Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on all the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died. - Zechariah 12:10

Have you ever seen pictures of the celebration that took place at the end of the Second World War? There were huge parties, ticker tape parades, dancing in the streets. One picture that always stands out to me is one of a sailor bending a young woman backwards in a deep romantic dip and kissing her.

We always want to go straight to the victory part of the story. We want to skip the long hard waits, the bitter struggles, the hardship and despair. We want to get directly to the feeling of euphoria that comes at the end of the war. What we don’t always realize is that you can’t get that feeling of accomplishment without doing the work. We can’t realize our hidden strengths without first realizing our evident weaknesses and doing something about it.

Watch the Olympic athletes as they mount the podium to receive their medal. Look at their smiles, their tears, their waving arms and clutched rewards. You think they were always that way? Do you think they went from victory to victory until they reached the Olympics? Most of them struggled in financial desperation. Many of them could not afford coaches. They trained hard and long for many years when many people thought they were crazy. All that work is rewarded with a couple of minutes of fame and a little metal disk.

Prayer is hard work. Oftentimes it goes on for years without answers. Sometimes a person you’ve been praying for dies and you’re not sure whether or not your prayers were answered. We sigh and get discouraged. We doubt and despair. But ultimately there will be a victory. In the end it will work out and the victory will be that much sweeter because of the long dry spell. Trust God to lead you to victory. Don’t get tired in your daily discipline of prayer. Stick to it even when you don’t feel like it. The difference between an Olympic athlete and an ordinary athlete is often not their skill. The difference lies in their character, their determination and their grit.