#380 - PLAN TO PERSIST (25/6/21)
Elizabeth King said, ‘process saves us from the poverty of our intentions’. It’s relatively easy to come up with ideas. The challenge is in the execution. Inspiration needs to be followed with dedication. A simple plan is better than no plan. A simple plan is better than waiting for a better one. Let’s make a plan to pray persistently. Jesus said,
“‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. ‘Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)
If we are to become persistent in prayer, we need to develop some new skills and habits. Motivation needs to be joined with application. The why and the what must be joined together.
i) Ask for help
I’ve been a church leader for around seventeen years and in all that time I don’t think that anyone has ever asked me to teach them to pray. Maybe that says something about me! However, be rare and ask for help.
‘When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.’ (Paul E. Miller. A Praying Life)
ii) Pray about prayer
As important, is asking Jesus to teach you to pray. We read,
‘One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”’ (Luke 11:1)
His response was to teach them ‘The Lord’s Prayer’; learning to use the structure of this prayer is vital for anyone who is seeking to learn to pray.
iii) Make time
Intimacy with a spouse, a friend or a romance needs planned time. You must make a plan as to when you will pray. Put it as an appointment in your diary if that helps. Paul Miller wrote,
‘You don’t create intimacy; you make room for it. This is true whether you are talking about your spouse, your friend, or God. You need space to be together. Efficiency, multitasking, and busyness all kill intimacy. In short, you can’t get to know God on the fly.’
Our response is to do the above: to ask for help, pray for help and make time. The aim is to become a persistent pray-er. The aim is that in ten years you will be able to say that I’ve spent quality time with Jesus every day. The aim is to inherit the great promises for those who will ask, seek and knock. If you will let the seed of Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 7:7-12 take root and grow in you, you will ‘ask’ and be ‘given great things; You will ‘seek’ and ‘find’ great things; you will ‘knock’ and great ‘doors’ will be open to you.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - THIS WEEK IS A WEEK OF PRAYER.
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