Posted by: mikenicholsblog | August 26, 2012

keep praying and never give up!

Do you ever feel like quitting?  Have you ever had thoughts of confronting your boss and letting him have a piece of your mind, right before you hand in your resignation letter? But in a moment of mental clarity you decide quitting isn’t the best choice. We also teach our children that quitting isn’t right, no matter how bad the coach or teacher has treated them. No matter your life stage, you have wanted to quit, taught your children life lessons about not quitting, and viewed from a distance as others made disastrous decisions to give up on a marriage or to leave their job. Quitting is a powerful emotion that we all have to battle. In one of the most critical spiritual disciplines, prayer, quitting also has a strong emotional pull.

If you have attended church for very long, you may have heard the parable of the persistent widow in Luke chapter eighteen. Christ in his wisdom used this parable to show the disciples the need to pray and not give up. The disciples needed to hear good counsel: keep praying and don’t give up. In our heart of hearts, we all know that we have backed off or even stopped praying about certain issues. Sure there may be times of mouthing words, but I am talking about really seeking after God’s design on matters of concern to us. Looking back at my prayer journals would probably show some issues that were once important, that I regretfully gave up on. You may have gotten discouraged at His delays, angry over the outcome of your pleadings, and disillusioned that you prayed so hard and nothing seemed to happen. He understands our struggle, and gives us great counsel; keep praying and don’t give up.

Christ’s parable about the persistent widow gives us incredible insight about never, ever giving up. The unjust judge that she confronted was finally bothered to the point of giving in to her. Never compare the judge to our Lord, because the context gives us a completely different picture. But the parable uses the widow’s  tenacity with an unjust judge as a great analogy of persistence in prayer. The widow was battling an adversary, and pleading with an unjust judge. Our Father cares deeply about our battles, and it is anything but unjust. Nevertheless, Christians become easily dismayed and don’t follow the great counsel, keep praying and never give up. In studying the two verses following this parable, I am challenged and convicted.

Luke 18:6-7
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

Intellectually, there is no doubt in my mind that you believe God will honor persistent praying. But we all struggle with the discipline to keep praying when He seems to put our requests into delay mode or a loved one is not healed, or our finances don’t quickly turn around, or our child continues to reject Christ no matter how long we’ve prayed. We all have reasons not to pray, but His counsel is, keep praying and never give up. I can’t tell you why God delays, but I can tell you that He loves you, He does heal, and He will honor those who cry out to Him day and night. Is there anything that you need to cry out to the Father about right now? Do it, and keep doing it. Never give up!

Sir Winston Churchill in 1941 used the following words: “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty. . .” You and I should take his words to a new level: never, never, never, never ever stop praying. Great counsel indeed!


Responses

  1. Great counsel…very hard to do!


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