Persistent Pursuit

Father, You hear my prayers as I come before You.
Help me to be diligent and steadfast in asking for Your help.
I remain in Your presence and pursue You continually.
As I wait upon You to answer me – help me to remember – You have a better answer than I could ask for or imagine!

Series Focus: “Eyes to See and Ears to Hear”

Do you remember the very first prayer you ever whispered to your Creator? I would venture to guess that most of us probably cannot remember the content but we may recall the person who first helped us learn to pray. I remember my mom teaching me a bedtime prayer at a very early age. You may have been taught this as well: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” God bless…

I remember asking God to bless each family member by name. I added in my friends, my neighbors and my pets too. At that young age I didn’t really focus upon the latter part of the prayer – “If I should die, before I wake” – nope that part wasn’t for me. In fact, as an adult, I’m not sure I really want to pray that either. However, having the understanding and knowing that the Lord will be taking my soul when I breathe my last breath – well, that brings me peace in a way I couldn’t realize back in childhood.

I wonder if my mom knows how important teaching me to pray was? Was it something that she set out intentionally to do? Was it by chance? I think she knew it was important. Something in us yearns for Jesus, even if we can’t explain it to others. Something inside her compelled her to share that prayer with me. I consider this my first introduction to Jesus. Thanks mama.

Do you pray? Are you indifferent to prayer? Could you take it or leave it? Does talking to Almighty God intimidate you? Frighten you? Enlighten you? Is it hard to believe that the Maker of Heaven and Earth would listen to you and even answer? Why should we pray? More importantly, how about Jesus? Did He pray? He did! His own disciples asked Him how they should pray and He taught them this prayer:

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:7-13 ESV)

Jesus taught this simple, yet fully complete, prayer to His closest friends. How about us? Let’s look at the parable in Luke 11:5-13 and see what Jesus has to say:

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell 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 the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Focusing our attention upon Jesus’ purpose in telling this parable is key. He tells of a host who has nothing to offer his visitor. The host is ashamed by the fact he doesn’t even have bread to provide. So concerned, he is willing to knock violently on a friend’s door at the midnight hour to get some. He went boldly without hesitation to this house and didn’t leave without that which he came for. He was desperate. He went. He persisted. He received.

Jesus says this should be our attitude as we approach God with our needs. We should have a confident boldness that is unrelenting in pursuing God. As we pursue God, He is faithful to grant us mercy and grace. Now, don’t think for a moment that Jesus is saying, “if you beg God long enough, you’ll get everything you want.” That is not what He wants us to glean. Jesus tells us God is a merciful God and He is faithful to answer.

When we approach the throne of grace with a humble and persistent heart, one that resembles the heart of Christ, God will grant us what is best for us. He wants us to come, to knock, to seek Him and to ask Him. Look back on the prayer Jesus taught his disciples: “Your will be done.” Praying for God’s will to be done in our lives is the boldest prayer we can pray. It takes all the focus off “our” wants and puts the results on “God’s” desire for us. Hallelujah!!

If you haven’t prayed in awhile, think about why. Are you afraid of the answer? Do you think like the person in the parable that you will ask for a fish and receive a serpent? Maybe you are worried that God will say no? Is asking for God’s will to be done too uncertain for you? Do you need to know the outcome before you can trust Him? In the book of James, he says we don’t have because we don’t ask or we ask with the wrong motives. Yikes! I am guilty. Are you? If I want my heart to desire what God desires for me then I must boldly ask for His will, not mine.

Let’s be women who pray without ceasing – women who go before the throne and put our confidence in God! We will experience His goodness as we pursue Him and commune with Him. May we yield our lives to Him and enter His presence with complete security, knowing that He will bless us in ways we cannot even imagine!

Holding Fast to Hope,

Scripture References: Luke 11:1-13; Luke 11:2; James 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Matthew 7:7; Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 3:14-21


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