Posted: 21st February, 2017

Always Pray and Don’t Lose Heart

By February, as winter continues, many people feel the need for refreshment and renewal. This can happen to us spiritually as well. Think for a minute about how easily we can lose heart; how quickly we can move from the heights to the depths, and come to a place where we see only darkness and gloom. How do we keep from slipping into discouragement and losing heart?

In the Bible, Jesus tells us that praying and not losing heart are intimately related. Does this surprise you? Jesus tells us there is a connection between prayer and being steadfast in Christ and not losing heart when difficulties come. In fact, the idea seems to be that if we do not pray we will inevitably lose heart. Our Father in heaven wants us to be strengthened. God wants us to have hearts that are strong and steadfast in Him. And the way for us to live out of new hearts that are strong and steadfast in God is through prayer, because prayer and fellowship with Him strengthens and steadies us.

In life, we encounter troubles, even crushing pressures, of many kinds. In the face of this, Jesus calls us to purposeful, persistent prayer. In Luke 18:7, Jesus says that His chosen ones cry out to Him day and night. You see, prayer is the essential ingredient to keep our hearts alive and well in Christ. Prayer is to our hearts what water is to our bodies, and what oil is to our cars.

Yet, even knowing how important prayer is, we do not pray enough. What is the solution? Jesus tells us that the answer for prayerlessness is… PRAYER! In other words, the antidote for prayerlessness, is the very thing we have trouble with: persistent, purposeful prayer.

We are to persist in prayer, not because we need to wear God down until He finally gives in. We are to persist in prayer because God is just, because God hears us, because God loves us, and because God will ultimately bring about justice for His beloved people, those who cry out to Him “day and night”. God really loves us and cares for His people. He is not indifferent to us nor to our cries to Him.

You may wonder, “But how can I endure? How do I persevere through what seems to be endless and unrelenting trials?” I know that some of you have been praying for years, and some of you for decades, over matters deep upon your heart. The message from Jesus is simple: Don’t stop praying now! To us, it seems as if it’s been forever, but not with God. These are moments. God is forever. He wants us to develop an eternal perspective. He tells us in Psalm 90:4 that to Him “a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Think of it this way: At 20 you cannot imagine being 50, but at 50 you cannot believe how fast it has all passed. Dear friends, your prayers, even your prayers that have left your hearts and lips for years, are but a day in God’s sight; and if God, 50 years later grants you your heart’s desire, it is an answer for eternity, so what’s 50 years anyway? Keep praying. Pray with a purpose. Pray with the Kingdom of God in mind.

We need an eternal perspective. Jesus calls us to pray until the last breath leaves our body, or until He comes to usher in the fullness of the Kingdom. Either way, it’s the same for you. Pray! Pray while you are rejoicing. Pray while your heart bleeds. Pray while your spouse lies dying. In all this, and through all this, ceaselessly PRAY!!!

Friends, Jesus never denies or minimizes the troubles. He wants us to never leave Him no matter how painful the troubles become. He says that we are to turn to Him, we are to cry out to Him day and night. You know something, the tears won’t stop if you leave Jesus, the pain won’t vanish if you turn away from Him; but if you, in your tears cry out to Him, He will meet you there. It may not end the pain. It may not even be the answer you were looking for. So what? The whole mentality of the Kingdom of God is a combination of NOW and NOT YET.  In the face of everyone wanting release, or freedom, or peace, or comfort, NOW, Jesus says: WAIT, you have peace with God NOW, but peace from crushing pressures is often NOT YET. But the answer from Jesus is not just wait. PRAY, and keep praying. When your broken heart wants only to die, stay focused on Jesus and let your broken heart come to Him alone. But don’t just come to Him, be met by Him, be comforted by Him, and be answered by Him.

Our Lord who loves us will answer us. Our Lord who so selflessly cares for us will not leave us forever heartbroken.

Be purposeful. Be persistent. If you want to prevail, don’t give up! And don’t worry if such prayer takes up your whole life! It’s worth your life! Especially if it’s persistent and purposeful prayer for one lost soul. This is the kind of prayer that will see lives changed. This is the kind of prayer that will change YOUR life! It is what Paul spoke about in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 where he said: “Pray without ceasing, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

For today, just one thing remains. All the prayer in the world will provide you nothing if you have not opened your heart to the saving call from Jesus Christ. You must know Jesus. And so, I call you today to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” In prayer commit your life to Him, and in gratitude confess your sins to Him and repent of such sin before the throne of grace. Start, my friends, with saving grace, and from there commit to a faithful, prayer-filled, holy life looking to Him day by day, as He conforms you day by day, and day after day, into the same image as Jesus from glory to ever-increasing glory! (2 Corinthians 3:18)

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