"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on."
"Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going."
When the Apostle Paul is bringing encouragement to the church at Thessalonica, he says:
"Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." -I Thessalonians 5:16-18
In three verses Paul fashions for us a lifestyle for a lifetime. If you’ve ever questioned God’s will for your life or your purpose in life, it is answered here: worship all the time, pray all the time and be grateful all the time.
I’ll be the first to admit that prayer is a bit of a mystery. And I’ll also admit that I know more about the mechanisms of prayer than my own commitment to prayer.
Prayer is hard –at least real prayer. I pray quite a lot yet, I’m quite certain I don’t pray enough. I’ve only known brief times of praying without ceasing. It wasn’t just Paul who said it. Jesus mentioned much the same in one of his many parables:
"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them
that they should always pray and not give up." -Luke 18:1
The story that follows is the story of a poor widow driving a
local, unjust judge crazy with her persistent pleas for justice.
As the story progresses he finally grants her request--if only to get her out of his hair. Jesus contrasts this unjust judge with God the Father.
He says that if this compromised and uncaring judge gives in to a persistent widow for whom he feels nothing, then how much more will God grant the persistent requests of his own children whom he indeed loves?
So, there seems to be a bit of heavy-lifting required on our end. I don’t know why; but we’re asked to pray and not get discouraged in doing so.
I can only guess that he is causing something to happen inside of us. If we’ve grown tired of praying a certain prayer, perhaps heaven has waited us out for our own good.
The wisdom of a “no” becomes evident with time and a “no” is certainly one type of answer to
prayer. But more often, I believe, he is using our persistent prayer to craft and shape us as we pray - getting us ready to receive both the blessing and the burden of a “yes.”
Go Give Em Heaven