Tuesday, September 7
Today, we are back to our series in Romans. I hope you are enjoying the different flavors that all my sweet cyber-friends have added to the wonderful broth of these scriptures.
Today’s verse is Romans 12:12c…“continuing steadfastly in prayer.” (NKJV) Or as The Message states it, “Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” This one is written by K. M. (Katie) Weiland. If you enjoy Katie’s contribution, hop on over to her site Wordplay.
Continuing—and Failing—in Prayer
Romans 12:12c encourages us to continue steadfastly in prayer, but “steadfast” is something we most decidedly are not. We pray when we feel like it, we pray when we want something, we pray when we’re in trouble.
The rest of the time, we’re lucky if we remember to give the Lord a nod and wink as we rise from our beds to face another morning. What we often fail to realize is that in neglecting prayer, we not only neglect our Lord, we also turn our backs on the blessings He wants to share with us.
I don’t like winter. The Midwestern cold gets in my bones and the gray days weigh down my spirits. So, I wait with longing for the cold months to end and the spring sun to warm my body and soul. Every morning in March and April, I sit in bed, my Bible in my lap, and listen for the golden voice of the first meadowlark, that sure harbinger of a Nebraska spring.
This year, the meadowlark was a harbinger of more than just warm weather; it was a reminder of the blessings of steadfast prayer. One morning, I was sitting in bed, mumbling my way around a prayer. The day before, I had fallen into an old pit of sin, one I’d repented of and sworn off many times before. That morning, I felt full of shame as I faced the realization of my failure.
I couldn’t go on like this. Willfully sinning, repenting, sinning. How could God forgive me—again? Would He blot out my sin, even though I had rebelliously thrown it in His face once again? Or would He now cast me aside? Would He bring the thunder and lightning and the punishment I so rightly deserved? All the little blessings I didn’t deserve—not to mention the larger ones—would the God of justice not take them from me now?
As I pondered my weakness—my complete lack of steadfastness—my prayer grew. Forgive me. Cleanse me. Make me steadfast in prayer that I might be steadfast in life.
I didn’t expect an answer. I was content to know that He had heard me and that He would work His will in my life, even if that will meant the punishments I undoubtedly deserved. But then, I heard it.
Outside my window, for the first time that spring, a meadowlark trilled.
Was not this one of those little blessings I craved but couldn’t deserve because of my lack of steadfastness? Was not this the voice of the God of mercy, assuring me of His love and His grace and forgiveness? I’m unworthy of even one song from a meadowlark. But, in His infinite love, God gives me not only that, but life and life again. And again. And again. And again.
He tells us to be steadfast, but He knows we’ll falter. And every time we stray, every time our faith weakens, and our prayers trickle into flippancy and impatience, He brings us back to a solid foothold in His mercy and His forgiveness.
And every time He does, He gives us the opportunity to grow in Him and to take one more step up the ladder in learning how to address Him in the kind of steadfast prayer He deserves from us.