It is said that persistence without purpose is useless, but when persistence is used to reach a goal in spite of difficulty or opposition, then it is a good trait to have. Persistence is not considered one of the “fruits of the spirit” but it does work alongside patience, which is. Maintaining an action regardless of your feelings or failures takes power, the power of patience. Often in the face of adversity, we give up, especially when the journey becomes more difficult. Our enthusiasm wains as our commitment begins to crumble. This is why it is important to size our commitments in proportion to our goals, using our persistence to reach them.
It truly does pay you to know your destination or where you are going. I read a brief story recently about the crazy rules of the airlines and how they set their fares. One man told of wanting to go on vacation but couldn’t decide whether to go to Salt Lake City or Denver. He really wanted to go to Denver, but his money was limited so he decided to let the amount of his fare determine his destination.
He called one airline and asked what the fare was to Denver. The reservation agent replied, “Airfare to Denver is $300 per person. So, he then asked the cost of the fare to Salt Lake City. The agent excitedly replied, “We have a really great rate right now to Salt Lake City, only $99, but there is a stopover. The man asked where the stopover was to which the agent replied, “Denver.” It certainly paid the man to know his destination before he journeyed on.
Has your week been filled with hardships or happiness? Are you praying or praising? Do you see prayer as a constant line of communication with God or is it your last resort? Perhaps you can identify with the elderly lady who constantly expressed all her many troubles, both the real and the imaginary. Finally, her family tactfully told her, ”Grandmother, we’ve done all we can for you. You’ll just have to trust God for the rest.” With a look of absolute despair spread over her face, she replied, ”Oh dear, has it come to that?” If you think about it carefully, it should always come to that. In fact, that is where we shouldn’t just begin, but where we should always be. Continue reading Hardships and Happiness: Are you Praying?→
What do you ask for? Patrick wanted a watch. He wanted a watch so badly that he asked for it repeatedly. His parents finally forbade him to talk about it anymore. So, one night at dinner it was his turnÂ to pray and he said, ”Before I pray, I would like to quote Mark 13:37, ”˜And what I say unto you, I say unto all, WATCH!”” Does what you ask for reflect who you are? How do you ask for it, does that reflect whose you are? Continue reading Ask for it All and Receive More Than You Expect→
How did you spend your time this week? As you look back do you feel that your week rushed by resulting in a less than peaceful life simply because you didn’t have time? Do you fear you waste your minutes and just simply aren’t doing the one thing you know you should do? It does seem like when we aren’t accomplishing that ”one thing” that we have no time for anything else. Have we become the busiest people in the world running the race of life while the clock ticks on? Continue reading Time â€“ Listening to the Silence and Finding God→
What do you pray for? Do your prayers seek to solve your problems? Ben’s mother sent him to his room for misbehavior. A short time later he came out and said to his mother. ”I’ve been thinking about what I did and I said a prayer.” ”That’s fine, ”she said, ”If you ask God to help you do the right thing, He will help you.” ”Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me be good,” replied the boy. ”I asked Him to help you put up with me.” Ben’s prayer solution had a selfish edge to it. Children often pray with a focus on ”me.” Take for instance the following prayers.
My Mom tells me that you have a reason for everything, I guess broccoli is one of your mysteries, can you get rid of it?
Please make my parents understand that if I don’t eat salad, I do better at school.
Forgive me for hiding my sister’s favorite doll”¦ please don’t tell her where it is.
I need you to make my mom not allergic to cats.Â I really want a cat and I really don’t want to ask my mom to move out.
Please don’t let it rain on Saturday, the first ball I hit is for you.
These funny prayers make us smile and think well, they are children. They don’t understand how prayer works but are adult prayers really any less selfish? Have you ever found yourself thinking along the linesÂ of these prayers?
Please help me get this promotion.
Help me get a parking space so I won’t be late.
Let my child get into the right school.
Please don’t let me get a speeding ticket.
Let me win the lottery and I promise to use it for good things.
The Problem with Demand Prayers
It is difficult for all of us to remember that God is not a wish grantor even when our prayers are not so selfish. We must remember that it is God’s will that must prevail in all of our conversations with Him. Prayer is a surrender; it must align with giving up complete control totally to God. Prayer is not pulling God to our will but aligning our will to the will of Him. (Hughes, 1987)
When we communicate with God we don’t place demands on what we want but instead discuss with him what He wants for us. As we align our prayers to His will we can be certain that He listens. God always gives an answer and we can pray with confidence if our willÂ alignsÂ with His. God’s answer will always be the result that best fulfills His plan.
Our focus verse this week is;
And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him. 1 John 5:14 (NLT)
This verse gives us the reassurance that God does indeed hear us when we pray and that He will grant prayers that please Him and that follow His plan. In order to understand better what pleases God and aligns with His plans we must learn to know Him better. This allows us to seek His will in our life.
Pray with Confidence
God’s purpose must always come first and it is our purpose to glorify Him. Prayers aren’t answered in the way we desire simply because we are good, do good deeds, or follow the rules. Prayers aren’t always answered just because they are unselfish either. Positively answered prayers are possibilitiesÂ when they emphasize God’s will and not ours. This is often the hardest part of prayer as often we don’t understand because we don’t see the whole picture or understand the big plan.
It is our position to remember that God is in control. He does hear us when we pray and it is important to know that He will give an answer. He will not however do it on our schedule but in His time. We can pray with confidence knowing that He is listening but we must also remember that it is Him we are glorifying.
If the request is wrong, God says, ”No.”
When the timing is wrong, God says, ”Slow.”
If you are wrong, God says, ”Grow.”
But if the request is right, the timing is right, and you are right, God says, ”Go.” (Hybels, 2008)
Confident praying requires you to get to know God better. Persist on pleasing Him. Knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow through. Learn to pray seeking to discuss your needs knowing that your prayers must align with God’s will and purpose.
Challenge yourself to pray not with demands but with what He wants for you. Find yourself convicted to pray with confidence knowing He is listening. Your motivation to pray without ceasing is in knowing that He will answer in His time and this provides you with the peace and comfort to keep moving on the path to reach His glory.
Love in Christ,
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
Earlier this spring my prayer for growing my own vegetables was graciously answered when my mother gave me some tomato plants that she grew from seed. I have carefully nurtured the seedlings watching them continue to grow into rather large and lush plants. They are now blooming and I look forward to them producing fruit for I have big dreams for these tomatoes. Continue reading Prayer: Faith, Mustard Seeds, & Mountains→
Your attitude determines your altitude says Zig Ziglar. Too often we allow our circumstances though to determine not just how we see and face life, but whether we should move forward or not. If we do not want to move forward, the underlying determinant can usually be found in the attitude that we have on the situation.It can be an attitude of fear, hopelessness, or perhaps it just appears hard. Continue reading Move with Prayer: A Change for Life!→
Do you pray for or with others? People do need people as three-year old, Laurie understood. One night she was getting ready for bed and yelled to her mother, her need to help get undressed. Her mother replied by reminding her, Continue reading May I Pray With You?→