Tag Archives: prayer

Knock! Persistence Wins


In teaching His disciples about prayer, Jesus made it relevant for them.

He said, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity [boldness] he will surely get up and give you as much as you need…to him who knocks the door will be opened.”

Knocking means never, never, never giving up. It requires the same kind of persistence and repetition that Jethro, my black lab, uses to wake me up every morning. 

I pretend to be asleep when he enters my room, but the sound of his 3-footed gait makes a distinctive sound as he limps down the hall, so I’m awake but playing possum by the time he arrives bedside.

He begins his persistent get-up-and-feed-me routine with a single “Woof” while sitting as close to my face as he can sit. The second “Woof” comes before I can count to ten. By the third “Woof,” Jethro has become a little impatient and puts his foot on my bed to push it for emphasis. Now, our morning routine has reached the critical point.

If I keep my eyes shut and quietly say, “Lie down,” I can buy two or three more minutes of sack time before he sits up and starts the routine all over again. But if I open my eyes when he nudges my bed, he starts a series of joyous body slams that shake my bed until I get up. Either way, his persistence wins.

Like the man in the story, I don’t get up to feed Jethro because he’s my friend or because he’s hungry. I get up to feed him because he’s not going away until I do.

Jethro’s “Woof,” nudge, body slam routine is equivalent to “Ask,” “Seek,” “Knock.” His efforts escalate until he gets what he wants.

That’s how we are to approach prayer.

If asking doesn’t generate immediate results, we must invest more time, patience, and persistence in our prayer lives, because God knows we need more face to face time with Him.

He knows we are a work in progress, and through prayer we are conformed to His will for us. So the amount of time it takes for God to conform us to His will is the amount of time it will take for Him to answer those prayers that require knocking. The more stubborn we are, the longer it takes.

So pray without ceasing and never give up. Go boldly and persistently before the throne of grace and keep on knocking until the door of opportunity opens, and you walk through it.

If it’s time to storm heavens door for a job you want, or forgiveness for something you’ve done, or salvation for a loved one, keep knocking!

“For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened.”

That’s a promise from the One Who keeps His promises.

The Key to a Peaceful Life


Peace 2

Have you ever wondered why people write what they write, or what event prompted their writing about it? The psalms always peak my curiosity like that.

This week as I studied Psalm 91, I discovered it was written in celebration of God’s defeat over the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites which occurred during the reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. The story is told in 2 Chronicles 20 and provides the key to living a peaceful life in spite of life’s trials, troubles, and battles. Here’s what happened.

Jehoshaphat, an ancestor of Jesus Christ and king of Judah from 872 – 849 BC, was a king who mostly did what was right in God’s eyes. Mostly. But like us, not always. In his case, he didn’t worship other gods, but on occasion he made alliances that did not garner God’s approval.

As we look at his story, we discover that at this particular time in his reign, he found favor in God eyes. When Jehoshaphat was told that a vast army was on the way to conquer them, he gathered all the men, women, and children of Judah and Jerusalem and proclaimed a fast. The people came together for a “national day of prayer.” All the people sought God’s help while Jehoshaphat recalled God’s faithfulness to them and cried out to the Lord, “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

While they were praying–I love that phrase. It’s found several times in the Bible–the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel, an inspired Levite, with a message from God.

“Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. The battle is not yours but God’s. March down, take your position, stand firm, and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Isn’t it nice to know that the battle is the Lord’s. All we have to do is be still and let God handle it.

When Jehoshaphat heard that the Lord would deal with the approaching army, he bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people fell down and worshiped the Lord. Some of the Levitical priests were so thankful, they stood up and shouted their praises.
Early the next morning, Jehoshaphat told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to “Have faith in the Lord, and you will be upheld.”

As a man of faith himself, Jehoshaphat appointed singers– not warriors suited up and armed for battle–but singers with their vocal cords tuned up to sing to the Lord and praise Him for the splendor of His Holiness before the battle began.

Did you get that? BEFORE the battle, they sang and praised the Lord. Before they knew the outcome, they thanked God because they trusted Him to provide the deliverance He promised them. That kind of trust only comes from being still in God’s Presence and acknowledging His sovereign will.

And while they were praying [there it is again], praising, and singing to the Lord, the Lord set ambushes; and the Moabites and Ammonites destroyed each other.

When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert, they saw only dead bodies. It took three days to collect all the plunder from that vast army. On the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Beracah (means praise) and praised the Lord; then returned joyfully to Jerusalem, and went straight to the temple of the Lord to thank and praise Him.

After that, their enemies all around them feared the Lord; and the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace because God gave them rest on every side.

Would you like to have rest in all areas of your little kingdom? Then place your unwavering faith in God, lean on His promises, and do what He tells you to do.

“Don’t be afraid or discouraged… The battle is not yours but God’s. Take your position [in Him], stand firm [in your faith], and see the deliverance [from the problem] the Lord will give you. Go out to face [your problem], and the Lord will be with you [to do battle for you].”

That’s the key to a peaceful life. When you know that God is ready, willing, and able to answer your prayers–maybe not in the manner you imagine because He isn’t limited by your imagination–and you’ve learned to trust Him, then ask for His help and thank Him ahead of time. He will answer your prayers, too. Even while you are still praying.

Now go read Psalm 91. It will make a whole lot more sense to you now that you know the back story. And, praise the Lord for giving you peace in the midst of your daily battles.

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7 Lessons from King Asa

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I’ve always heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Last week I learned otherwise. The way to a man’s heart is really through his femoral artery.

My husband is having an ablation procedure Thursday at St. Thomas Baptist Hospital in Nashville to correct A-fib because the meds haven’t worked. I asked friends on Facebook to prayer for him. Their response was comforting.

With a grateful heart I replied, “The only thing better than having praying friends is having our God who answers them all.” The life of King Asa, who reigned in Judah for 41 years, illustrates that point and provides several lessons that still apply today.

Early on in his reign Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, cutting down all the false idols and commanding Judah to seek the Lord. Because he sought the Lord, Judah enjoyed peace on every side. (Lesson # 1: Seek the Lord. Enjoy peace.)

Years later when the Cushites rose up against Judah, Asa called on the Lord; and the Lord defeated the larger and mightier Cushite army. After the victory, the Spirit of God came upon Azariah, the son of a prophet, and he reminded Asa, “The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” (Lesson # 2: Stay close to the Lord.)

At this point my mind wandered. I wondered if what’s going on in our country right now is a result of our forsaking the Lord. An open border with thousands of children, guns, drugs, and criminals working their way into our country; the swap of five known Al Qaeda terrorist leaders for one U.S. deserter even though we abandoned four of our best in Benghazi and one is still in a Mexican jail for a simple mistake; and now a murderous band of terrorist thugs are marching through Iraq on a head-hunting spree as they make their way to our embassy in Baghdad. (Lesson # 3: The advice Asa received still applies today. Stay close to the Lord.) But I digress.

King Asa took Azariah’s advice, sought the Lord, and there was no more war until the 35th year of Asa’s reign. Do you see how important it is to have God on your side? (Lesson # 4: Heed Godly advice.)

And yet, Asa forgot. Caught up in another war, he was again reminded, “When you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” (Lesson #5: Half-hearted commitment is no commitment. God wants your whole heart.)

Four years later when King Asa suffered a severe health issue, a disease in his feet, “in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from the physicians.”

What! He sought God’s help for the health of his nation, but he didn’t seek God’s help for his own health? That’s what the Bible says. King Asa died two years later. That means he endured two years of severe suffering without asking the Lord for help. (Lesson # 6: ASK!)

I’m not downplaying the importance of physicians. After all, one who specializes in electrophysiology is going to do my husband’s heart procedure. It was through much prayer that God led us to this physician and got us on his schedule when our original appointment with him was not until July 29. (Lesson #7: When we seek God’s plan at any given moment for any reason, He will reveal His plan to us, strengthen us, and give us peace.)

So please, wherever you are, whatever battle you face, I hope you will seek God’s help. We did and have enjoyed His peace here and now and have great hope for whatever tomorrow brings.


Unity: That They May Be One


Did you know that people learn a lot about us when we they hear us pray? Through prayer, we reveal what is foremost in our hearts and on our minds.

As Jesus faced His crucifixion, He prayed for unity, and He allowed His disciples to listen as He prayed for Himself, for them, and for us as future believers. We are privileged to read His Words.

In the first three verses of John 17, we witness the intimate interaction of the Holy Trinity–the divine mystery of perfect unity. Listen as the Holy Spirit prays from the realm of eternity to God the Father for Jesus, the Son. Listen as He intercedes for Jesus.

“Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.”

To know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us today, in the same way, is beyond my understanding. But Jesus continued this High Priestly prayer by giving an account of how He lived His life here on earth.

We, too, will be called to account for how we have lived our lives. Will we be able to say to our Father as Jesus said, “I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do?”

Jesus recalled for God that He had revealed Himself to His disciples. He gave His disciples the Words God had given to Him. He prayed for their protection from the evil one, and He prayed for their sanctification–that they would be set apart as believers.

Then Jesus explained that He set Himself apart to die for us so we could be set apart to live for Him. He told His Father He had lived His whole life, “So that they may be one as We are one.” In other words, He prayed for the unity of His disciples.

Unity. That special oneness with the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spiritual bond that crosses the boundaries of denominations and knits His church family together.

Hebrews 7:25 tells us that, “Jesus is still praying for us today.”

Isn’t it comforting to know that we are on His prayer list?

He prayed, “That all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me, and I am in You.” He even gave us the glory that God gave Him, so we may be brought to complete unity. He said it was, “to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved me.”

Can you imagine? Jesus, Son of the Most High God, not only loves us and wants perfect unity with us, He wants us to be with Him where He is. He wants us to see His glory.

Jesus taught His disciples, so they could teach us. Now, we are to continue the work that God has called us into perfect unity to do. When we focus on Jesus instead of ourselves and jointly seek a closer walk with Him, we are assured a closer relationship with each other. We are assured the unity He seeks.

We can do this. For Jesus’ sake.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for hearing our prayers, too. Help us to set ourselves aside and follow Your will to protect the precious unity of Your church.