Painting the fence

Sometimes our prayers seem unanswered


This week  I was painting our garden fence.  As I did so I was reflecting on the people I had prayed for on Sunday (I am part of the prayer team at our church) . I was thinking about how each week  as I pray for people I long to see miracles in their lives.

As I painted with upward and downward strokes I was reminded of the film The Karate Kid. Danny LaRusso asks Mr Miyagi to help him learn to fight.  Mr Miyagi tells him to paint the fence. Another time he tells him to polish the car with circular motions, “Wax on, Wax off”.

Danny is naturally disappointed and frustrated because he can’t see what the point is. He feels like a slave to Mr Miyagi. He came to him asking for something and he wasn’t giving it to him. Instead he was making him do menial tasks. He couldn’t have been further from the truth. The day comes when he enters the karate competition. As he fights we can see the up and down motion and the circular motion come into play. He has built up muscle memory.

Sometimes our prayers seem unanswered, sometimes we get an answer we weren’t looking for -“Trust me”, “Keep going”, “Not yet.” We know that God can help us and that He can work miracles through us. Indeed He has said “Greater works than these shall you do.” but perhaps we still aren’t seeing the answers to those prayers. Sometimes we may feel that we are just going through the motions, up and down, up and down. Does God even hear me? Does He care about me? Disappointment can take a grip on our lives.

I am encouraged  that each time I pray I am exercising those faith muscles. Each time I pray I am expressing my  trust in God. Each time I pray I am submitting to the Lordship and sovereignty of God. Each time I pray I am talking to the One who knows best for me, who loves me and those I pray for. Each time I pray I am photo-1437603568260-1950d3ca6eabconnecting with the One who has the power to  answer and has promised to hear my prayers. Each time I pray I am being obedient to God. Each time I pray I am opening myself up to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. Each time I pray I am co-labouring with the Holy Spirit. Each time I pray I take the focus off myself and onto God. I am strengthened as I consider Him. There is so much that I don’t see when I pray because it is not tangible and physical; I can’t see what God is building into my life and the lives of those I pray for.

I can choose not to be disappointed and frustrated and in the meantime keep looking to the One who is able to do far more abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.

Now I can imagine a lot of things I can imagine the joy of seeing someone healed, seeing the lame walk and the blind see,  seeing cancers healed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see God do even more than this? So I am going to keep on praying because  I will only see a miracle by continuing to pray in impossible situations. Mark Batterson* says that “100 percent of the prayers I don’t pray won’t get answered. ”

I have decided I will keep painting that fence, I will keep praying.


*Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears




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