When I go to the gym to (sort of) work out, I have a choice.
My first choice is to swipe my little key to record my entrance so I can accumulate the credits to get my health insurance discount, then walk right on through, out the other door, and back to my car.
I can know it’s necessary for me to work out. I can understand the importance of working out so I get back into shape. My head knowledge has all the right answers.
But I am still tempted to simply skip the workout. Not every time. But early on, it’s a huge temptation.
Another choice I have is to work out to a certain point. I know where my body will start to hurt. I know where I’ll start to sweat. I know where I will feel it the next day. And I stop short of that goal to push through. Very easy choice early on.
Then there is the choice to keep moving. Keep working. Keep sweating. Even in pain. Even in discomfort. I don’t want to be there. I think of all the excuses I will have in a month. I go through my busy schedule in my mind, getting ready to justify my laziness all over again. But I move through all those mind battles and I keep on working. The pain will be there. I will be sore in the morning. But back to that stupid gym I have to go.
When I go to prayer, I have a choice. Lots of choices.
Kind of look at my list of intercessory prayer and count it as “praying.”
Sleepwalk my way through Scripture reading.
Find excuses to hurry through because of my busy schedule.
In both areas, the physical and the spiritual, I can get fat and lazy.
In both areas, there are places of pushing through.
It’s harder every time you have to “start over,” or at least feel that way.
But I get up, I get my Bible, my journal, my prayer list… and I stay at it.
At first it’s grueling. I set a time constraint. Even if I just sit there… I make myself hold to that time. I have to stay at it.
I look at the Scripture. Then, I look again. And then again. I can’t hurry through.
I look at my list. I think that is “prayer.” Then, I pause. I ask, “Lord, what about this item? What do I pray today?”
Grueling. Gutting it out.
Those who work out regularly point to rewards. (God bless them all.)
It is reportedly true. The physical rewards come.
What is harder for us to measure are the spiritual rewards. But that is the point of prevailing prayer. It is to stick with it.
Friends, push through. Last week may not have “gone as planned.” It is probably because you have some spiritual fat that needs trimming and you’re huffing and puffing. Get back in the spiritual gym and keep working.
Set a time frame to be at it. Don’t leave early.
Get the Word in front of you. Take small portions. And don’t worry about reading it over and over. Stay at it.
Get those needs in front of you. Stare at them. Ask for what to pray. Feel the frustration. And get back at it tomorrow. And the next day.
Prevailing prayer is persevering prayer. Do NOT give up. There is breakthrough needed.
It may not happen today. Get back it tomorrow.