“Hope prolonged is making the heart sick, And a tree of life [is] the coming desire.” (Proverbs 13:12, YLT)
Prayer is like weight-lifting. You start out small, and grow to meet greater demands. In prayer, we grow in faith and hope. Hope is not simply wishing. It is expecting. Sitting and wishing will not get you anywhere.
What seems hopeless today? The economy… elections… severe weather… homelessness… disease…
In Joshua 2, Israel had waited in the wilderness long enough that the previous faithless generation had died off. Joshua and Caleb were preparing to lead the people into the promised land and had sent in spies to investigate one last time. Rahab was a harlot who helped the spies, and they wanted to save her from dying when they took over.
“17 The men said to her, “We will be free from this oath you made us swear, 18 unless, when we enter the land, you tie this scarlet cord to the window through which you let us down. Bring your father, mother, brothers, and all your father’s family into your house.” The scarlet cord is a picture of hope – Rahab hoped that the cord would be seen and remembered. Her life depended on it!
“24 Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8, HCSB)
How many times in a day do we say, “What if…?” How many times does the enemy try to steal our hope this way? When we pray, we need to hope expectantly. The answer may not look like what we desire, but it will be something greater.