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Lamentations is not an easy book to read.The nation of Israel had been carried off in exile because of their persistent idolatry, rebellion and disobedience and each chapter tells of the anguish and heartache of God’s people (Lam 1:1-4), a heartache made worse because this was brought about by God Himself (Lam 2:7, 17). Nonetheless, even in this anguish, God’s loyal love and faithfulness remain true (Lam 3:22-23).

We may well live in times of anguish and sorrow, but God wants these things to drive us further towards Him as we learn to pray with persistence and perseverance. Jesus taught us to ask, seek and knock (Matt 7: 7-8) and told a parable to remind us to always pray and never give up (Luke 18:1-8).

Our human tendency is to give up easily, to expect instant answers from God and to feel discouraged if He does not work immediately (if not sooner!) Jesus gave us this parable to remind us that persistence in prayer – percussive drilling – is required if we are to reach the living water of God. Prayer can release the water of God’s river; it can access God’s blessings on our lives, on our churches, on our communities and on our country. But the kind of prayer which does this is not something which is perfunctory – carried out with a minimum of effort or reflection. It is agonising prayer full of tears – and that is something we shy from.

God wants to give us His heart of compassion and love, however. (Ezek 11:19-20, Ezek 36:26-27) We need to ask God to soften our hearts so that we can feel His compassion and weep with His tears. (‘Soften My Heart’, Graham Kendrick) Then God can lead us to a new level of prayer where we pray with passion and fervour and tears for His revival and for people to come to know Him. May we not only access God’s living water in new ways and experience God’s abundant life in our own lives and in our own families but also learn to take our spiritual weapons and pray with percussive drilling, with persistence and perseverance, until we see God move by His Spirit in power and revival, bringing many people to faith.