Eternal Perspectives: Effective Prayer Takes Perseverance
When I write these messages, most of the time they’re meant for me as well as you, the reader. I know how easy it is to slip up on prayer time because of my to-do list, unexpected events, or runaway thoughts. One of my goals this new year is to make time for daily prayer. Care to join me?
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
Persevering in prayer
The snow is piled high already this winter, along the highways and roadways, around every bend and corner, making it hazardous for travelers. Sometimes we hope for the best and take a chance on a safe crossing. Yet hope alone isn’t always the best answer. The Bible cites countless phrases about the value and necessity of prayer. And for our prayers to accomplish their purposes, trust is important.
Yet at times, it’s easy to doubt, asking ourselves, “What if I don’t make it across safely? … What if God doesn’t give me what I need? … restore my marriage? … heal my child?” Should we quit praying for a seemingly hopeless situation because we doubt that God will answer?
The Bible says there is great power in persevering in prayer. James 1:6-8 tells us to “… ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Wow! Those words are enough to cause us to check our faith condition, aren’t they? The word “double-minded” means “two souls.” Division or uncertainty—lack of faith—happens when we set our minds on both God and the situations around us. But remembering that God’s timing is perfect and that He always brings good out of adversity and evil, can make our waiting easier. Yes, many of us tend to want our answers right now, and today’s technology demands immediate solutions. Yet God promises, “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28)
Sometimes when we try to please ourselves, others, or even God, and we seem to fail, we may feel we don’t measure up to His standards. Such times can cause us to question our faith. But Paul writes, “Therefore … be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
The Bible contains many stories about people who persevered in prayer and received their reward because of their trust. Jesus said whatever we ask if we believe we will receive. His answers, however, may not be exactly what we ask, for He knows our needs better than we, ourselves. Paul, in his letters to the new Christian churches of his day, reminds the believers to pray without ceasing, to come boldly before God’s throne of grace, to remember that the Lord is not slack concerning His promises, to give thanks in everything … and even more reminders.
Lord, thank You for answering our prayers, for reminding us that our effectual, fervent prayers avail much. Cause us to grow in Your Word and never give up in praise and prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.