"Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder."
- Romans 12:12 MSG
I know what it's like to want to give up. To "throw in the towel." To lose heart and quit. I felt this way just the other day, when I was praying for the umpteenth time about my family's finances. The Lord, sensing my despair and discouragement, spoke to my heart. He reminded me of His Word in Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV), which says: "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." The words, "come boldly," penetrated my heart like never before, even though this Scripture was one that I had heard countless times before. I realized then that there had been times when I approached God with my financial concerns with some uncertainty. I often thought to myself, "Should I even be praying this much about our finances? Is this doing any good? I certainly don't see much evidence that it is." As I considered these things, I had to admit that I hadn't always "come boldly" to the Lord to ask for His wisdom and help with our finances. Instead, I had let doubt and reasoning make my prayers anemic and powerless. Scripture says: "Because of our faith in [Christ], we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear)." (Ephesians 3:12 AMP) Those of us who have put our trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord have the privilege of calling upon Almighty God for help when we are in need. While we should never adopt a flippant or irreverent attitude, we should always act upon the belief that we are God's chosen. And we need never approach Him with reservations, uncertainty, or fear.
Besides impressing me with the idea of "coming boldly" before Him, the Lord showed me that I was to "keep coming." He reminded me of the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Chapter 18 of Luke. Here, we discover that: "[Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not to turn coward (faint, lose heart, and give up)." (Luke 18:1 AMP) It's not easy persevering in prayer when it looks like we're not getting any tangible results. But persisting in prayer is exactly what Jesus is saying He wants us to do. He goes on to tell the story about a helpless widow who approaches an unrighteous judge for help. "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'" (Luke 18:2-3 NIV) It was the words, "kept coming," that the Lord wanted me to focus on. Because of my doubt and discouragement, I was tempted to pray less and less about my financial concerns. God wanted me to know that if I expected to eventually gain the victory in my circumstances, I was going to have to "keep coming" before Him with my petitions. If I continued to faint and give up, I was going to forfeit some amazing rewards and blessings. As Jesus continues His prayer lesson in this passage, He says that if an unjust judge would answer the cries of someone in need, how much more would a faithful and loving God answer "His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?" (Luke 18:7 NIV) The Lord ends this passage with a convicting question directed at His disciples: "However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8 AMP)
Perhaps you are at risk of fainting and giving up in some area today, and the Lord is speaking to your heart through this message. If you listen carefully, you just might hear Him say, "Come boldly...and keep coming."
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I've had a need, and I approached You with timidity or trepidation. Remind me often that because of my faith in Christ, I never have to hesitate to come before You. Thank You that as I approach You with confidence and persistence, I will receive Your highest and best in every situation I face!
- J. M. Farro