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The Easiest Thing About Prayer: Eight Reasons to Continue Steadfastly in Prayer Part 2
By Dr Sam Storms
The easiest thing about praying is quitting. Giving up seems so reasonable, so easy to justify. It’s always been that way, which is why Paul wrote in Colossians 4:12, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Persevering in prayer when no one seems to listen strikes many people as a sign of fanaticism, if not mental instability.
People in Paul’s day faced the same temptation to quit that we do. But too much was at stake. Though defeated at the cross, Satan and his demons are still active. The weakness of the flesh abides. The threat of schism in the body of Christ is ever present. Great opportunities to share the gospel are at every turn. So, don’t quit, says Paul. Continue steadfastly in prayer. Keep watch at all times lest you despair. Be thankful for all God has done and will do in response to your petitions.
Eight Reasons Continued
Fifth, endurance at the throne of grace purifies the content of our petitions. By repeating our prayers we are forced to think and rethink what we are saying. We are compelled to evaluate our motivation and aim for asking God for something in particular. It’s a bit like how I read, reread, and read yet again each of these meditations. It helps me identify mistakes, locate typographical errors, and rephrase something that otherwise might be false or misleading. I can almost envision God saying in response to my first articulation of a prayer, “Sam, are you sure you want me to answer that one? Think about it. Contemplate the long-term consequences of a yes. Then come back and ask me again in different terms, with a purified purpose.”
Sixth, perseverance cultivates patience. By withholding an immediate response, we learn how to wait on God. Waiting on the Lord is far from a passive posture. It’s an active, expectant, persistent pressing in to the heart and purposes of a loving God. How might we ever learn to do this were it not for steadfastness in prayer?
Seventh, oftentimes God wants to give, but not now. The answer will come in better circumstances, at a more opportune moment. By delaying his response, a greater and better and more God-glorifying end is secured than by an immediate answer.
Finally, even if none of the reasons given above makes sense to you, persevere anyway! God isn’t asking you to understand; he’s asking you to be faithful.
This is taken from The Hope of Glory: 100 Daily Meditations on Colossians, by Sam Storms, pp. 309-324, © 2008. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187.