Saturday, June 22, 2013

Praying with Perseverance

[Reposted from 2003 from my previous blog]

And [Jesus] said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18: 3-4

I used to find my son's scribble marks in my journals; now I find my daughter's. How they try to be like us, and yet often I find that I need to be like them.

Take prayer. My daughter prays the same thing at least four times a day--every meal and bedtime. "Help my Daddy to feel better soon." There's comfort in her familiar prayer.

For a time I began to get bored with her prayer, and wondered, "should I encourage her to pray about other things, or try to change her prayer?" Yet then the deep realization came that what is foremost on her mind, the only thing in her mind worth repeating day after day, is never too familiar or boring to say again to the One who can answer...

"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." Luke 18:1

Her prayer is short and to the point--not long or drawn out as if her words have power in and of themselves, or as if she might stumble upon some magic way of eliciting a response from God. She is my hero, my prayer warrier. And where did she learn this simple prayer? Her brother taught it to her. "A little child shall lead them..."

I find sometimes that my faith falls short--that after I pray for awhile, I want to give up because I get tired of waiting for the answer--but my hero doesn't get tired. She enjoys being carried--and she knows the One who will carry the desires and concerns of her heart.

The Footprints poem says God is carrying us in the hardest times. To me that used to be a nice sentiment, something that good Christians imagine but not a truth to be experienced. But God has led me time and again to know and experience the deep truth of this.

The prayer He calls me to is to pour out my heart, all of my worries, my concerns, my fears, until God says, "Be still, and know that I am God." I used to stop praying at that point, but now I bask in prayer, knowing that He is God. I rest in His arms because He is sovereign, in control, His perfect plan is in action, I am secure, I am in the shelter of His wings. That's when He begins to speak to me. That's when I am filled by Him.

I used to be afraid to seek His presence because I was afraid of hearing more silence. I thought, my faith is too fragile to handle any more silence like God's apparent silence in response to my prayers. It is better to imagine God than to seek Him and be disappointed. I mistook God's silence for rejection instead of His beckoning call to seek and pursue Him, and I missed out on knowing the beauty of when God does answer.

Sometimes I break down and tell God I don't have the strength to pursue Him and that I need Him to come meet me where I am. He has always answered that prayer over time, and then calls me again to seek after Him.

Have you grown weary of bringing some request before God? Maybe He is calling you to bring it again, then lay it at His sovereign feet and soak in the peace of His presence. I don't know how or when God will answer your fervent prayer, but I know that He suffered greatly on our behalf to enable us to bring any and every care to Him--and that He shares in our pain because He loves us more deeply than we can imagine. 

Sometimes it's scary to me to allow God to enter into my pain, sometimes I'm afraid to tell Him about my anger at Him and or to relinquish that anger to Him. But I find when I go through that process--and it can take a long time--that He does indeed carry me.

Seeking again to rest in His arms, Merry 

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