Sometimes, when a person starts to understand Reformed theology and the sovereignty of God for the first time, it can confuse her prayer life. If God has already determined what is going to happen, why pray? Yet God’s Word commands us to pray! The Bible clearly doesn’t see a contradiction between God’s absolute sovereignty and the fact that he works through our prayers.
On this episode of Let’s Talk, Jackie Hill Perry, Jasmine Holmes, and Melissa Kruger talk about why we don’t pray sometimes—and why we should. Jackie points out that Jesus, who knew God better than anyone else, was very, very prayerful. Prayer draws us close to God, even when he says “no” to something we ask for. Melissa says, “Being a parent has taught me I’d rather say ‘yes’ to my kids. I would rather do that most of the time. And when I say no, it’s typically for their good. It’s because I don’t want them to get hurt. I see things they can’t. And so the nice thing about the Lord is he sees things we can’t.”
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Jackie Hill Perry: Welcome to episode six of season two of Let’s Talk, a podcast for women from the Gospel Coalition Podcast Network, where we seek to apply biblical wisdom to everyday life. I am Jackie Hill Perry, and I am here with the illustrious Jasmine Holmes and the amazing Melissa Kruger. So far, we’ve talked about our spiritual heroes, we’ve talked about holiness, we’ve talked about anxiety, we’ve talked about people pleasing, we talked about being judgmental. If you miss any of these episodes, we hope you’ll go back and listen. But today, we’re going to talk about prayer.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: Right Melissa?
Melissa Kruger: That’s right. Why are you whispering?
Jackie Hill Perry: I don’t know. I just felt like that’s the respectful way to enter into a conversation about prayer. Even though I grew up in a church context where prayer was loud. Lord, we thank you. We bless you. Call upon. It was a loud situation, which I still love.
Melissa Kruger: That’s actually a really good question. What was your first prayer that you remember praying? Do you have any thoughts? Do you remember back that far? We talked about this last season. I remember my first prayer which was, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake up, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Which terrified children all across the country.
Jasmine Holmes: It didn’t scare me. So I don’t relate to that.
Jackie Hill Perry: Got it. My mother, she told me that when I was five, I came to her and told her that I guess the cable was off that I had asked God to bring back the cable so that I could watch Nickelodeon. And so she felt so bad that she got the cable turned back on.
Melissa Kruger: And so your prayers were answered.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. Technically, yes. I don’t know what they did but my faith, but I wanted to Nickelodeon and then God provided it.
Melissa Kruger: So prayer is so easy to do in one sense, but it’s so hard to do in another sense. Why is it so hard to still ourselves and sit down and do the hard work of prayer?
Jasmine Holmes: Lots of reasons. I guess there’s two main umbrellas that can fall under, our flesh makes it hard. And also the enemy doesn’t want us to pray.
Melissa Kruger: Nope.
Jasmine Holmes: Doesn’t want us to be connected to God in that way. He doesn’t want us to be aligned a little bit his will. We can’t always blame it on the enemy sometimes it’s just good old fashioned flesh. But I do think that both of those are the main things that could be at play.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. And then amazingly when you sit down and pray and all of a sudden you remember everything that you hadn’t remembered all day, I’m like, Oh, I need to text that person back. And I need to do this. Oh, I need to put the laundry in the dryer from earlier today. It’s just like just sitting everything seems to come back and fight against.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. Which may and not to be an excuse at all. But I think that we’re just really bad at practicing mindfulness in general, like stilling ourselves, taking a deep breath and not having distractions in our mind, whether it’s just to pray or to have a moment of silence is really hard for us in this day and age. I don’t know how hard it was before you could just pick up your phone or we had cars, planes, trains, and automobiles. I don’t know. But I do know that my mind is likely to be distracted anytime, if I’m going to sit down and try to grade papers, if I’m going to sit down and try… Or even if I’m just trying to go to sleep, there’s always something else I could be thinking about doing.
Jackie Hill Perry: And I’ve just wondered how limited our vision of God is, because I think Jesus who knew God perfectly he was very, very prayerful, yet you would assume him to be someone who was self-sufficient. But I think his vision and faith and understanding of God was so clear and so perfected that it led him to pray at all times. And so I just always wonder, man, if I saw God as he is, not just by faith, but literally saw him as he is high and lifted up training to row filling the temple of God. I would be come so much more aware of how jacked up I am and how needy I am and how unholy I am and how much… Like, no, I should be talking to you.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: Almost like what we’re talking about with Isaiah. He saw God, he was like, Oh.
Jackie Hill Perry: Whoa. Yeah. Oh my goodness. Dear. I just wonder about that.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Seeing God immediately actually made him know how helpless he was. He may have gone into that throne room thinking I’m okay.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m good. I’m a prophet.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: I got all the words.
Melissa Kruger: Then you realize, Oh, I can’t do anything. I can’t even promise that my heart will be beating in 10 minutes. Really, I’m in control of nothing.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: And so all of us, would hold to the belief from scripture that we serve a sovereign God, who’s reigning over all things. So this always leads to a question. If God’s going to do what God’s going to do, why do we pray?
Jasmine Holmes: Right.
Melissa Kruger: Why are we even supposed to do this? I’m getting to hard theological questions.
Jasmine Holmes: You are like right away.
Melissa Kruger: I know, I’m sorry.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m not Tony Evans he answers that real well.
Jasmine Holmes: I have been thinking a lot about this for… So I just finished reading Exodus a few weeks ago. And in Exodus 32, Moses is on Sinai receiving the law and the Israelites are down below him making a golden calf.
Jackie Hill Perry: Having a party.
Jasmine Holmes: Just throwing all their gold in the fire. And we already talked about this. I know, but just literally walk through the Red Sea, be provided for by God, have a man who talks directly to God. And then he leaves for a couple of days and you’re like, I need a calf. I need something to worship. So God, his wrath burns hot against the Israelites and he’s like, I’m going to destroy them. I’m going to wipe them off the face of the earth and Moses intercedes for the Israelites.
And basically reminds God of all of the promises that God made to the people of Israel. And then I think in the ESV, it says, and then God changed his mind. And whenever I read that, I was like, that’s scary. I don’t want a God who can change his mind. On the one hand, it’s great because prayer intercession, in my human mind maybe it can twist God’s arm and make him do things he wasn’t going to do. But then I don’t want a God whose arm can be twisted and who can do things he wasn’t going to do. And I don’t want a God who changes his mind because he could change his mind about me.
But looking at that picture with Moses and God and seeing God as this divine choreographer who knows that we need a solid image of intercession and a solid image of the power of intercession, setting this up and setting himself up to show grace to the Israelites after Moses’s intercession is a really powerful image. Because God had made all these promises and Moses knew them, reminded God of them in reminding God of them reminded himself of them and outcome shifted. And that’s amazing. It’s amazing to think about. And so I think prayer is less about changing God’s mind and more about aligning our minds to the promises that God has already made.
Melissa Kruger: That’s really good. You been to seminary or something?
Jasmine Holmes: In the morning.
Jackie Hill Perry: Look at your Jasmine Holmes.
Jasmine Holmes: That’s it. That’s all I have for the rest of the day.
Melissa Kruger: I do think there is. It’s this inner interesting mystery. It’s a mystery. I think that’s what we say, but we’re commanded to do it.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: So there’s some sense which God somehow uses in his sovereignty, in his sovereign will he uses the prayers of the saints to direct outcomes that yes, he had sovereignly planned before the creation of the world, but he’s somehow using them in this divine interplay and it does matter. And just because I don’t understand that doesn’t mean it’s not true. And I think that’s one of the biggest lessons for me as a Christian, just because I can’t understand something, how does my human freedom interplay with God’s sovereignty? Those are two things that the Bible seems to put forth very clearly that both are true. I have real agency as a person and real responsibility for my actions. But God is somehow reigning over all of those things so much so that, I think it’s The Belgic Confession says, “A hair can’t fall from my head without the divine appointment of God.” So these two things are happening and they are a mystery and this is why I’m not God. So I obey, even when I don’t always understand, I don’t know how God uses my prayers. Right. But I know he uses them.
Jasmine Holmes: That’s a huge weight. He said to pray. So we pray.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: It’s really great that he gives us understanding that’s wonderful, but also he said to do it so we need to do it. And I find that looking at it and again, I have legalistic tendencies. So sometimes there’s answer to everything. Like just pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get it done. But he does give us the means to pray. He again first Corinthian seven again, I know, but literally our minds are being exchanged for the mind of Christ and prayer is a huge part of that exchange. And staying steeped in the word and staying steeped in prayer and staying steeped in communication with God is a major way that our minds are being transformed to echo his very mind, to echo his very thoughts. And we have a savior who intercedes for us when our words just aren’t enough.
Jackie Hill Perry: I just love the idea of how prayer reveals, how personal God is. I remember sitting in this apologetic thing 10 years ago, and this guy was talking about how he had converted from Islam to Christianity. And he said, one of the means that God used to, I guess, draw him to Jesus was that he was listening to a Christian pray and how the Christian had called God father and started to talk about his needs and his anxieties and praise. And it was just personal and not scripted when the Muslim faith it’s scripted. You don’t go off, you don’t be calling Allah our father, he’s too high, he is too lofty for you to be so intimate with him. And that appealed to him that the Christian God was a relational God.
And so that’s what I think about often when I think about prayers like, Oh man, you want us to talk to you. There’s some human Kings that people don’t even have access to in that way to be able to have personal conversation. And that’s cool.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, for sure.
Jackie Hill Perry: He made the universe and he’s like, talk to me. What?
Melissa Kruger: And that actually leads to I think a good thing to wrestle through it. Some people we talked about distraction, keeping us from period prayer. We talked about, busy-ness keeping us from prayer. Just the inability to sit quietly. But sometimes I think fear keeps people from prayer.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh, absolutely.
Melissa Kruger: I don’t know if you’ve ever had a season in your life when you’re like, I know I’m in sin and I don’t want to pray because God’s going to do something if I go to him and pray. I don’t know, do you ever wrestle with not wanting to pray because you know God might have things to say to you during that prayer time?
Jasmine Holmes: Maybe even not wanting to go to the word at all. Because it’s a huge foundation of prayer to be steeped in the word, to have the words to say to pray. And I do find in certain seasons, I’m like, I’m just feeling really low. I know that if I open that Bible, it’s going to tell me to do stuff and feel stuff and I don’t want to feel it. I’m just not going to do it.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I definitely had those feelings earlier in my Christian walk. Because I felt so inconsistent. I felt like I failed God often. I was the one hiding behind the tree. We were afraid of you and we knew you would come. But I think I had to get it in my mind that God is a judge. God is Lord. God is master. But he is the only one who truly has everything that I need, including peace, including forgiveness, including restoration. And so I think that’s propelled me and pushed me to say, if I really truly fear you and revere you in the right way, I need to come to you with everything, including my failures. And he never meets us in the way that our minds might presume he would. He always is there. Like I sent my son to die for you. I’m not ready with a gavel to judge you. Your sins have already been judged in Christ. You’re free now.
Melissa Kruger: And he knew them before you said them.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: It’s not like he’s sitting up there not seeing them.
Jackie Hill Perry: He is so aware.
Melissa Kruger: And he’s saying to us, I have the power to help you fight. You don’t have to get yourself all ready to come to me. Actually come to me, even in your sin, I can help you fight that.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. He says, come to his throne of grace with boldness. You have access to this thing and I want you to come confidently because of what Jesus did for you. That ain’t the invitation, we all want. Shoot. Come to his throne of grace with boldness. He sent us an Evite via text.
Melissa Kruger: My husband is a professor at RTS. And so some students are really intimidated to go into not his throne room, but his office. And they come in… I had one friend she told me, she practiced before she went in because she felt really nervous. So she was like, I went to a friend and I told her the question I was going to ask. She practiced, I know I was like, he’s not that intimidating I promise. But this is how she felt as a student. So she went in, she survived to tell the tale, but then that same week I thought about it, my kids and I, this was when they were younger. We came in to his office. Now my kids did not knock quietly on the door. They boldly opened the door. They ran in the room. They’re sitting in his spinny chair, spinning around.
They’re taking his robe off the thing and putting it on, they’re laying on the couch. They’re running around the office. And my husband was not sitting there saying, how dare you? He’s like, Oh, these are my children. Come in, come in and play. The office is actually a place for you to be you’re my children here. Whereas when you’re the student you’re fearful of the president’s office or whatever. But I think we often view God’s throne room as that distant. I’m the slave, not the son, versus no boldly approach. I can come in and know that he delights. So that’s the image I keep in my head. He wants me to come.
Jackie Hill Perry: And I think that goes back to my question of our vision of God and how it governs how we pray. Because I think if you look at the scriptures and you look at all of the examples of people praying before God, there was a humility, yet a freedom that they expressed, whether it’s Hannah, whether it’s David, whether it’s Hezekiah, whether it’s Jesus, whether it’s Paul, whether it’s the early church, I think looking at how they approach God helps us to know that we can approach him too.
Melissa Kruger: So that’s a great question. How has looking at prayer in scripture changed how you pray? Yeah. Because the one I started out with wasn’t necessarily a scriptural prayer. You don’t find that anywhere, but even the Lord’s Prayer and there are so many, it’s interesting how many prayers are actually recorded in the Bible.
Jasmine Holmes: A lot of them.
Melissa Kruger: Paul is constantly talking about, I pray these things for you. I’ve always been struck by the prayer to the Philippians, when Paul is sitting in jail and when he doesn’t pray, as I pray that you never have these chains, like I do. Instead, he’s saying, I pray that your love may abound more and more in depth of knowledge and insights that you may be able to discern what is best. That’s a totally different prayer than often what I pray. I pray, Oh, let my kids have a safe drive to school. And it’s not that we can’t pray these things. These are good things to pray, but I need to be praying the bigger things too. I think scripture pushes me to pray bigger.
Jackie Hill Perry:: Oh yeah.
Melissa Kruger: I pray for these small things and it’s good. I want them to make to school okay. But I really want their love to abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. So they’ll be able to prove what is best. That’s the bigger one. I don’t know if any prayers really have impacted you.
Jasmine Holmes: Don Whitney has a book called Praying the Psalms and I read it for the time as a teenager. And it really helps me because the way that it’s set up is there are 150 Psalms. So every day you have five Psalms to pray from. And by the time you get to the end of the month, you will have read all the Psalms and you’ll have prayed through 30 of them. And then you can just repeat it. So it just became part of my everyday devotional. And it really helped me to see there’s so many different kinds of prayers and so many different ways that the Psalmist comes to the Lord. But in all of them, there is this centralization of God and his glory and even in the Psalms where David is talking about how low he is and how he’s being pursued and how the stakes are just so high.
It always turns to, I know you’re going to keep your promises because you’re a good God. I know that you’re going to do this because you’re full of glory. I know that you can’t let these evil men stand because of who you are. And through praying the Psalms, I just realized that prayer is so much about who God is. And so much about reminding myself who God is in the midst of whatever I’m going through. So as cliche as it sounds, the Psalms have been really pivotal in my understanding of prayer.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think how I’ve most been shaped is probably seeing the honesty that people give to God while praying whether that’s Hannah saying, I am vexed and I am afflicted. And if you please look upon your servant and give to your servant, a son. If it’s Lamentations three and the way they talk about how they feel that God is treating them in the midst of their suffering.
If it’s Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, like, please, if you just want to God, can you let this cup pass? I have a lot of issues and I’ll have a lot of trials, and I have a lot of internal things that I don’t even feel the freedom to tell anybody, my husband, my friends, I just don’t feel like it. But to see, and to know that I can be honest with God, that really has freed me up to experience joy in the midst of sorrow in ways I don’t think I would’ve, if I kept all of that contained within myself and to know that God is just there and he’s with me, and he’s the only one with the ability and the power to be able to alleviate my suffering or give me the endurance to endure through it.
And so, I’ve paid a lot attention to, how are they talking to God? Because I don’t want to be guarded with God. I think a lot of people are and can be, and I think we all go through those seasons, but what is it about God that I’m not believing that makes me feel as if I have to project another image to the one who sees past and through all of that? I want freedom.
Melissa Kruger: I think about that. I don’t know if you see that in your prayer life. I write out my prayers a lot of the times so that I can see it. I come and I dump, I get it all out and I just… This person is frustrating me. I’m so frustrated with my husband or whatever it might be, just some writing and it’s like getting it out to someone. It’s like, then I start talking to myself. I don’t know who said that, it matters what we’re saying to ourselves in our brain. It’s like the spirit comes along and reminds us of the truth and say yet, you just came me on this. Now ask me to do something about it. And so it’s this beautiful picture of, Oh, I can bring you all my junk.
Because I’m not saying it rightly. And if I was not saying it rightly to you too, it could be gossip. It might not help you. It might change how you view someone else, which isn’t helpful, but I could say everything to the Lord and it’s not gossip. He’s my one friend that I can be like, let me pour all of this out to you. Let me tell you all my angst or all my struggle. And then somehow the spirit works through that to just transition and give peace. I’ve really seen this happen. I can’t always explain it. But I don’t know how do you two pray? You pray out loud. Do you pray on your knees? Do you sit down and pray? What is it actually like in your life?
Jackie Hill Perry: It depends on the season, honestly. Last year we were on tour and so we had a tour bus and I was praying like I was a real saved Christian all the time, but that was because I had a lot of time to myself. You have a bunk with a curtain. I didn’t have my children with me. I didn’t have Preston with me. He was in the bunk below me. And so I could just pray undistracted. And so when I was praying that way and I was reading Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer, which helps. And so I was getting on my face and on my knees, and I think that posture already set me up to communicate differently and to see God differently. Now the season I’m in, I can’t even move barely because I have a child in my uterus and on my pelvic floor. And so…
Melissa Kruger: You’re like if I bow down I might not get up.
Jackie Hill Perry: A lot of my prayers are on the go, or in the shower to be honest. Because those are the places where it seems the most quiet.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. Those are my places too. I have a running dialogue with God. I’ll just find myself being in a quiet moment. And then all of a sudden I’m just talking to him, I’m just sitting there thinking about something and I’m like, you know what? Let’s just talk about those speakers it’s really on my mind. And being a person who struggles with anxiety, I have found that having a habit of just consistently talking to God and saying, you know what? I feel my heart is beating really fast and I don’t really know why I’m worried right now, but you know, and so please help. I don’t really have a formal, like get down by the side of the bed and fold my hands.
Jackie Hill Perry: I always admire people that do. Because I have friends that like… My friend Itohan, I remember one of the first times we went out of town together. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and I just see this dark shadow on the floor. And I’m like, what is going on? And it was like this girl got up at 4:00 a.m. after an event to pray. But that wasn’t the only time because we became roommates and I saw that was her pattern. I would get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and she would be on the floor praying. I was like, is this because she’s Nigerian? Nigerians are real spiritual, but that’s her lifestyle. And I’ll always wanted to be like that, but I’m just not.
Melissa Kruger: I love that. I do think there’s something about the posture. It focuses me for that. If I get on my knees and say, it just keeps me praying. My mind doesn’t wander as much or something, I shut everything out and just put my head down. I don’t do that enough. I don’t, normally I’m with pen and paper. I don’t know if you all know the podcast Risen Motherhood by now they’ve been doing a series called Kitchen Sink Prayers. And I liked the image, but you can print up a little prayer to put by your kitchen sink. And it’s kind of like what you were saying. I think what I need to grow in is praying all throughout the day more, like that praying without ceasing, keeping the conversation going. Sometimes I’m like, okay, God, we had our time together, close the journal, I’m done. That was my prayer time.
Rather than just all through the day when something comes to mind saying, dear Lord will you work in that situation? Will you help my friend with cancer? And just continually praying through the day, I need to do that better. And I think that’s what it sounds like yours is more like throughout the day.
Jasmine Holmes: Phillip and I try to make a habit of when we get good news, I come find him and we’re going to pray and we’re going to thank God for the good news. Because I had found a lot of times, again, as somebody who struggles with anxiety and depression, I can get into cycles of just like he doesn’t care about me. Woe is me. I’m just at the bottom of this pit. And so every single time, like if it’s a book contract, if Phil gets a contract for his side business, if he a meeting goes well at RTS, we just find each other and we’re going to pray about it. And we’re going to thank God for it. Because we asked him for it and he did it. So we need to acknowledge that and remind ourselves in that acknowledgement.
It’s not as though God is like, well, you didn’t say thank you. So I’m not going to do it again. But it’s just a chance for us to say, God, we are acknowledging that we asked you for this and you answered it.
Jackie Hill Perry: Which is interesting. I just looked up 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and how prayer without ceasing is couched in rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances and I guess just continual prayerfulness does lead to a thankful heart. And to be thankful, you have to be mindful to a certain degree. I told y’all the other day. I was like, I don’t think I’ve thanked God enough for this baby. I’ve been so aware of how difficult the pregnancy is that I haven’t been thankful for the life that is is here and that is coming.
But thankfulness is huge. Even in Romans one, one of the fruits of idolaters is that they don’t thank God for being God. And so I think that’s cool, how you praying without ceasing is also connected to you, thanking God without ceasing.
Jasmine Holmes: It reminds of the… Who did Jesus heal y’all?
Jackie Hill Perry: A lot of people.
Jasmine Holmes: When he healed them and then they ran away. But one came back to thank him.
Melissa Kruger: The lepers.
Jasmine Holmes: The lepers.
Melissa Kruger: Yes.
Jasmine Holmes: The lepers. And so the rest of them were to going to the temple to make… They’re like, we’re clean, we’re going to the temple. And the one ran back to him and it’s almost like he understood the whole point of that temple was the point us to you. So why am I going to go to the temple?
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: It’s you now. It’s just a cool story. Even though I couldn’t remember what he healed, was like really blind. [crosstalk] but the leper comes back because he understands that he doesn’t need to go to the temple anymore because Christ has come down from heaven and condescended to be in the flesh and to heal the flesh of this leper. Which was just so cool.
Jackie Hill Perry: I have a question. One I think continual frustration that Christians and especially even non-Christians I think deal with is what they would call unanswered prayer. And I put that in quotations because I believe a no is an answer, but how have y’all dealt with praying and seeking and interceding about something and just feeling as if God hasn’t responded?
Jasmine Holmes: I remember when I had my second miscarriage, as soon as I saw the positive pregnancy test, I had just prayed every single day, please protect this baby. Please protect the baby. And I had my miscarriage and the answer was no, and-
Jackie Hill Perry: It was hard.
Jasmine Holmes: It was really hard. Because it was like, but I asked you.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: I don’t think that I’ll know why he said no until I get to heaven. It’s hard. It’s hard. I think a few things I’m grateful for a God who understands that that’s hard. It’s not as though I was grieving and he was far off and not understanding. I remember the whole time that I was pregnant with that baby. I ended up naming the baby John, because I was reading John at the time and thinking about the fragility of the word, becoming flesh and dwelling among us. And as a mother who has experienced miscarriage, but even any mother who’s experienced infertility it’s such a small little baby and we can’t hold and we can’t protect.
We really have to just trust God to sustain that little life and the God of the universe condescended to become that little fragile life, which blows my mind and was something that I didn’t really reflect on and told my miscarriage. And so even in, and please hear me, I’m not saying that God took my baby so that I could… But I don’t know why. Well, I’ll talk to him when I get there. But a side effect was that I did understand more deeply the fragility of life and the fragility of the life that Christ took on for me.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: And I think sometimes when God says no, or wait, sometimes it’s wait. He’s teaching us something else.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: And so prayer keeps our hearts open and tender to that something else that he may be ready to teach us.
Melissa Kruger: I don’t think I can learn long suffering in prayer without the wait sometimes. Sometimes it’s a no, you know it’s a no, and that’s a really hard thing. Yeah. If you’ve miscarried or if you didn’t get into the college program, you were hoping to get into. Yeah. Or if the person you thought you wanted to marry, marry someone else, it’s just a no. I think we have to pray in faith and with belief that his nos are always a providential yes to something else. So we may not get what we want, but that’s when I’m like, but you know better. I think the older I get, the more I’m like, I don’t know what’s best Lord. I don’t know where my kids should go to school. Because now I’m thinking through it that way and I’m like, well, they might meet who they’re going to marry there.
I don’t know which place is best. And I just want the Lord to orchestrate because I get, I can’t orchestrate things anymore. And so I think there is this bigger sense to me of, I don’t understand. In some nos in this past year, for me have been extremely painful, but I’m at a different place where I actually believe differently that the Lord must have good in it because this is the God when his own sons said, father if this cup can pass from me, let it. And he said, no, but why did he say no? For me. So if this God who gave his son for me, surely won’t give me all the other things that are good for my soul to prosper. So I think it’s the more reflect on God told Jesus, no. So it’s not a lack of love. It’s not a lack of I’m not his child.
Jasmine Holmes: It wasn’t wrong for Jesus to ask.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: That’s a good reminder too. Of sometimes it just feels, I don’t know. It feels too weighty to ask for and it is weighty and he might say no.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah.
Jasmine Holmes: But it wasn’t wrong for Jesus to say… Jesus knew everything that was riding on his death, but he asked.
Melissa Kruger: Do you ever find yourself tired of asking? I think there can be that bitterness that comes in, maybe you’ve prayed for someone to be a Christian in your family for year, after year, after year. And you just say, it’s not working and how can we fight the tendency to be like, well, I’m just not going to pray about that anymore? Or another way maybe to even say that is when have you seen the perseverance in prayer? Maybe the answer to long season after you were praying those prayers. So sometimes we get tired of it. We think, I’ve been praying this so long, I’m just going to give up. But sometimes we keep praying and then we see the Lord in ways that are completely unexpected years later, answer something. I don’t know if you’ve ever had situations like that.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. There was a situation and it’s still an active thing in my life that causes a lot of frustration and pain and difficulty between me and my husband in particular. And when we first got married, we prayed and I don’t know why we have this expectation, that to pray means that God must answer immediately. But I think that that was an expectation that I had that I didn’t know I had. And so in year one, year two, year three, year four, year five, year six, it’s like, okay, I’m actually starting to believe that you’re ignoring me. And I knew that that wasn’t because I try my best to hope the best of God. And so when I started to get to that point, I had to tell the Lord, I’m starting to think you’re just not hearing me, you’re not listening to me.
But then I started to process through how different is our relationship? Are we closer? Are we godlier? Or are we more flexible when it comes to suffering difficulty? Is our wisdom more precise and accurate for other married couples? And I saw, Oh, that’s what you’re doing. You really do care way more about my sanctification than you do about my comfort. And so I think what’s happening is you’re not answering when I want you to answer because you’re trying to get gold out of us. And so I’ve definitely seen how and the perseverance of prayer has just made me a godlier person. And it’s actually helped me to just be more willing to know that God knows what he’s doing.
Jasmine Holmes: I’ve seen that in marriage too. Yeah. I’m like, amen. Amen. Amen.
Melissa Kruger: Our husband gets a lot of our prayers, right?
Jasmine Holmes: Yes. Yes.
Melissa Kruger: One thing that what you were just saying, Jackie reminds me of is the… I think it was the persistent widow when she keeps going back to the person asking for bread and you’re knocking on the door and bugging the person. And finally this person it’s like, here you go. Just so you’ll stop. And it’s basically. No, no, but that man was annoyed and gave it, your father actually loves you. And so he says, if you’re asking for fish, he’s not going to give you a stone. God must have a good reason. He must be developing something else in us. If it’s a no, because he delights, he delights. I think I’ll say this. I will say this being a parent has taught me I’d rather say yes to my kids. I would rather do that most of the time. And when I say no, it’s typically for their good.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: It’s because I don’t want them to get hurt. I see things they can’t see. And so the nice thing about the Lord is he sees things we can’t see. But the nice thing too is he says, keep asking, keep pursuing. And I think for all of us, we can keep praying and knowing that he actually hears our prayers and acts. And so that’s an amazing privilege. And I don’t take advantage of it enough. I like this favorites for this one because we’ve been talking about being able to go into the throne room of God and talk to him. So now this question for our favorite things is if you got to go to dinner with one living celebrity or famous person or leader, who would you choose?
Jackie Hill Perry: Even that question gives me anxiety.
Melissa Kruger: Really?
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I wouldn’t want to talk. I just want to watch and listen. So can it be a group thing?
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, we can go with you.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m sitting in the corner with my hand on my chin. I don’t know.
Jasmine Holmes: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie would be mine.
Melissa Kruger: Say that again. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Jackie Hill Perry: She’s an author.
Melissa Kruger: She’s an author.
Jackie Hill Perry: Speaker.
Jasmine Holmes: Speaker, feminist thinker. And I feel like even if talked to her and disagreed with her, it would still be a really fruitful and good conversation because I respect her and she seems like the kind of person who might respect me, even though we’re different in that.
Melissa Kruger: I love that.
Jasmine Holmes: That’s nice.
Melissa Kruger: That’s good.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah. Or Lin-Manuel Miranda because then I’d just be like sing to me. Tell me how you thought about all these songs.
Melissa Kruger: That’s a good one.
Jackie Hill Perry: I’m a cheat. The person is not alive. But Tony Morrison.
Melissa Kruger: That’s a good one.
Jackie Hill Perry:: Yeah. Because that’s the only person I could think of that I would care to sit down with because I want to sit down with someone that I admire and I think the way her brain works and the way she used words I would just be so… I just wouldn’t even ask questions. Just talk.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s all I want.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, that’s good. I like the word thing. Mine and this would have been true even before the mini-series is Queen Elizabeth. I read a biography about her years ago and I remember thinking to myself, wow, she has been doing this a long, long time. She has seen the world change and she was there in it for all of it. She had a front row seat. She’s talked to dignitaries all around the world, her whole life. That’s what she’s done. It’s so different than a president who was in four years in and out or whatever. And so I just think, and yet she’s a woman and she’s done it with a lot of grace I think. And really amazing work ethic. And so I just think she’d be fascinating to talk to. I’d be intimidated. I wouldn’t know how to bow correctly, but she’d be fascinating to talk too.
Jackie Hill Perry: I would just be like, so are you like The Crown, is it accurate or no? That’s all for this episode of Let’s Talk. Next week, we’re going to be talking about spiritual gifts sound spiritual. So please tune in. You can subscribe to Let’s Talk through Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you like to get your podcasts. Check out other shows from the Gospel Coalition Podcast Network at tgc.org/podcasts. The Gospel Coalition supports the church in making disciples of all nations by providing resources that are trusted in timely, winsome, and wise and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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