Thursday, May 14, 2015

Perseverance and Prayer

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” –Luke 11:9-10

Perseverance is a quality that we must develop in prayer. When a need arises, the natural tendency in prayer is to pray once or even to neglect prayer altogether. In the weakness of our flesh we often succumb to the pressures to start striving on our own apart from God. Our flesh wants to attempt to control the circumstances we face. God would have us pray and rely upon Him as we go through each trial. When things get difficult and we are tempted to give up in prayer, we are to keep on praying and keep on relying on God.

The Bible has much to say about continuing and being constant in prayer. We are told that it is God’s will for us to pray without ceasing. We are commanded to pray. In another place, we are told to be watchful in prayer. Here in Luke 11, we are told to ask, seek, and knock when it comes to prayer. These verbs are in the present tense, which indicates that we are supposed to keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. Perseverance is continuing in that course of action with little or no indication of change. Prayer often feels this way. We pray and expect God to act immediately, but He doesn’t operate on our time schedule. We pray and then wait, and then pray, and then wait some more. Sometimes this results in us giving up on praying. But when we persevere in prayer, we begin to see God answer and fulfill our prayers in ways that we could never imagine.

Jesus is a prime example to us of perseverance in prayer. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed with perseverance. Remember, He was agonizing over the impending suffering that He would face on the cross. He prayed for another way but He also submitted Himself to the Father’s will and not His own. He didn’t leave the place of prayer until He had prayed three times and sweat drops of blood as He prayed. The disciples were not so diligent. They couldn’t even stay awake and watch as Jesus prayed. This is a great picture of the struggle we face in prayer. Jesus is the ideal. We want to pray with endurance and perseverance like He does, but we usually end up asleep like the disciples.

Lord, teach us to pray and to pray with perseverance.

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