Persistent Praying

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.
–Colossians 4:2

Gary Player is considered one of the greatest golfers in history, as well as one of the most courteous. But the story is told that during a particularly frustrating day on the course, a fan said, “I’d give anything if I could hit the ball just like you.” Gary Player’s usual politeness eluded him, and he replied, “No you wouldn’t. You’d give anything to hit a golf ball like me if it was easy. Do you know what you’ve got to do to hit a golf ball like me? You’ve got to get up at five o’clock in the morning every day, go out on the course, and hit one thousand golf balls. Your hand starts bleeding, you walk up to the clubhouse, wash the blood off your hand, slap a bandage on it, and go out and hit another thousand golf balls. That’s what it takes to hit a golf ball like me.”

Persistence is not only the key to success in golf; persistence is the key to success in your prayer life. And that is the truth of the parable Jesus told in Luke 18:1-8. Luke gave us the big idea of the passage in verse 1: “He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” In other words, we ought to pray in every circumstance–not just in the easy circumstances or when the answer seems obvious or possible. We ought to pray at all times.

Difficult circumstances sometimes drive us to our knees. When our world is caving in around us, sometimes all we can do is pray. But other times, difficult circumstances actually drive us away from prayer. When the doctor’s report comes back that the tumor is malignant, when our supervisor tells us that a layoff is inevitable, when our mate says there is somebody else, we become so paralyzed with fear and anxiety, we think, “This problem is even too big for God to handle.” And we quit praying.

Instead, we reserve our prayers for those easy issues. Sometimes we set the bar so low in our prayer life, thinking, “Even God can climb over this one.” We pray things like, “Lord, help me get over this cold.” Now, that is fine to pray. But truthfully, it does not require any divine intervention. God has constructed your body in such a way that it is probably going to get over the cold. Or we pray broad, immeasurable prayers such as, “Lord, bless this worship service.”

That is not the kind of praying Jesus was talking about. We ought to pray at all times, even in the most difficult, perplexing situations.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Persistent Praying” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Gary Player, as quoted in Ron Jenson, “Make a Life, Not Just a Living” (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1998), 30.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org

 

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