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With a tender heart, a drive for learning and a gift for sharing, Margaret brings her years of experience as a licensed professional counselor and a woman of faith to all her writings. Her insights and biblical understanding bring home principles we all can use - no matter the circumstances we are in.


A Life of Its Own

By Margaret Cook, M.Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor, Life Coach

Some stories are so good; they take on a life of their own.  They become signature stories that capture the essence of something in a simple story that gives us a glimpse of some person or event in a memorable way.  Many of the Bible stories are like that for me.  A few verses of that sacred text can remind me of the wonderful nature of God by telling a simple story of some person or experience.

In the 18th chapter of Luke, Jesus describes the experience of a persistent widow who relentlessly pursued justice by hounding a contemptuous judge.  Why would I like that story?  I find there are many areas of life where I pray for long seasons before the situations resolve.  I used to worry that there was something wrong with my prayers, the condition of my life/faith, etc.  While I still have times when I examine my life and the desires of my heart that I present to God in prayer, I have matured enough to know that it is enough to remain faithful in prayer.  In the sufficiency of Christ, I prayerfully submit my will – and my prayer list to a sovereign and loving God.  Through this I testify of the answered prayers and have hope to continue in prayer for so many reasons.

Lately, I have been rejoicing over the answered prayers.  I sometimes give thanks for as long as I have prayed for something.  That is really an encouragement to me when I am praying for a long time for a particular concern.  I remind God that the longer I pray for the answer, the longer I will be giving thanks for the wonderful outcome.  God might even wink and remind me of the story of the persistent widow when I offer my promise of extended rejoicing in my prayers.  My latest celebration is over God’s great work in the life of my friend who is a minister.  When my friend began planning to retire in July of 2006, I started praying for their house near Detroit to sell.  I believe that I started that intercession in January of 2006.  Their house went on the market in April of 2006 and sold in August of 2007.  Maybe you just did a little quick math and concluded that I will be rejoicing for 16 months or until December 2008!  I am so thankful, that it is likely I will thank God all the rest of my life for this answered prayer!

Does God care about selling houses?  Yes.  My friend retired as planned in July 2006.  When I went to visit at the beginning of 2007, I mentioned a part-time opportunity near my home for a retired minister.  My friend was interested and I wrote a letter of nomination and the job started July 1, 2007.  But, there was the “problem” of the house that wouldn’t sell in an area where the housing market was terrible.  My friend found a house here and made a contingent offer and we prayed more fervently (I wondered how I could be more fervent).  Sometimes we face a test of faith before we see a persistent prayer answered.  The test came when there was another offer on the house here.   That prompted my friend to step out in faith to make a sure offer on the house they wanted to buy, even though the house they needed to sell was still waiting for a buyer.  Within a week of that step of faith, a church near Detroit made an offer to buy the house in Michigan for the pastor and family that would serve their local congregation.  Recently, we found out that this house was an answer to the prayers of that congregation and the family that will soon take up residence in the house of many prayers.  Think of the way that the sale of one house reflected the answer to the prayers of people in three congregations (my friends church in Michigan that he retired from, the congregation that called him to part time ministry where he is moving to and the congregation that needed a home for their new pastor).  Amazing!

When it takes “forever” to see a prayer answered, I remember Jesus' concern that His dearest disciples were unable to stay awake prayerfully within Him at Gethsemane even for an hour.  How quickly I want to drift off and forget all about praying sometimes.  One of my friends reminds me of the last line of John Milton’s poem “On His Blindness,” where the poet asserts “They also serve who only stand and wait."  We often want to do so much more than wait.  May God grant us the patience to pray in season and out of season and to wait for the answer He has planned.  In the waiting we find a prayer that connects us with the Living God.  As Jesus asked his friends, “Couldn’t you stay awake and watch with me even one hour?” (Matt 26: 40b NLT).  The persistent widow was probably persisting for more than an hour with the contemptuous judge. 

Prayer is a precious gift from God.  It helps us know God better and it allows us to participate in the work of God in the earth.  As I was writing this article, a friend sent me a quote about prayer from Eugenia Price's What Really Matters:  "Prayer is certainly a mystery.  But it is, along with faith, one of God's dear gifts to us.  Dear in the sense of being a treasure and dear in the sense of what our freedom to pray cost Him.  Jesus Christ opened the Holy of Holies once and for all to anyone who chooses to enter."

I am so glad Jesus told the story of the persistent widow.  It helps my faith and reminds me to pray always so that the will of God can become real to us.  Then the stories of our experience can give witness to God’s faithfulness and the beauty of having a relationship with a God who regards our prayers and is pleased to engage us in prayer for this world and all who dwell in it.  The story may take on a life of its own, even as those of us who persevere in prayer hope to share in the life of being His own.   The world needs Christians who persevere in prayer.  Aren’t you glad Jesus told us about the persistent widow?


Copyright © September 2007 – Margaret Cook. All rights reserved.

Permission to use or duplicate this article is available by contacting the author at

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