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It's Been A Long Time
by Joanne Sher
10/12/2007 / Christian Living
I've heard it said that it is much more difficult to bring an adult unbeliever to Christ than a child. Statistically, about 80 percent of adult Christians accepted Christ before the age of 21. A good majority of effective evangelistic programs are, therefore, geared toward young people.
It is also true that, demographically speaking, Jews are much harder to evangelize, and come to Christ in much smaller numbers proportionally, than people of other religions. Organizations like Jews for Jesus and Friends of Israel state that it can take years to convince the most marginal of Jews to even consider Christ. Their aversion to Jesus is often taught from childhood, and it is hard to get past.
It's a good thing God isn't limited by statistics. Both my husband and I, raised Jewish, became born-again believers in our early 30's.
I often wonder if some of my Christian friends from the past got frustrated with my unwillingness to accept Christ. Did they tire of praying for me when their petitions seemed to be going unanswered? Did they give up on me? Did they look at the statistics and throw up their hands, figuring it wasn't meant to be?
I must admit that I sometimes react similarly to seemed unanswered prayer. My reactions were not always related to a friend or family member's salvation, of course. Whether it was my husband's health issues, teaching my children to obey, or finding just the right place for group Bible study, I will sometimes get frustrated with not seeing my prayers answered when I want them answered, or how I want them answered. I've gone through times when I've stopped praying for a certain request not because I felt like my prayer had been answered, but because I was tired of waiting.
I'm sure there were people praying faithfully for my and my husband's salvation for years and years before it happened. I am also certain that practically every Christian has something a health issue, a personal struggle, a relational problem that they have been praying about for a long time, without visible results.
Of course, God's answers to our prayers may never be what we want. Perhaps, in God's wisdom, we aren't meant to have children, or perfect health, or the job we want. Yet, the more we pray, the closer we get to God, and the more we see things from God's perspective. He may not answer our prayer as we want, but, perhaps, he will change our heart.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul gives his advice for handling worries, whether short- or long-term. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."(Philippians 4:6-7)
Note that this verse does not promise that your prayer will be answered how you want it answered only that you will have God's peace about it.
Regardless, frustration with unanswered prayer is not a valid reason to stop praying, no matter how long you've been waiting. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12)
God's timing is perfect. Simply believe that He is in control, and your prayer will be answered: perhaps with a changed circumstance or maybe with a changed attitude.
All scripture is from the NIV
(c) Joanne Sher 2011
Joanne Sher is a Christian writer saved out of Judaism, traveling rough roads with God's strength. She loves to blog, encourage, write, and spend time with her family. Learn more about her at http://www.joannesher.com.
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Thank you for reminding me to keep praying at all times for all things. What a well-written, well-organized article!
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