We have a cat (his name is Ivan in case you needed to know, which you didn’t), who routinely hates me. No, seriously! The only times he’s decent to me are when he’s sleepy and (sometimes) when he’s hungry and wants me to feed him. All other times he is far more inclined to make all sorts of awful angry sounds at me. However, this same spoiled, nasty-tempered creature puts me to shame in one area. Perseverance. He’s as persistent as a hungry mosquito at midnight. If I refuse to feed him, he comes and sits on my books and stands on my lap so I can’t see around him. Any time I make the slightest hint of getting up and feeding him he’s off to the food dish with a squawk to remind me where I’m supposed to go. If I don’t obey his wishes, it’s back on my desk or in my face. Yep, he’s got the annoying persistence thing down pat.
The cat reminds me of the story story of the widow in Luke 18 (verses 1 through 8).
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
After having been annoyed to death by a hungry cat, I can well believe this persistence thing works. But whether I’ve practiced it is an entirely different matter. How many times do I promise to pray for someone and then forget after one or two times? Several times Jesus stresses the importance of persistence in prayer. It’s not just a maybe – sometimes if we want answered we need to keep asking, keep hammering on the door until it is opened. There’s no reason to feel shy about annoying the daylights out of God by persistent prayer, because He kind of did tell us to.
And the cat puts me to shame with how well he does that! Honestly, if I prayed as persistently as that cat asks for his ‘daily bread’ (aka cat food), I’d be pretty well off in the prayer department. I guess that’s something I need to practice. There’s no reason for me to shyly petition God through the peephole in the gate. It’s time to learn to hammer incessantly on the doors and windows.
(As a side note, little brothers that want played with are also good examples of persistence. 😉 )