today to pursue Jesus with reckless abandon. To pursue with the intent of never giving up until we obtain the prize. I believe this is the attitude God wants us to have as we pursue revival and ask God for a Great Awakening in our country. It matters not how long we cry out to God, we will not cease, day or night, until we see God move in our midst like never before. Will you join me in persistently praying for an awakening in America until we catch God’s attention and he responds? It is not too late, but the need it urgent. Don’t give up on America. Let’s be persistent and see what God will do.