Hello beloved friends. Oh how I have missed gathering with you…it has been awhile, but life has just been happening even when I ain’t so happening. My goal when I first started blogging was to put out one blog post a week, but since I am not blogging to live or living to blog, these just have to happen in the midst of life when life lets them. However, I do love getting over here in my virtual “front porch” world and hanging out with you guys as often as I can. Happy Fall Ya’ll! So, how much pumpkin anything have you consumed and how many new Christmas decorations have you already bought at Hobby Lobby 😉
Welcome all to the Aprons to Iron virtual “front porch” where you are always welcomed, always loved and as always I have a chair waiting for you!
So have you guys jumped on the “Insta-Pot” bandwagon or it is already so yesterday? I’m telling you, I like all things “insta” quick except for a foot massage from my man (I like that in the more slow cooker kind of time). From putting on my make-up, to shaving my legs, to cooking and cleaning my house, I want that “insta” mode please! We live in a world that says quicker and easier are better, anything to save time and hassle!
Recently, I read Ephesians 6:18 and became convicted that I also wanted an “Insta-Pot” like ease with my prayer life. I wanted “Insta-prayers”. I quickly put in all the right “ingredients” (requests), give God a quick “timer setting” and poof! I get the answers I want. Sounds pretty silly right? Yet, that is my expectation at times… I want prayer to be easy and the answers quick, but that is not at all the picture of truth we get from God’s Word about prayer.
Pray at ALL times in the Spirit with EVERY prayer and request and STAY alert in this with ALL PERSEVERANCE and intercession for ALL the saints. (Ephesians 6:18, Emphasis mine)
I have been praying over some things so long and in so many different directions, it feels like I no longer have words to pray. It feels as if I am at a loss for the “right” words, the right direction and have lost hope for an answer. I assume that because the answer I want in my time has not come, my prayers aren’t working, God must not be working…my hope has been centered in a quick answer and expected outcome, not my expectancy in God alone. I confess I get wimpy and weary in my prayer life and want to give up.
Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6
There is nothing in Ephesians 6:18 that teach prayer is easy or answers come instantly. Pray at ALL times…STAY alert…with ALL PERSEVERANCE…That does not sound easy, it sounds hard and constant, like work. And yes, sometimes persevering in prayer is work but it is also the key to communion with an Almighty God who is working at all times on our behalf (see Romans 8:26-28).
After thinking on this for a bit I have come to a couple of conclusions why I believe persevering in prayer can be hard. First, we have a powerful enemy that is constantly at work against us. Satan will put forth every distraction and obstacle possible to deceive and convince us not to pray or that God has not heard our prayers (see Daniel 10:10-13 & 1 Peter 5:6-11). Second, is the constant war between our flesh and the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16-17). Our flesh will be driven to do anything and everything other than pray! We will worry, overthink, roll around in guilt over, condemn ourselves, blame others, stew over, work out scenarios in our minds, eat, drink, self-medicate, clean out a closet (instead of getting in our prayer closet), nap, get on our social apps, watch T.V. , call a friend, anything but still ourselves humbly before the Lord in prayer (see Psalm 46:10). Satan and our flesh together are powerful foes that will always seek to hinder and derail our prayer efforts. Stop forfeiting the gift you have in prayer to Satan and your flesh! Persevere by pressing in, on and through with prayer wanting the presence and fullness of God more than anything!
So don’t throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Hebrews 10:35-36
Persevering prayer keeps us connected to the Spirit and His power at work within us; the Spirit gives us the strength to pray with perseverance and to pray with clarity. Persevering prayer gives us the right perspective. Persevering prayer teaches us humility, diligence, discipline and determination. Persevering prayer keeps us alert to the work and heart of God and alert to the work of the enemy. Persevering prayer opens our heart to the transforming work of God within us. This is exactly why sometimes a situation, though we pray, does not change. It is the very thing God is using to refine, prune and conform us to the likeness of Christ, to teach us how to trust Him completely and how to persevere in prayer on behalf of others. We are called to stand in the gap and persevere in prayer for other believers when they are experiencing weakness and tribulation (see Galatians 4:19). We often are quick to pray asking God to remove the uncomfortable things from our lives rather than ask, if it is those things He has chosen to refines us, to let them remain until that work is accomplished in, through and for us (see Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4 and 1 Peter 1:6-7). We don’t have to understand everything to persevere in prayer. We don’t have to have the “right” words. Sometimes persevering prayer is just getting into His presence with tears and wordless gasps and moans because your heart is hurting, but God knows and hears those kind of prayers too sweet sister friend. We can persevere in prayer on the basis of God’s faithfulness, love and great compassion for us, a compassion He acts out of on our behalf in His perfect ways and timing (Lamentations 3:21-24, Psalm 25:4-6, Psalm 34:4-8,17-18).
For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3
We always have an attentive audience with our Heavenly Father. He is inclined to incline toward us (Psalm 40:1). He always longs for us to draw near to Him in prayer and He promises to meet us there, to hear our prayers, even the ones we just don’t seem to have the strength or hope to utter(see 1 Samuel 1:9-20, Hebrews 4:14-16, Romans 8:26-27). While God does not mean for us to go through prayer “hoops”, learning to persevere in prayer through His promises strengthens our faith in His faithfulness, draws us nearer to Him and the sweetness and comfort of His presence. Persevering prayer helps us to continuously seek and surrender to God’s sovereign rule in our lives and therefore no matter what circumstances we are facing we are kept and guarded by His perfect peace(see Philippians 4:7 and Colossians 3:15). We learn to persist in prayer by praying. It isn’t our words necessarily, as much as it is the One to whom we pray and the positioning of our hearts with which we approach Him. He is able and willing to both change our circumstances and/or change us that we are able to walk through those trying situations, becoming more like or Lord and Savior and making an impact on others around us for His glory. When we are weak, undone and ready to throw in the towel, when we go to Him in prayer and ask and believe Him for what He promises, we will receive fresh strength and hope to carry on, to persevere and to overcome in the power of His name (see Romans 8:31-39).
In ending our chat on the porch today, I want to introduce you another sweet, precious, sister friend of mine and leave you with her story of persevering prayer and praise. We share a love of coffee, big cups and a sense of humor; she has the sweetest smile and spirit. I am honored she is allowing me to share a “piece” of her with you. I am not including her name, but it is her “apron of strength” you see in the picture below and now her story:
“To be a woman of faith [strength] I can know God is with me when the pain is more than I can bear. He has amazing ways to always show me that He is with me. I will share the time that I did not understand until much later because so much of me was in shock. I could function but not completely deal with each day. This was after the sudden death of my husband. The reason that I was able to function at all was because as soon as I began to wake up each morning my mind filled with the song, ‘He is Lord, He is Lord, He has risen from the dead and He is Lord. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.’ When that moment was over I could get up and go through my limited day’s routine. Much later I realized and could share the wonder of His daily reminder each morning. I do not know how long this lasted, but there are still moments those words still fill my mind, and the peace and joy are there to reassure me that my Lord is with me, no matter how bumpy life’s journey becomes. Oh how He loves me and I just praise His holy name.”
Ya’ll excuse and forgive me, I do not know who to credit the words or tune of this song but what a wonderful way to leave our time together until we meet again…let’s exalt together our amazing Savior and offer Him a sweet fragrance (better than pumpkin spice 😉 ) of thanksgiving with our praise today: “He is Lord, He is Lord, He has risen form the dead and He is Lord, Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
Until next time, remember you are always welcomed and always loved by an amazing God,
Copyright 2018 Rhonda Loftis All Rights Reserved