Posted by: mikenicholsblog | August 6, 2017

pray consistently and never quit

Do you ever feel like just giving up? Quitting may be a better way to say it! 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 then, 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 badly the coach or teacher has treated them. No matter your stage in life, 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 battle. In one of the most critical of spiritual disciplines, prayer, quitting also has a strong emotional pull.

If you have attended church for very long, you’ve likely heard the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18). Christ, in his wisdom, used this parable to show the disciples the need to pray and not give up. He gave them great counsel at the end of verse one: pray consistently and never quit. Just like his disciples, we need the same counsel. In our heart of hearts, we know if we have slowed down or even stopped with persistent praying. Sure there may be times of mouthing words, but I am talking about really seeking after God’s heart and plan on issues of concern to us. Looking back at my prayer journals would probably show issues that were once important, which I regretfully gave up on. You too, may have gotten discouraged at God’s delays, angry over the outcome of your pleadings or disillusioned after praying hard and nothing seemed to happen. He understands our struggle, but we need the same great counsel He gave the disciples: pray consistently and never quit.

Christ’s parable about the persistent widow gives us incredible insight about never, ever giving up. The unjust judge she confronted was finally bothered to the point of giving in to her. We need to be careful at comparing the awful judge to our Lord, because the context gives us a completely different picture. But the parable teaches us that being persistent in prayer is vital. Too often Christians become easily dismayed and don’t follow the great counsel: pray consistently and never quit. In studying this parable, and the verses immediately afterwards (listed below), I am challenged and convicted.

Then the Master said, “Do you hear what that judge, corrupt as he is, is saying? So what makes you think God won’t step in and work justice for his chosen people, who continue to cry out for help? Won’t he stick up for them? I assure you, he will. He will not drag his feet. But how much of that kind of persistent faith will the Son of Man find on the earth when he returns?”
Luke 18:6-8 (MSG)

Intellectually, there is no doubt in my mind you believe (as I do) that God will honor persistent praying. But we all struggle with the discipline of persistence.  Especially in the times when He seems to put our requests in delay mode, a loved one is not healed, 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: pray consistently and never quit. I can’t tell you why God delays, but I can tell you that He loves you, He does heal, and He will honor Christ-followers with yielded hearts who consistently cry out to Him. Is there anything you need to cry out to the Father night and day about? Do it, and never quit.

Of all the great accomplishments of Sir Winston Churchill, one of his statements strikes me as timeless. In 1941, he said, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty. . .”  You and I can take his words to a new level: never, never, never, never ever stop praying! Great counsel indeed!

Renew your heart today to: pray consistently and never quit.

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