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Graceful Perseverance: A Long-Lost Art

Posted December 10th, 2017 @ 11:12am

Welcome to this week's blog. In this 21st century generation, there are many long-lost arts that date as far back as the beginning of time - like the book of Genesis. The lost art that makes a significant difference in our lives is the power of prayer and practicing consistent prayer in our lives.

Many Christians believe that only Christians pray for God's answer to their troubles, and because they pray, they don’t have to do anything to help themselves. Prayer, not only for Christians, but for all of mankind, regardless of race, color, nationality and heritage, can change any one person's circumstances from troubles to triumphs, from persecution to peace, from helplessness to hope. Prayer can take us from being lost to finding a new direction. Prayer can take us from living in fear every day to finding joy in the middle of the storm.

What we struggle with most is that prayer doesn’t usually offer instant gratification or immediate answers. God’s timing is never our timing, and we fail notoriously in not having the patience to wait for God’s answer, God’s direction. Impatience discourages us and we take matters into our own hands. Our own decisions end up in chaos and our mistakes must be corrected in the end.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7.

Another valid point is that we are living in the midst of spiritual warfare with Satan over our souls. As soon as we start praying, Satan’s reign stops right then and there. He will not be victorious over those who pray. His power ends when our praying begins. The most important lesson of this blog is that Satan will use every tactic, every temptation, every lure, strategy, distraction and trickery to convince you that prayer doesn’t work, and it’s only a waste of your time.

How do we combat Satan's waging war on our souls? Ephesians 6:12 gives us clear direction on when and why to pray. But more often than not, we rely on what seems practical or logical in our world, not what's unseen or misunderstood; the underutilized tool available to us, which is prayer. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 

Throughout scripture there are many stories where prayer did not follow circumstances, but in those situations God turned things around due to consistent prayer before the circumstances. For example, when Paul and Silas were in prison (Acts 16:25-26). About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundation of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone's chains came loose. 

Daniel, Chapter 10: 1-21 shows us a very powerful example of prayer and the importance of praying. Daniel faithfully continued praying and fasting, and God's messenger eventually arrived, assisted by the arch-angel Michael.

I am learning every day that prayer should always occur before my actions. I rely first on His direction as my counselor, then His answer to my prayers before I make a conscious decision in my life.

Waiting is the piece that's the most difficult part of praying. I love my quiet, resting time, my God time first thing in the mornings. But patience and hope are two qualities I'm still working on as I pray the same prayer for days, weeks, months and even years. But I can testify firsthand that consistent prayer is truly waiting for the Lord. I am trusting His answers will come to me at the right time. God is never late, God is never early, but God is always on time.

I can account for many answered prayers over the years that took a far longer time for God to answer than I had patience. For example, I had one consistent prayer that took God fourteen years, yes, fourteen years before He answered my prayer. I prayed the same prayer for fourteen years - "God please bring me a Godly man who will love me as you love me!" Fourteen years later God answered my prayer. I am married to this man today. You must believe God will answer your prayers. After fourteen years, many would have walked away, given up and thought He's not even listening to me. Truly a lack of faith! God hasn't forgotten you or me or any of our prayers.

Today there is no need for me to ask, "Lord, why does it take so long for you to answer my prayers?" I have come to realize after many years of prayers, that all have been answered with a "yes" or a "no" because He knows what's best for my life. The Lord knows His plan for my life. He will never steer me wrong. I know now that His "no's" also mean "yes." When we pray for something we want or desire and we practically beg God to answer our prayer and He answers with a "no" we feel extremely disappointed, hurt and let down. But looking back at the situation, the prayer I begged the Lord to answer was not the best plan for my life. This instance is when God's "no" is really a "yes" in our lives because He has something better planned for our lives that He has not yet revealed to us.

So how can we then make God more active and more present in our lives? Prayer alone can stand on its own. In James 5:16b - The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

If we continue to look even deeper into scripture, it will reveal to us that the power of prayer is an effective tool in our lives and we should trust it. God has already given us the answers to our prayers. His promises are revealed throughout His word. I've learned to stop relying on my own strength and understanding to accomplish things in my life that are meant more for God, and then trusting that God truly can do all things. But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” - Matthew 19:26 ESV

 

Blessings until next week,

Debra Pauli

Unstoppable Believer

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