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Monday, July 13, 2009

Is There Power in Persistent Prayer?

Jesus says that a man goes to his friend at midnight to ask for three loaves of bread because he has had unexpected company. His friend initially tells him to go away because he has already put his children in bed. However, the man persists and his friend gets up to give him the bread, not because he is his friend, but because of his persistence. Clearly, Jesus is telling us that there is power in persistent praying.

Is persistent prayer pestering God? (I don't think I can say that three times!) Jesus also warned us that we should not be like those who pray repeating the words so that we would get what we wanted. These repeated prayers were more like magical incantations. They were attempts at making God do something. This is not the type of persistent prayer that He supported.

Persistent prayer should always seek God's will. It may even reveal God's will. I prayed for over eight years that I could become a senior pastor. I prayed reasonably consistently each day in the morning and evening. I already had a message from God that He would allow me to pastor some day. I believed I was praying His will. I continued to do so. It kept me focused on God's will. It made me realize how much I wanted to pastor. I remembered these prayers when the storms came later in a pastorate. It kept me at the job God had given me when I would rather have quit.

Persistent prayer is a test of our faith. The fact that you will keep praying when there is no indication that God has heard reveals your faith in God. God is silent to those He trusts. Faith is believing when there is no external evidence that what you want will ever happen. It is the substance of things hoped for. It is increased with each prayer.

Persistent prayer refines what we believe of God's will. If we genuinely seek God's glory we might find that what we are praying for is not that important. I am currently praying for something that seems like a mountain that should be cast into the sea. I may find that God wants the mountain exactly where it is. I will pray that the mountain be removed until God tells me otherwise.

Persistent prayer reveals God's working in our lives. Often we can't see God work while we are in the midst of the prayer. Later, when the prayer has been answered, we see God's fingerprints on the events of our lives. We marvel and give God glory because He was working when we could not see Him at all.

Persistent prayer is a testimony of God's love. He is not content to give us what we want before we are ready to receive it. He loves us too much to harm us with His gifts. He waits even if we tell Him we will not wait on Him. He works even if we tell Him that we will no longer work for Him. He does what is best when it is the best for us.

Yes, there is power in persistent prayer. It changes us. God could give us anything He wanted but waits for the timing to be right. We are incredibly grateful after we receive what we wanted. We should be incredibly grateful that we don't have it until the right time, too.

Always remember that God loves you and wants the best for your life. He will not give you a snake when you ask for fish. He will not give you a scorpion when you ask for an egg. He wants what is best even when you don't know what is best.

Don't lose heart! Keep praying. God will always give you His best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will remember: " he will not give you a snake when you ask for a fish".