Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Persevering in Prayer

Today’s reading in My Utmost for His Highest was titled The Patience To Wait for the Vision. The scripture it was based on was this: “Though it tarries, wait for it…” (Habakkuk 2:3)

He writes: Patience is not the same as indifference; patience conveys the idea of someone who is tremendously strong and able to withstand all assaults. … A person who has the vision of God is not devoted to a cause or to any particular issue, he is devoted to God Himself. … He may give you a time spiritually, with no word from Himself at all, just as His Son experienced during His time of temptation in the wilderness. When God does that, simply endure, and the power to endure will be there because you see God.

These days I have found myself often wanting “the vision” (i.e., my hopes for certain situations) to be reality or wanting to feel indifferent or wanting resolution…clear, definitive, final resolution or answers or happenings. That is not how the Lord has chosen to respond. Rather than say “Here is that for which you asked” He says “Ask Me. Trust Me.” And continually draws me eyes off of myself and the “particular issue” and on to Him…His goodness, His sovereignty, His purposes, and His ability to order and orchestrate and bring to pass His perfect plans for any and every “issue” I can come up with. I want circumstances to change. I want a word that the end will be what I desire. And sometimes, I just want to give up and move on to the next thing, because persevering in prayer when all I can see is a brick wall in front of my face is hard work. But it is the work I am called to.

"Though it tarries, wait for it . . . ." But this waiting is not passive or indifferent or inactive. While my physical activity/involvement in bringing about the desired end is limited, restrained or hindered, my activity in prayer should be full-throttle. It should be prayer that is full of faith in God’s goodness and sovereignty and ability to do the impossible…whether it looks the way I believe it should or not.

It should also reach “out for more than we have already grasped.” If we pray only for what we can see as possibility we are not praying rightly. We are settling for what might satisfy us or what we might be able to manage ourselves…not for God’s will and purposes, which are often beyond our ability to think or imagine. We are also seeking a quick end to our struggle, thinking if we ask, and achieve the quick and easy end (even if that end is resignation and defeat), it would be better than enduring in the unknown and praying with no visible results. As Chambers says, We are apt to look for satisfaction within ourselves and say, ‘Now I’ve got it! Now I am completely sanctified. Now I can endure.’ Instantly we are on the road to ruin. Our reach must exceed our grasp. (Philippians 3:12). If we have only what we have experienced, we have nothing.)

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