Psalm 145:17-21 (NIVUK)
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfils the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.
This has nothing whatever to do with the Coronavirus so that’s your opportunity to exit if that’s what you want, but if you want to hear of God’s faithfulness read on. Today is 29th April I’m sure in the history of the world there is a significant event somewhere that took place on this date or a famous person who was born or died on this date. This morning as I wrote the date in the book I use for my own devotional jottings I got no further, not yet anyway, because my mind went back to this day 43 years ago and if that’s too hard for you to work out at this time of day the year was 1977.
It was a Friday evening and St Andrew’s, my home congregation was nearing the end of a two week mission as the church did in those days. If you’ve jumped the gun and think, oh here goes, he’s going to tell us about his conversion, I’m not for I had been a Christian for about a year and three months at the time. No the story I hope will encourage you especially if you are praying for someone and have been for a while.
A few days before this date I had finally plucked up the courage to invite a friend and his girlfriend, later to be his wife to the mission; I had been praying for them for some time and was convinced that they would come to know and trust in Jesus. The speaker gave a particularly powerful address that evening and I felt deeply moved to rededicate myself to Jesus but during the last hymn there was a struggle going on internally and it came down to this.... I was so convinced that God had spoken to them but I felt he needed a hand so I reasoned that if I made a move to go to the front they would follow. I went, they stayed and I was deeply disappointed. God had failed me and I was confused.
It ended well however, for within a short period of a year or 18 months they had come to faith through the ministry of their own church. As I thought about it years later and again this morning a number of things occur to me. My conviction wasn’t wrong God was at work in their hearts but as is often the case our timing and his don’t coincide, in our impatience we’re inclined to run ahead. What I had tried to do by that show of commitment on my part was force God’s hand, not a clever thing to do!
Many years later as an assistant minister in Rathcoole church my boss said something that I’ve never forgotten but still at times find frustrating “ when the fruit is ripe it will fall” meaning that when God the Holy Spirit has completed his work hearts will yield naturally without my help.
If the conviction to pray for someone is fresh in your heart then have patience and continue to pray. Why? Because God is faithful and he does answer those who call on him in truth (verses 17&18 above). Ask for wisdom to know what to pray for, ask for patience to wait for God’s time, ask for perseverance in prayer and faith to sustain you. “The Lord fulfils the desires of those who fear him.” V19. Ask that your will may be conformed to His will for His glory.
Lord today, grant me wisdom that what I ask in prayer will conform to your will. Give me patience to persist in prayer and give me the gift of faith to continue to trust you even when there is no outward sign to encourage me. In Jesus name I pray. AMEN
Faithful God (Chris Bowater)