Click on the following link for Part 3: 16. Never, Never, Never Give Up (Wise Words, Winston) Pt. 3
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him’. 1 John 5:14-15
In the previous blog post, I discussed how the journey of perseverance deepens our relationship with God. Prayer is an integral aspect of that.
4. Pray without ceasing
‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you’. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
Prayer is our means of direct access to God. The power of prayer is immeasurable. This earthly journey of faith, is a journey of perseverance, because the enemy – the Father of Lies – tries to trip us up, diminish us, discourage us, trap us, kill our joy, peace, hope, and love, and slyly distort our perspective, using distractions to turn our eyes away from Jesus. He is relentless in this pursuit. When we pray, when we do so without ceasing, we are looking to Jesus. We are fixing our eyes on the One who speaks only truth; the One who is Truth. This is why prayer is vital. This is why prayer deepens our relationship with God. In prayer, we look to Jesus, and we have direct access to His glory.
‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.’ Colossians 4:2
This is a simple but powerful warning. Prayer has us looking to Jesus, but it also has us more acutely aware of the devils tricks and attacks. Be watchful. Be on the lookout. We focus on God, but we remain mindful and wise to the distractions that threaten to break our foundation of faith.
‘Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown’. Revelation 2:10
We will suffer in this earthly life. That is inevitable. Being Christian does not mean you are immune to suffering in this imperfect world we live in. There is a God, but we can’t pretend there isn’t also a devil. We blame our sufferings on the One who loves us and gives us eternal peace, conveniently forgetting about the father of lies who attacks, attacks, attacks throughout this earthly life. He wants to steal our inheritance, to steal the promise we have of eternal life. We will be tested and we will suffer. But there is victory in the end.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Devote yourselves to prayer. Be in constant communion with Him.
God is a God of action. He listens when we speak to Him. Our prayers are not always pretty. Sometimes they are messy and despairing, sometimes they are filled with questions and frustration, sometimes they are filled with doubt and wonder. He can handle it! Our loving Father wants us to come to Him and speak to Him, no matter what. He can handle our messiness. He can work it out with us. He can gently pull us through. He can work within us, changing our heart and renewing our spirit.
‘Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not case me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me’. Psalm 51:10-12
In my experience, the answer to prayer rarely comes right away (sometimes, His will is different to yours). When I am going through a period of frustration, sadness, worry, or confusion, I try to pray fervently for His grace and mercy to see me through and help me with whatever the situation might be. Sometimes it takes some time before I see His hand on the situation. But my experience is that if I persist, He POURS OUT His grace in abundance on me. He rewards my demonstration of faith, and fills me with His peace. And His peace is unmistakable and is all-encompassing. In those moments, I can’t help but to want to praise and worship and thank my Lord for His graciousness, and kindness, and loving mercy.
Praise Him all the way through. Praise Him even before you see the prayer answered. (See Part 2 15. Never, Never, Never Give Up (Wise Words, Winston) Pt. 2 ). In doing so, we demonstrate persistent and expectant faith.
And pray fervently. One of my favourite books was kindly given to me as a gift to encourage me in my prayer life – it is called ‘Fervent – A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer’ by Priscilla Shirer. Men get a lot from it too! Prayer is a tool we have to use in the battle against the enemy. It is always at our disposal. There is POWER in the name of Jesus; there is POWER in calling on our Lord in prayer. There is POWER in our words and God is always listening. Demonstrate with determined certainty and assurance, that you know that He alone is Lord, and that He can carry you through… and He surely will.
I’ll end with the parable of the persistent widow:
‘Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!'”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for His chosen one, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?“. Luke 18:1-8
Demonstrate your faith to God. No matter the circumstance, stand firm in persistence prayer and thanksgiving.
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Please don’t drop the link through Facebook! That is my contact list! You offer meaty tasty morsels here, Abbie! We had a sermon on prayer today too.
I think the reason God wants us to press in when we pray is that he is best know through relationship. He doesn’t need us to pray for him to know our needs, he knows that already, and knows what he’s going to do about it. But he longs to share himself with us in relationship! What a God we have! Blessings to you for the new week.
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Thanks so much for your encouragement!! Glad you liked it. I agree – it’s all about relationship and through prayer, we cultivate that to a greater depth. God bless!