Yesterday my Thursday morning bible study lecture was on 'prayer'. Interestingly enough, it fell on the National Day of Prayer. Our homework leading up to this lecture was on prayer. When I opened up my daily devotional this morning, it was also on prayer. Do you think God is trying to tell me something :) ???
Yes, I think God speaks quite often in this way when He is trying to get a point across. He brings it up in your bible reading, through a sermon at church, through a speaker on the radio, through your children's devotionals...
My devotional this morning was built around the scripture in Luke 18:1: 'Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.' In fact, the devotional was so helpful and soul-stirring that I must share a portion with you:
'The failure to persevere is the most common problem in prayer and intercession. We begin to pray for something, raising our petitions for a day, a week, or even a month, but then if we have not received a definite answer, we quickly give up and stop praying for it altogether.
This is a mistake with deadly consequences and is simply a trap where we begin many things but never see them completed. It leads to ruin in every area of life. People who get into the habit of starting without ever finishing form a habit of failure. And those who begin praying about something without ever praying it through to a successful conclusion form the same habit in prayer. Giving up is admitting failure and defeat. Defeat then leads to discouragement and doubt in the power of prayer, and that is fatal to the success of a person's prayer life.
People often ask, "How long should I pray? shouldn't I come to the place where I stop praying and leave the matter in God's hands?' The only answer is this: Pray until what you pray for has been acccomplished or until you have complete assurance in your heart that it will be. Only when one of these two conditions has been met is it safe to stop persisting in prayer, for prayer not only is calling upon God but is also a battle with Satan. And because God uses our intercession as a mighty weapon of victory in the conflict, He alone must decide when it is safe to cease from petitioning. Therefore we dare not stop praying until either the answer itself has come or we receive assurance it will come.' from The Practive of Prayer
I was refreshed yesterday by my bible study teacher's important reminder to us HOW IMPORTANT PRAYER IS. She stressed it over and over again. Because most of us in her bible study are married and mothers, she specifically discussed the importance of prayer in regard to our husbands and children. I was so refreshed by her message because I have been to many parenting seminars that stressed everything BUT prayer. 'teach your child this, don't do that, etc. etc.' ...I always left feeling like something was missing and thinking, 'shouldn't it all start with and be under the umbrella of prayer? Isn't it all in vain without the intervening Holy Spirit?'
I wish I had time this morning to write more about this, but my kids need breakfast. In closing, I want to share two great quotes on prayer I heard on the radio yesterday:
'I'd rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach' --Charles Spurgeon
'A praying man stops sinning and a sinning man stops praying' --unknown