"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." Luke 18:1
We had been praying for the young lady from Iran since before she arrived in the US. She had been the girlfriend of one of our students, and he was quite excited when she was accepted to our local university. The visa process for an Iranian to enter the US is quite long, and it appeared that her visa would not be approved in time to start her studies that semester. We had been praying for her for weeks. Classes started, and still no visa.
Our entire church prayed for her that Sunday. Days went by with no word. Finally, her visa was approved! She received permission to start her classes late, and we picked her up from the airport a few days later. Even after it seems too late in our minds, "at the break of dawn" God answers our prayers (Psalm 46:5).
After this, our prayers shifted from her arrival to her salvation! She was an intellectual, culturally a Muslim, but with agnostic leanings. She participated in some of our Bible studies and other events, appreciating the socialization, but seemed uninterested in the things of the Lord. We continued to pray...
We invited her to our family's thanksgiving, and just loved on her. Over time, she has really become a part of our family. We continued to pray. It eventually came to the point that it seemed clear that she had rejected the Gospel. It was discouraging to realize that, but about that time the Holy Spirit reminded me of the parable of the persistent widow, which Jesus shared with his disciples to remind them to "always pray and not give up." We continued to pray for her.
This past Christmas, the Lord gave us an increased burden to pray for her. She agreed to accompany us to a Christmas Eve service, where the Holy Spirit was really speaking to her. The following Sunday, my wife was able to pray with her to accept Jesus! With tears in her eyes and joy in her repentant heart, she entered into the Kingdom of God as my dear sister in Christ.
What are you praying for? There are many reasons that our prayers may seem to go unanswered. One is that we are praying for things that we shouldn't (James 4:3) or that we are doubting God (James 1:6). Issues in our relationships can also hinder our prayers (1 Peter 3:7, Matthew 5:24). It could also simply be that it is not yet time. The Lord's timing is perfect, and we must wait for Him and His perfect timing.
Whatever it is, keep praying! Come before Him with your prayers and requests, always with thanksgiving. If we can stand with you in prayer for anything, please let us know!