What God Counts as Faith

"Remember how our pastor has been encouraging us to keep a prayer list?" It was Patty on the phone, eager to tell me about her new method of praying. "I made out my list and there were 150 people on it--my family, friends, and employees. I've decided to divide them into groups and pray for some of them each day, so I can pray more than just a 'Help him' and 'Help her.'"

Remembering past prayer experiences, I told her, "Although you'll never know about all the answers, God will probably let you know how He is answering some of your prayers."

And He did. After church the next Sunday, with tears in her eyes, she shared, "I just learned that one of my nieces for whom I had begun praying was pregnant and planning to get an abortion, but this week she made her decision to continue the pregnancy."

Although God often allows us to see evidence that He is listening to our prayers, sometimes we have no clues. Sometimes we feel we're getting the same answer as the woman in Matthew 15:22-28 who begged Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter. "But he answered her not a word." When He did speak, He gave her no encouragement. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." But she persisted with her pleading.

Only two times did Jesus speak of someone's great faith, and this lady was one of the honored two. When it doesn't seem Jesus is answering our prayers, it is an opportunity to be persistent. Then, we, too, can hear His words: "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted."

Thank You, Jesus, for interpreting faithfulness in continuing to pray as faith.

"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers" (1 Thessalonians 1:2).