Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Lesson on Perseverance

““And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.”
(Luke 11:9–10 NLT)

The NLT captures the sense of Jesus' teaching on perseverance here. "Keep on". Now this teaching is balanced with Jesus' teaching elsewhere on prayer that a person should not think that their many words will have an impact on God. So it's not repeating a mantra or a well-rehearsed prayer that Jesus is talking about here. No, he is talking about a desperate person who refuses to give up. One who continues to knock on the door even though it's late at night and the noise is waking up the neighbors.

"One day George Mueller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller’s funeral the last one was saved". (From: George Mueller, Man of Faith)

What are the longings of my heart? What are the loaves of bread I need because of visiting friends? Will I keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking? Or will I give up and assume that somehow, God is not listening to my prayers? Persistence, persistence, persistence! Prayer is an interesting thing. We are going to the God of the universes who already knows the end from the beginning. Yet, prayer is so important both to Him and to us. This teaching from Jesus came as a result of the disciples seeing Him at prayer "in a certain place" and asking Him to teach them to pray. After walking them through the Lord's prayer, he told the story of a man knocking on his friends door after hours looking for bread. He concluded the story with the exhortation to keep on asking, keep on looking, keep on knocking.

Lord, give me perseverance in my faith and in my prayers to you. Help me not to give up. Increase my faith and my faithfulness.

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