Man's Difficulty with Prayer

—and not to faint.

— St. Luke 18:1

In the very structure of the Lord’s parable of the unrighteous judge, he seems to take delay in the answering of prayer for granted, and says notwithstanding, “He will avenge them speedily!” The reconciling conclusion is that God loses no time, though the answer may not be immediate. He may delay because it would not be safe to give us at once what we ask: we are not ready for it. Time may be necessary for the working out of the answer.  And perhaps, indeed, the better the gift we pray for, the more time is necessary for its arrival. To give us the spiritual gift we desire, God may have to begin far back in our spirit, in regions unknown to us, and do much work that we can be aware of only in the results. With his own presence, the one thing for which most earnestly we cry, he may be approaching our consciousness from behind, coming forward through regions of our darkness into our light, long before we begin to be aware that he is answering our request—has answered it and is visiting his child. To avenge speedily must mean to make no delay beyond what is absolutely necessary. Because the Son of Man did not appear for thousands of years after men began to cry out for a Savior, shall we imagine he did not come the first moment it was well he should come? Can we doubt that to come a moment sooner would have been to delay, not to expedite, his kingdom? For anything that needs a process, to begin to act at once is to be speedy. God does not put off like the unrighteous judge; he does not delay until irritated by the prayers of the needy: he will hear while they are yet speaking; yea, before they call he will answer.