Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Back in service 4) Persistent Prayer

Nehemiah further shows us that SERIOUS PRAYER leads to MORE SERIOUS PRAYER, PERSISTENT PRAYER.

It’s clear from the dates that Nehemiah keeps on praying for four months. He really believes that God can lead and guide and change things through prayer.  Putting himself right in the heart of the prayer.  Give your servant success today by granting him favour in the presence of this man he keeps on asking God for his right time for action.  This is no shot-gun prayer.  It's long-term.

When Jesus told about the man asleep (Luke 11:5-13) whose friend wakes him up for loaves of bread we have an extraordinary teaching about persistent prayer.  At first, the man asleep with the family tells his friend to go away.  Yet his friend keeps on knocking.  For how long?  Eventually, Jesus says the man gets up from his bed not out of friendship but because of his nagging persistence (some translations put it 'boldness').  Someone wrote to me after I retold this story and said that it sound as though God doesn't want to answer our prayers!  Well the truth is that praying to God requires maturity, dependence, expectancy in faithfully waiting on God's timing for his answers. Keep on asking, seeking, knocking.  Nehemiah does for 4 months.  Spiritual growth develops dependence and expectancy.  

I shared one of my precious possessions - a prayer record book from my Cambridge church where we sought to take Luke 11: 5-13 seriously.  I explained how much at the beginning of my ministry we longed for God to act.  I read the first requests in April 8,1980. 

1.      A new church organist (back in the day when the organ provided the only music!)

2.      Gillian, Marion and Rachel as they prepare for baptism. Remember especially Sunday 27th. April – baptismal service that many others may commit themselves to Jesus Christ.

3.      The Church conference on Saturday 26th April that the whole church may see more clearly what God wants us to do next

4.      The Jesus Christ is Lord festival, for David Watson and his team, for practical preparations and spiritual outcome.

5.      Martin Staple teaching English at Upoto Secondary School, Zaire with Baptist Missionary Society.

Not particularly daring or big prayers.  Yet, how God answered.  No. 1 took some time until we were blessed by a gifted student in his gap year before beginning university in our city.  No. 2 was breathtaking.  When I gave an appeal a married couple in the thirties asked for baptism, and at their service there was more response....and so on.   This prayer book records successive years of serious persistent prayer   I truly believe in it as one of God's powerful ways of working. 


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