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19 May - Persistent Faith

Today I received a call from my Mum, who wanted to share some good news regarding a childhood friend and colleague who had just been released from a hostage situation after over seven years in captivity.

For over seven years, friends, family and perfect strangers have believed this man would be released and returned to his family. His release today is an answer to prayer and a testimony of the resilience and tenacity of the one captured and all those people behind the scenes who have been petitioning both in the natural and supernatural for his release for many years.

My Mum's emotional phone call to tell me the news today reminded me of the importance of perseverance and how vital it is to obtain what we pray, believe and are working for. It is persistence, tenacity and the effort required to do something and keep believing even when it's hard or the odds are against you.

The Bible talks about perseverance and that it produces steadfastness. When this "steadfastness has its full effect, it says it's so "that we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4;12)

Scripture contains many accounts of those who persevered, such as Joseph, who wrongfully spent fourteen years in a jail cell as a slave before being released and promoted to the second most powerful man in the land. (Genesis 37)

Or Hannah, Sarah and Elizabeth, who were all childless, and yet persistently prayed, and as a result, all had babies; Samuel, Isaac and John. (1 Sam 9:1-28; Genesis 21; Luke 1:5-25)

Elijah repeatedly prayed in a time of drought and, after over eight times of going to look to see if any rain clouds were forming, it finally started to rain. (1 Kings 18)

Paul's accounts of perseverance are documented in the New Testament. After his life of killing Christians, he became one himself and subsequently faced many trials and persecutions.

No one details this better than Paul himself. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, he lists some of the trials he faced, such as being imprisoned repeatedly, flogged, exposed to death again and again, receiving 39 lashes five times, being beaten with rods three times, being pelted with stones, and being shipwrecked three times. Yet, in all these things, he prevailed and fulfilled his calling and destiny.

Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow to teach his disciples that they should always pray and never give up (Luke 18:1)

It is a perfect example of perseverance in the Bible we can follow.

It details how a widow goes before a Judge who doesn't fear God or man. She pleads with the Judge to right a wrong done to her by her adversary. She continually pleaded with him to do so.

After a while, he listens, and even though he didn't fear God or man, he avenges her wrongdoing. She essentially wore him down.

The parable goes on to highlight how God will avenge his children. When we continually cry out to God, he hears us.

Learning to persevere in life and our faith is an important part of living the life God has planned for us. He doesn't give up, He remains faithful, and He always says, "Keep going, keep running your race, keep believing, keep praying and keep moving forward with me."

God wants us to learn to pray with authority by lining ourselves up with what He has already spoken in His Word so that His ability is released in every situation and circumstance.

I've learnt the hard way that there is no point reinforcing the problem by repeatedly talking about it; instead, there is real power and breakthrough when we go to God's Word and find out what He says about our situation so that we can then pray to put a demand upon what He has promised.

"A prayer accurately formed and stated from the Word of God will absolutely move heaven and earth, and the things under the earth on our behalf." (C. Capps)

Today I encourage you to remain steadfast in prayer, believing and running your race. God has your breakthrough and holds your dreams and destiny in his hands. He promises to strengthen and hold you steady so you can persevere until you reap a harvest. Hang in there, keep the vision before you and keep praying. It works 😊

"So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

"The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective" (James 5:16)

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17)

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matthew 21:22)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6)

Prayer: Lord, please strengthen and encourage me today to persevere so that I will reap the reward of not quitting. Thank you that I can do all things because you give me strength. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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