THE BEAUTY OF PERSISTENT PRAYER
By Carlos S. Morán
Never stop praying,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (New Living Translation). When we think of the word prayer, what thoughts usually come to our minds? Do we think of the weekly meeting at our churches? Perhaps a final and urgent call to God to delay some disaster? On the other hand, do we think of an intimate communication between God and us? All of these ideas, or others, might come to mind when we think of prayer.
There are several popular views about prayer that are wrong. They are as follows: Prayer is not a lottery. It is not a twisting of God's arm to make Him do what we will. Prayer is not an automatic guarantee of success or triumph. It is not a futile, repetitive ritual. Nor is prayer merely a private act with no consequences. Prayer is not getting in touch with the supernatural forces of the universe. Prayer is simply communicating with God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life.
The apostle Paul commands us to pray without ceasing. God’s children have His ear at all times. A Christian may turn to God at any moment of the day, under any circumstances, and be in communication with God.
There are three basic ideas regarding the beauty of praying without ceasing. They are as follows:
I. Persistent prayer teaches us to personally communicate with God and trust in Him
. It is God’s desire to have a personal relationship with His children. He wants an authentic relationship with us that is free of all fears. While God can answer the prayers of anyone, He wants to hear and answer the prayers of those who are in relationship with Him.
II. Persistent prayer teaches us to grow in patience and hope in God
. Our prayers are not efforts to inform God of needs or concerns. He already knows them. Our prayers help us acknowledge our trust in and dependence on Him to handle our prayers. Trough persistent private and public prayer, we grow in patience and in hope in God. We seek His encouragement and strength, and trust Him with the results. God is more interested in our trusting Him completely than He is in whether we fully understand everything at any given point. Let us place our complete trust in Him in all things.
III. Persistent prayer teaches us to love God regardless of the circumstances
. Sometimes the circumstances are changed, but in reality, prayer changes us. In that mysterious conversation of our listening and speaking with God, we are shaped and formed more fully into reflecting the living Christ. Through our relentless praying, we receive strength regardless of the circumstances and by Christ’s grace, we never lose heart. Let us pray:
“O Lord, we live in tension and hardships. We feel you calling us away into the quiet, sacred, holy and sometimes lonely places, and we feel the load and the devastation of the urgent. We see needs are all around, pressing us for answers, pushing us for help and pulling us for time. Yet we cannot fully engage the needs without the perspective that only you can bring from the beauty of our times of praying at all times in the quiet. Grant us grace, Lord, to know when to retreat and when to engage. Give us ears to hear you in the quiet and eyes to see you through the cloud of urgency. Amen.”