November 12, 2011

Persistent Prayer

In an age when some say that the light of Christianity is growing dim, I was encouraged to hear of a young man who had his eye on a young woman, but instead of making his move, he sought God’s will. For him, this was not a simple matter nor one that warranted a mere quick prayer. Instead, he prayed for an entire year to make sure dating her would meet God’s favor.

While questions could be asked about the delayed answer, I’m awestruck by this person’s dedication to obedience. He wanted to make the best choice and who better to ask than God who knows all things.

Jesus, in His humanity, laid aside certain aspects of His deity that He might be like us in all things. By this, He showed us how we ought to trust our heavenly Father and function as people of faith. He set the example in seeking the will of God before making a major decision. 

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles. (Luke 6:12–13)
In Jesus’ situation, He prayed all night. Unlike us, He had no growing to do, no maturing of mind and body before God would reveal to Him which men to select. He also did not have to prove His persistence to want the right choice. He was sinless and mature, deeply in tune with the mind of God, yet He set the example by praying all night.

I can pray for an hour or two. I usually need a list to help me focus. Sometimes I use the prayers of others, repeating those ideas in my own words. I also use Scripture because it is good to pray God’s Word back to Him; then I know for certain that I am praying in His will.

For the past forty years, God has been teaching me to pray about everything, but I still forget or get sidetracked. Pride? Perhaps. Scattered mind? For certain. Could I pray all night? I’m doubtful. Could I pray for a year, or even more, about a decision? Perhaps. I’m continually seeking the will of God for daily choices, and continually praying for family, friends, our church, civic leaders, and other burdens and concerns. Even at that, I am both blessed and convicted by the dedication of one young person to seek the will of God in his choice of a life partner. 

Father, first I thank You that You have people of faith who demonstrate their trust in You in this way. Bless this young man and his chosen partner. Grant them great grace and Your blessing on their lives. May they always be this conscientious toward Your will in their decisions.

Second, I thank You for Your patience with me for the many times I have done what I thought was best without even thinking to ask You about it. I know that some would chide me and say that “God gave you a brain — use it” but You certainly gave Your Son a brain too. He never did anything without seeking Your will. Even near the end of His life here, He said, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Give me the same heart and attitude so that no matter what lies before me, I am determined to think, speak and act according to Your will. May I be determined to spend whatever time in prayer that is necessary in order to find out what You want from me.

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