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- How to pray?
- Bible prayers
- Persevering in prayer
I’ve long lamented being a plodder: lack of panache, short on genius, without the glut of talent and personality that some people have.
Last night I learned the plodder wins the day. The IQ-overflow, overconfident swashbuckler doesn’t want to work. He expects everybody to do everything for him just because their enthralled with his personality. Persistent Igor blindsides him. Whoop!
The plodder goes to prayer. He patiently, persistently, perseveringly goes to God, day after day, not making “vain repetitions,” but continually assailing the throne with desperate needs until the glorious answer materializes. If you’re slogging through the mud, rejoice! The answers coming!
Everybody loves the heroic moment: David downs Goliath, Elijah makes fire from Heaven, Moses opens the Red Sea. The special effects are exciting. But we must realize that hours, days, weeks, months and years of prayer go into the making of that moment.
While the disciples slept, Jesus prayed. (While Jesus slept, the disciples fretted.)
Don’t worry about the famine. It’s your chance to shine.
Joseph was rotting in the jail. If it weren’t for the famine, he wouldn’t have gotten the chance to show his strengths before Pharaoh.
If you are passing through a time of famine in your life,
- don’t quit your strengths
- don’t despair and give up
- don’t give in to hopelessness
- don’t lose patience
- don’t stop believing in God and in yourself
Joseph was wrongly sold into slavery (by his brothers!?!!). Then he was falsely accused and thrown in jail. But he kept a good attitude and worked hard. As a slave, he was put in charge of all Potiphar’s household. As a jailbird, he made administrator of the prison.
So when God sprung him, he was named vice president of all of Egypt. He kept his relationship vibrant with God and was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. In his new post, Joseph prepared the nation for a coming 7-year famine that catapulted Egypt into world dominance and paved the way for the launching of the nation of Israel (with Egypt as its incubator).
What Joseph’s brothers intended for evil, God turned into good. Joseph instructed his brothers to not be overly angry at themselves for having sold him into slavery: God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance – Gen. 45:7 NIV.
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then CHOOSE for yourselves THIS DAY whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. – Josh. 24:15 NIV my caps.
The results of doubt are disaster. The much-admired atheist Frederick Nietzsche died insane (brought on by syphilis?), fighting against a carriage driver who was whipping his horses. A tree is recognized by its fruit — Matt. 12:33b NIV.
Aside from total doubt (atheist, agnostic) there is partial doubt. This is the “believer” who does not believe for healing or for answers to prayers. This is a midroader, neither an unbeliever, nor a total, radical, Bible-believing Christian. I find myself constantly trying to wrestle my way out of this quandary.
The addict struggles to believe he can be free. The failure struggles to believe he can be a success. The sick struggles to believe for healing. The pioneer pastor struggles to believe for people and finances. Write your circumstance here: ____________ struggles to believe.
Belief is a daily choice. It requires effort. To not believe, requires no effort. That’s why prayer and Bible-reading in the morning is such a good idea: it fills you with faith. Choose to believe today.
My pastor, Rob Scribner, tried out for professional football to prove he couldn’t do it.
He just liked it. But he thought he wasn’t good enough. Because of hard work, he wound up on the team, playing for the then-LA Rams from 1973 to 1976. A lot of other guys didn’t even try out because they thought they wouldn’t make it.
Fear of failure is a major problem. Whatever you long to do but are afraid of doing, that is what you should do.
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. – Thomas Edison
The explosion of “fantasy” — sports, Second Life, etc. — is illustrative. People want more but are afraid to live it.
Christian, when you overcome fear, you become dangerous to the devil.
For sixty years, Carmen Herrera painted without selling a single item. Then at 89 years of age, she cashed in her first painting. Now aged 95, she’s exploding in popularity and her paintings are fetching previously unimaginable prices. Critics speak of her as monumental, iconic of a Latin American minimalism.
In anonymity, she pursued her passion for decades. Among artists, failure is common. Supporters joke that her recent eclosion was orchestrated from above by her recently-deceased husband. At hearing such jests, she retorts peppery, “I worked really hard. Maybe it was me.”
Don’t feel like a failure. You’re just casting about for your legacy. The world may call you a failure, but YOU don’t have to accept any stigmas into your heart. It may take decades to strike gold, so keep digging. As attractive as the child prodigy is the story of the late bloomer.
My cousin got in early with E-Bay. At the time, all the relatives were abuzz with the risk. He shouldn’t put his money with such a highly speculative, unproven venture, they said. We couldn’t get our heads wrapped around tech, so it sounded crazy. Of course, he is now wealthy. We are all kicking ourselves.
I’ve always been a caveman, a late adapter, among the last to use new technologies. I FINALLY got an i-phone, an onsale, outdated one, but nonetheless an i-phone. Handy little device.
Among Christians there are those who won’t be convinced about the efficacy of prayer. They hold out with a wait-and-see, anything-but-prayer-must-work attitude. Only after years of flailings, after so much frustration, do they try what they should have picked up from the very beginning of their faith. (Or at least that’s the way it was with me.)
So I’m twice the believer. I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And I believe in prayer. The more I practice it, the more good benefits I experience. Don’t be a believer only in Jesus and NOT in prayer. Don’t be a late adapter, even though prayer is not a new and unproven technology.