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Perseverance in Prayer

And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. Genesis 25:21

O Lord Jesus, graciously hear me as You heard Isaac. Do not regard our sins. Regard Your true grace which You have pledged to us. Oh, grant our prayer! I will not stop praying until You help me. I will pray like Isaac, about whom Moses uses a special word of emphasis in the Hebrew: “he groaned, whined, wept, lamented, and was very troublesome,” like the relentless widow (Luke 18:5) whom the unjust judge was finally forced to avenge. He persisted without ceasing, continually, daily, and would have prayed even till death. Oh Lord Jesus, I groan to You day and night, indeed, every moment. I cry out with a loud voice like Bartimaeus. I run after You like the Canaanite woman, I beseech You to give me what I desire. I knock on Your door of grace; open to me. I seek Your consolation; let me find Your grace at last. I lift up my hands; bend down to me. I prostrate myself in heart and body; help me. I will not let You go; bless me. I will pray like Isaac; hear me as you heard him.

Yet behold, Moses says of You “The Lord granted his prayer.” O Lord Jesus, grant my prayer too. I know now that You grant men’s prayers. You have done so before. Help me to wait in Christlike patience for the Hour of my relief. You, O Lord, do what those who fear You desire; You hear their crying and save them (Ps. 145:19). You regard the prayer of the destitute, and do not despise their prayer. Let this be written for the generation to come (Ps. 102:[17-]18). Yea, let this be written upon my heart, that I may never forget it. Oh Lord Jesus, help me also to grant the prayer of the poor who seek my help, to visit them in their troubles, and not to harden my heart.

Nevertheless, Isaac had to pray for all of twenty years before he received what he desired. Oh my Lord Jesus, help me not to cease to pray when I do not at once receive what I want. Grant me also a twenty-years’ patience, that I may wait for You and be of good cheer and not despair, and wait for You [Ps. 27:14]. After all, Joseph too was forced to groan and lament for thirteen years. Naomi was forced to pine for her home for ten years (Ruth 1:4). Faithful Job [according to the extra-biblical book the Testament of Job 5:9] was forced to bear his cross for seven years. The sick man was forced to endure his infirmity for thirty-eight years (John 5:5). The woman with the issue of blood was forced to suffer her affliction for twelve years (Matt. 9:18-26, par.]. Aeneas was forced to wail and lament for eight years (Acts 9:33). Oh, what can I say? My hardship has not lasted so long. O Lord Jesus, help me to await the hour of Your relief with Christlike patience, and as heartily as I have prayed, may I then as joyously thank You. Amen.

Valerius Herberger The Great Works of God, Parts Three and Four: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Genesis, Chapters 16-50 153-154

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