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, 2 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 1:2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 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.