I could see the tears in my friend’s eyes, despite the dark and starry sky above us. It was late, nearing midnight. We were standing in the middle of the park in our town on a late summer evening.
“So we’ll start tomorrow?” she said.
“Yeah,” I smiled at her. “Tomorrow.”
We’d made a pact. We promised to pray for each other’s future marriages for the following fifty-three days. Even now, I cringe slightly as I write this. Singleness and marriage is a bit of a tender and vulnerable spot for me.
But we were faithful to that pact. For fifty-three days we prayed. We swapped text messages about what we felt God was saying to us about our future marriages — how He was speaking through dreams and words and verses.
I clung to Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
I took that verse literally and started to pray about everything (or at least as often as I could remember). I prayed about my day job, COVID-19, world leaders, the weather, my friendships, meal plan ideas, and my friend’s and my future marriages.
In those fifty-three days, I saw God move in numerous ways. Friends had dreams and visions about me. Each day I felt God increasing my faith. I prayed bold, specific prayers, unlike ones I’d prayed before. I encouraged my friends to pray bold, specific prayers too.
I wrote everything down in a notebook, recording what Jesus was revealing. It’s not that God wasn’t moving before those fifty-three days, but I was finally opening my eyes to see Him, telling Him about small things I never thought He’d care about. (At one point, I asked Jesus to help me get rid of the stain on my couch. I was taking the suggestion to “pray about everything” seriously.)
I read Jesus’ words in the book of Matthew over and over, about asking and seeking and knocking, and I held tight to His promise that God is a good Father who loves to give good gifts.
When the morning of Day 53 arrived — the last day of our prayer pact — I woke up excited. I was expectant. I confidently asked God to provide an opportunity for my friend to meet someone before the final day of our pact was over. I thought about how God parted seas and walked on water — surely He could introduce my friend to a kind and godly man. By the end of the day, I fully expected my friend to text me and tell me she was going on a date.
But Day 53 came and went. Radio silence.
I was puzzled. I woke up the next morning, aware that our pact had finished. But I prayed again, for her and for me.
I prayed the same thing the next morning. And the next day. And the next.
I’ve lost count now. I don’t know how many days I’ve been praying.
But yesterday, I prayed again. Then I sighed, audibly, and said out loud to my friend Jesus, “Aren’t you annoyed that I keep beating this same marriage drum over and over and over?”
Immediately, I felt like I could hear Jesus chuckling. Then I heard Him — softly, kindly, and with a touch of humor — say, “Keep beating that drum, dear one.”
I sat in silence, His words repeating in my heart and head.
Keep beating that drum, dear one.
Jesus wasn’t annoyed. He isn’t tired of me asking Him for a good and godly marriage, praying for hundreds of days in a row. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t fully grasp how prayer works — how some prayers seem to be answered immediately and others take months or years or decades.
But I do know we aren’t ignored by God.
I do know that faithfulness and perseverance and persistence seem to be consistent themes in the stories Jesus spoke about prayer. I do know that God is a good Father, who loves to give his kids good gifts.
So the drum you’ve been beating for days or months or years — for a good and godly marriage, a healthy body, for your child to love Jesus, for a baby or a job? I say this with a smile and all the love in my heart for you:
Keep beating that drum, dear one.
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