Christian Living

Friday Prayer: Preserving the Instinct of Perseverance

Jesus taught that we must come to God as little children. I’m still considered a young adult by many, but I learned long ago not to indulge some childhood urges. Now, as a father of two girls, I wonder how much my encouragement towards change in behavior will benefit or harm their future walk with God.

I was reading about George Muller today as I often do on Fridays lately. While he sought God’ hand and provision for a new orphanage to be built in the late 1840’s in England, he wrote the following in his journal:

Now while, by God’s grace, I would not wish the building to be begun one single day sooner than is His will, and while I firmly believe that He will give me, in His own time, every shilling that I need, yet I also know that He delights in being earnestly asked and that he takes pleasure in the continuance in prayer. His teaching about persevering prayer may clearly be seen from the parable of the widow and the unjust judge. (See Luke 18:1-8)

After reading and highlighting the middle lines of that section, I felt I needed to pray. I also started writing down the beginnings of my prayer today. Here is what I wrote in my own prayer journal.

May I learn to be like a child that repeatedly asks for her desire until she receives it; and that I might not completely remove or discourage such a heart in my children, so they might apply it to their future prayer lives.

When my girls want something, they usually go to Mommy first. There are two reasons for this: 1) Daddy is more likely to say “No,” and 2) if they bug Mommy long enough, she will give in and let them have what they want. Today’s I’ve had to stop and consider what I’m teaching my girls about persistence.

You see, they have come to understand that when Daddy says “No,” there is little chance of changing his mind. (This is why Mommy sometimes says, “Go ask your father.” It is one way she gets out of delivering a solid “No.”)  Is this the example set by my Heavenly Father?

There is a delicate balance here that I must learn to guard. After all, there are times when God’s answer is “No,” and there is no changing His mind. It is not that He is inflexible, it is because He knows more and better than we do. (This is also a lesson we try to teach our own children about our role as parents.)

On the other hand, there are times when God wants to see if we are truly committed to the need or desire in our heart, and if we are willing to pursue Him until He releases it. We have to be careful that we do not train our children so much that they lose the instinct of perseverance. And we just might have to take steps to reawaken it in our own hearts.

[Question:] How can we balance persistence in our prayer lives? What steps are you already taking?