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New year brings me to my knees

New year brings me to my knees

New year brings me to my knees

27 February 2018

Photo: Matias Rengel

By Catriona Murray

I was asked this week which of my prayers had gone unanswered. The question really unsettled me.

It has always been my belief that God does not let sincere prayer go unanswered. Sometimes he might say, “wait a while”, or “no, that’s not best for you”, but I don’t think he ever ignores our petitions. For one thing, they are too precious to him.

But I do have things which I bring before him continually. For most Christians, the first thing on that list would be for their loved ones to know Jesus as their Saviour. And for many, spiritual revival will also be a priority. Most Christians pray for those things ... but I wonder whether we have artificially separated them in our hearts, as well as in our supplication to God.

What I’m saying is that when we pray for our family to be saved, we don’t mean them exclusively; we probably just mean them particularly. In reality, a general spiritual awakening which would include those we know and care for, well, that would be better still, surely. How much more generous are prayers which are expansive in their concern? What largeness of heart it takes to pray for salvation in those we do not know, or perhaps especially those with whom we are acquainted, but do not yet love.

Once you have prayed for someone, there is a bond created. I think that is how the Lord strengthens the love his people have, one for the other. He moves us to pray for each other and, once we have, that kind concern is marked indelibly on our hearts. 

Revival for our community, for our country, for our world, has to be willed by God. But we surely have a part to play in readying ourselves for it. It is not a small thing we are asking for, and so we should not behave as though it is. God has shown us that he is listening. The waiting is not a divine refusal, but evidence that he hears, and wants to hear more.

Words are easily spent. I have prayed for revival, really meaning it, but more often than not I have prayed the words to fill a silence. That isn’t what God wants; and it shames me to admit that’s what I give him. He wants the earnestness of heart I bring to supplication which directly affects me; that is how I should be petitioning the Lord for our community.

It’s exhausting being concerned for people who have no thought of their own spiritual welfare. A few months ago, I heard this mentioned in a sermon as one of the things that can  wear the Christian down in their own walk. And it’s true. I can testify to the frustration and even heart-break of trying to bring Christ before people who still want to spit in his face.
They pretend it’s all part of this relentless march towards freedom and tolerance, but it’s really their own bigotry dressed up in fancy clothes.

You can become so acquainted with that mindset as to despair that revival is even possible when no one will have this Jesus to be king over them. But that’s no attitude for a Christian. He wants us to be community-minded, and to pray and pray and pray for these people until all hope is gone.

Jesus is the ultimate lesson in hoping against hope. When the two disciples on the road to Emmaus were filled with despair because the man they thought would be the Redeemer had died a common criminal’s death, what happened? The Lord himself appeared and reminded them how essential all those hardships had been to the fulfilment of his plan. And his resurrection surely reminds us that he is hope in a hopeless situation.

 He understands loss of hope. And he restores it like no one else can. 

Catriona Murray blogs at


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