Thursday, May 12, 2011
Persistence and Perseverance
We live in an instant world.
I want to change the channel on my TV I hit the button it happens, I want to book a flight I do it, I want to buy a book I can find it in seconds, I wait for more than 3 minutes for my coffee at Starbucks and I am stressing, if a web page takes more than 1 minute to load I am tapping my fingers and thinking about going elsewhere, I can take a photo and everyone can see it in minutes, we receive live news updates and events streaming from anywhere in the world almost as instantly as stuff happens.
We live in a culture of immediacy.
Freddy Mercury once sang "I want it all, I want it all and I want it now". Has this culture of immediacy permeated the church? I am pretty sure it has. Sometimes in subtle ways other times in blatantly overt ways.
I believe immediacy affects discipleship, it affects our worship, it affects our acts of service and at a very deep level it affects our prayer lives.
The persevering prayer and the persistent prayer are one of the hardest prayers to keep going. Year after year here in Ibiza, even night after night I pray repetitive prayers, sometimes I find it very hard. Yet I understand that I need to keep going. I sometimes struggle when you get people on a two week team here in Ibiza and after the 1st week they will say "I don't know what to pray anymore" I understand where they are coming from but normally just encourage them to pray the same prayer again. There is power in repetition.
We did not have a single connection with a prostitute here for 4 years, but we kept praying. We have been wanting to develop a Spanish speaking community mixed with an international community for 7 years, it only started this year and it's only been happening for 7 weeks, but we kept praying.
If we don't learn to grow in long persistent and persevering prayer we will not grow in certain areas of our lives. We will be conformed to the pattern of this world and live with only the immediate in mind.
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, there is a race marked out for you you need to run it with perseverance. There is a race in prayer that is marked out for you, sometimes that race will be a sprint but often it will be a marathon. We need to persevere in prayer, we need to not give up, to keep knocking.
I believe that being part of a community is one of the greatest helps to persevering persistent prayer, we need people to stand with us and encourage us not to give up, to keep running, to keep knocking.
So please don't give up, keep running, keep knocking.