"Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer."
Romans 12:12 (NRSV)
Prodigal Thoughts: Sometimes I like to really dig into the wordology of verses like this one. Just by reading a short verse, I have the temptation to just gloss over it, thinking that I fully understand the depth of its meaning. So, here goes. "[Feel/show great joy or delight] in [your feelings of desire and expectation], [be able to accept or be tolerant] in [times of pain, distress, or hardship], [continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success] in [your solemn requests for help or expression of thanks addressed to God]." WOW!!! Had I not taken the time to really slow down so I can better understand rather than glossing over the verse, I would have missed the power of God’s word. I think the portion of this verse that stands out to me the most is persevering in prayer. Initially, I was thinking about 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 where the church folks at Thessalonica were told to pray without ceasing. But this is different. This is praying, even when there seems to be little or no chance of things changing. In my last post, I mentioned that I had a cousin that had passed away due to COVID. In the last six weeks or so, I think I have had around 8 people that I have personally known that have passed away, either due to COVID or cancer, or something else. Did I pray for those folks? By all means, yes! Did I think that God would answer? I knew He would answer the prayers in a manner that would glorify Himself and draw others to Him. Does that mean my prayers failed or that God just hit the mute button on my prayer channel? Nope! He was listening and He responded. He just answered the prayers in a different way that I personally had hoped. So as a result, my prayers have changed. They are now focused on the families of those who have lost loved ones. Just because God answers our prayers with a different outcome than what we pray, doesn’t mean we should stop praying. Perhaps, we should pray that God would stir the Holy Spirit within us so we know how to pray. I know that may not be very comforting to some. I can totally understand that. I don’t fault you or judge you in any way. I just simply pray for you and I trust our heavenly Father enough to know that He will answer our prayers in a just and hope-filled manner.
Prayer for today: Father, I thank You so much for giving us a way to directly be connected to You. Thank You for sacrificing Your son, so we could have a relationship with You, the Creator of all things. I thank You that Your ears are not deaf and that You hear our prayers. I simply pray that when we pray, I hope that You will prepare our hearts and minds for what You have in store. And when we don’t understand why our prayers are answered in a certain way, I pray that You would help us to see Your heart and that You would guide us through that time. I love you, Papa. Amen.
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God’s grace on you…