Grateful seems like a lackluster word when it comes to God’s revelation and work in one’s life. This summer was an amazing time that couldn’t of come at a more crucial time in my journey with Christ. As draining as a summer in student ministry can be, it is always also such a rewarding time. So much prep and prayer goes into our camps, activities and mission trips that when God shows up and works powerfully in our students’ lives… it is so encouraging. But none of that compares to being closely connected with Christ and personally renewed and challenged.
I wish I had been more disciplined to journal everything in real time, but now I’m looking back in a more collective way, but also want to hone in on one specific area. I went into summer with a desire to really hear from God and be better disciplined in prayer. And God was faithful to answer my heart’s desire.
Learning to listen in my communication with God has been one of the more difficult tasks. I’ve always been good on the talking end of things. But thankfully God is in the process of sharpening my hearing to recognize His voice and notice His movement around me. But just recently He opened my eyes to another aspect of prayer that has largely been neglected in my life. And He did this through a familiar passage, and a real life example.
My three boys all share a common trait… persistence. All three are unique and persistence shows up differently and with different foci and what’s interesting is I don’t recall ever teaching them the value of persistence. My big boy is persistent when it comes to an activity he wants to do or something he feels he just has to have. The three year old, at this point, is the most persistent when it comes to my attention. It usually takes the form of “dad, dad, dad, dad…” until I respond. The little boy shows his persistence through grunts and pointing – especially when hungry.
Jesus actually explains a very similar father/son scenario in Luke chapter 11 when He was teaching His disciples how to pray (in response to their request). He likens God’s response to His childrens’ prayers like a father who hears His kids requests and responds.
But the verse that really captured my attention was verse 5, “if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence” (NLT).
Shameless persistence. Two words I would love my prayer life to be described with. Not whining, not nagging and not on the opposite end of thoughtless toss-ups. But a persistence that comes before the Lord, imploring Him to respond. A dedication to faithfully come into God’s presence believing He hears us and stands ready to answer.
I am more and more aware that He is always speaking. The question now becomes am I willing to labor in prayer with a shameless persistence that is aligned with His will? Will my life be marked by dangerous prayers and bold dreams? Can I follow Christ’s example of constant communication with the Father? Do I truly believe the more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams?
Shameless persistence in prayer… only by His grace and for His glory.