Make My Lifesong a Persevering Prayer

We are instructed to pray constantly (Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:17), or as another version words it, without ceasing.

Not only are we instructed to do so, we are shown in two different passages of Scripture what that looks like:  The first is the passage that immediately follows the Lord’s instruction at the request of His disciples to be taught how to pray (Luke 11:5-13 ), and  the other is the parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8).

It should have come as no surprise to me (especially after this month) that this (Ephesians 6) is the passage that speaks of arming ourselves for war.  This passage shows an active fight…one of defending ourselves with the whole armor of God, and using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God in our offensive attack against evil.  I love that this passage outlines what that armor is, and how it’s used, and am reminded in reading through that there is nothing to protect my backside, which means that there is no retreat in this battle, without risk of injury.

Truly, this is another passage that needs a whole weekend of its own, I urge you to study this out yourself.  It’s rich, and full, and so essential in understanding our need for perseverance in prayer, and in God’s divine provision for everything we need to accomplish it.

For the sake of this post, I will focus on this verse:

Ephesians 6:18 Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

What an incredible epiphany to find in this passage that we are instructed as the body of Christ to persevere in prayer for all the saints.  That’s us…the body of Christ, continuing in prayer for one another…for all the other parts of the body.  This thought dovetails in my mind so beautifully with my post on the communion of the saints, which, incidentally included another verse that talks about persevering…check it out!

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

This passage paints a picture of a race…his followers running with perseverance (or endurance), without excess heavy baggage that bogs us down, and/or sin that easily attaches itself to our flesh.  This verse dovetails with a thought in another of my previous posts about being Son Followers.  Look where our focus is…we are looking to Jesus and following His example of enduring His cross, for what?  For JOY!

Sounds an awful lot like this verse, doesn’t it?

James 1:Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Steadfastness in this verse is translated “perseverance” in other translations.

As I am putting this retreat together, I have my Pandora “Full and Overflowing” station on.  (This station has been renamed “Make My Life a Prayer“, for the sake of this retreat…another Ebenezer of sorts).   It has some incredible worship tunes, and I find myself getting lost in some of the lyrics.  Right now, Lifesong by Casting Crowns is on, and I find it an appropriate prayer to wrap things up.  It states very well my heart’s desire to serve and please the Lord.  “I want to sign Your name to the end of this day, knowing that my heart was true!”  Let my lifesong sing to you.

Prayer Journal – Kingdom, Power, and Glory

kingdom_power_gloryEven though this phrase isn’t found in early manuscripts of the New Testament, there is evidence that it was used in the Mass as early as the time of the apostles.  But, what do we mean when say these words?  “Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory, forever and ever, amen.

I think it means what it simply says.  The Kingdom of God, belongs to God.  As children of His inheritance, He shares it with us, and we get to participate in it as a member of the body of Christ.  (For a fun study on your own, go to Bible Gateway and do a word search on “Kingdom of heaven” and “Kingdom of God”…just read through the Scriptures that match the search.  I’m getting so many cool ideas for future blog posts and/or Bible studies. )

The power also belongs to Him.  What power?

All of it.

This is one of the attributes of God, He is “all powerful”, not limited like we are, but able to do above and beyond what we could ever ask or even imagine.  He showed his power from the creation of the world, to the divine protection and deliverance of His people in Egypt, He brings down strongholds, stops the sun, and opens barren wombs.  He shows that power in the lives of His followers, and He demonstrated power over death and sin itself in the resurrection.  You get the picture.  All the power belongs to Him to do with as He pleases.

And the Glory belongs to Him.

Remember all the glorifying that was going on in John 17?  The Bible says that we bring glory to God, He glorifies His Son, and even the heavens declare His glory.  He is the Lord of hosts, the King of glory!  Isaiah says that He doesn’t share His glory with another.  It belongs to Him.  We are told to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.  Our lives can bring glory to Him by the way we live them.  If we are walking in obedience to His precepts, and seeking His will in our life, we bring Him glory.  We proclaim that glory when the world sees our love for one another.  When we resist the devil and His ways, and embrace life in the Spirit, we can join with all nature in proclaiming His glory.

Scott Hahn sums it up well, when he says “The Kingdom comes where the King is present. Where the Eucharist is, there is the King. The “kingdom, the power, and the glory” are already here on earth, because the Church, the Eucharistic Kingdom, is already in heaven.

Forever and ever. Amen!”

You can find the rest of the Lord’s prayer at the following links:

Our Father

Let Thy Kingdom Come


Kingdom, Power, and Glory

His Prayer for us: Persevering

I’m currently in the middle of a life application of the Bible’s teaching on persevering in prayer.

I tell you this, because I want you to know I’m learning as I go…I have NOT arrived, by any means, I am simply processing here what the Lord is laying on my heart as I read His word.  For sure, my attempt to walk out the instructions He’s given looks more like a crippled limp at best, and a slow crawl at worst.

You should know, I fall often in this area of watching and praying.

I give up easily.

I forget.

I even purposely ignore it sometimes.

As embarrassing as that is to admit, I feel you should be aware, for the sake of your own conscience.  The warning here is, don’t do as I do.  And if you have mastered this, I’m open to learning from you, how do you do it?  How do you “watch and pray” without falling asleep, or finding your mind has wandered off mid session?  How do you stay focused and intent in your conversations with the Father?  And, if you are like me, what do you do when war breaks out between your spirit and your flesh?  Or when the enemy comes in like a flood, and overwhelms your inner sanctuary with cares of the day, news about a sick family member or death of a friend, financial stress, ugly family dynamics, or regret, condemnation and shame?  When you’ve done all you can to push through those distractions and assaults, there’s still no answer, and it feels like your prayers are hitting the ceiling, and the tire’s flat, or the internet goes out for no reason…how do you put all that aside and continue to persevere in prayer.

My study of John 17, took me back to chapters 13-16 to set the context of Jesus’ prayer for us, as well as to the other gospel accounts of Jesus praying.  In fact, both accounts are recorded just prior to Jesus’ betrayal and arrest.  Remember when He was at Gethsemane, and brought along His disciples?  He told them of his soul’s sorrow and asked them to watch and pray with him.  Three times he returned to find them sleeping, and three times He asked the Father to let this cup pass, ultimately putting God’s will above His own.  Matthew’s and Mark’s account of this prayer, falls between some of the same events that the book of John has surrounding the prayer of Jesus for His disciples.


Mark 14:41 And he came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”


Matthew 26:45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Compare these two passages with Jesus’ words in John 17, where He engages in a prayer meeting for His disciples:

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee,

Again, I’m no scholar, but I love to think that at the same point that Jesus was praying for Himself, and for God’s will, He was also praying for the disciples, who were sleeping through their watch.

I like to believe He still does.

For me.

Jesus perseveres in prayer, interceding for me to the Father, even when I am weak, or tired, or sleepy, or even apathetic…it doesn’t change His focus of prayer for me.  His prayer for me is the same as it was for His first followers, that I would bring glory to Him, that I would have His joy complete in me, that I would be one with His body, and that I would be protected from evil.

I’ve never considered this before today, but what if the sweating drops of blood at Gethsemane was not for the grief that He knew He was about to bear, but for the heaviness of His heart for His own followers.  What if the agony in the garden was not about His pain, but the weight of my sin on Him at the time.  What if He knew that “this cup” was necessary to bring answer to His prayer for my sanctification, my joy, and my own oneness with Him.  “This cup” was the way for me to remain in Him, and He in me, as He is one with the Father in heaven.

What if, in the garden, it really was all about me?