Isaiah 30:18 “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.”
In spite of our lack of trust in God, failure to follow His Word, and looking elsewhere for our strength, support and wisdom, He longs, strongly desires, to be gracious to His people. He lifts Himself up to show us compassion and mercy. I discovered this verse recently during a Bible study lesson. It happened to be just after my youngest daughter had major surgery. Through this circumstance, as well as my mom and my husband also needing surgery within a few weeks time, God was gracious to answer every one of our prayers and then some. While I know this is not always the case, I believe He answered these prayers to show me and my family that He does long to be gracious to us. I have struggled with this in my prayer life because while I fully believe God can answer any of my prayers, I have not expected Him to answer them. I throw up my prayers hoping something sticks, and I am surprised when God actually answers. I realized Christmas morning that I have been praying about this for a while.
Every Christmas Eve, my family writes out a gift we would like to give to Jesus and one we would like to receive from Jesus. We put them in a box, and it is the first box we open Christmas morning. We read them out loud and pray before we begin opening the other presents. You would think that we would then pray throughout the year for our requests, but usually they get put away in the closet until the next year when we bring them out for review. While our intentions are good, we usually find that what we wanted to give Jesus ended up being more like New Year’s resolutions because we rarely follow through. However, Jesus is faithful to answer what we ask of Him. Of course, I had forgotten what I had prayed last year, so when I re-read it, I found that I had asked Jesus for a deeper prayer life and to not be surprised when He answers my prayers, but be surprised when He doesn’t. He has shown me through my circumstances and confirmed through His Word that He wants to answer our prayers. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11) We can pray knowing that God longs to be gracious to us. We can pray expecting Him to answer, and as we focus on God and His Word, our prayers will be more in line with His will. “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). God will put the desires in our hearts, and then He will fulfill them.
What help do you need from Jesus in your prayer life?
How has God’s Word strengthened your prayer life?