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Far too early in the morning:

Alice (my 4 year old daughter with a big, beaming grin): “Daddy, Daddy, can you wake-up now?”

Me: “I just need a little bit more of a lie-in. Let Daddy have a little bit more rest.”

A few minutes later:

Alice: “Daddy, can you wake-up now? You’ve had a bit more rest.”

Me: “Just a little bit more sleep for Daddy.”

A few minutes later:

Alice: “Daddy, it’s time to wake-up now. Can you come downstairs with me?”

Me: “Daddy’s so tired Alice. Can you give me a little bit longer in bed?”

A few minutes later:

Alice: “Come on Daddy, you’ve had a rest now. It’s time to wake-up.”

Me: “Let me have a last little bit of rest. Daddy’s so tired.”

A few minutes later:

Alice: “Daddy, can you wake-up and come and play with me? I’m scared to go downstairs on my own.”

Daddy: “You’ll be fine. Let Daddy have a little bit longer in bed.”

A few minutes later:

Alice: “Daddy, I need the toilet. Can you come and help me?”

Me: “Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!”

This is how my mornings usually start. I don’t bother setting my alarm anymore as there’s no need. No matter how many times I try to dissuade my daughter from waking me up, she will keep going until she gets what she wants. She gets this from my wife, Kate, who was equally persistent in petitioning me to go out with her!

It reminds me of that piece of Scripture in Luke 11, where Jesus is teaching His Disciples how to pray. In verse 5, Jesus says:

“Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You would say to him, “A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.” He would call out from his bedroom, “Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and we are all in bed. I can’t help you this time.” But I tell you this, though he won’t do it as a friend, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you what you want so his reputation won’t be damaged.”

Jesus then goes on to talk about those who ask will receive, those who seek will find, and those who knock will have the door opened up to them.

Too often, if there’s something I need, I might pray about it a couple of times. However, fairly soon I tend to give up, usually because:

1. I haven’t had an answer; or

2. I haven’t had the answer I want; or

3. I am too lazy; or

4. I haven’t got the discipline to keep going.

I can relate to the Disciples when they are asked by Jesus to stay alert and pray, prior to His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. They repeatedly fell asleep instead of praying at this crucial time.

Developing perseverance is an important part of our growth as followers of Christ, and having a clearly defined goal or purpose for our lives is important. As Christians, we all have a God-given purpose, which can only truly be understood as we walk in regular fellowship with God. Our ultimate purpose is to love God and love others (see Matthew 22 vs 37-40). In addition to this, God might give us specific purposes and goals, such as preaching, teaching, evangelism, serving, being a Godly example in the work place, raising a Godly family etc. If we know where God is wanting us to get to, we will be that much more determined (with His strength) to persevere with the journey to get there, no matter how difficult things might get.

In relation to persevering in prayer, I’ve also found that it causes my views to change as I start to understand more of God’s perspective on whatever it is I’m praying about.

The passage in Genesis 18 vs 23 – 33 is an example of where Abraham persists in asking God about the point at which He would destroy Sodom (a city where the people had become extremely wicked). Abraham asks if God would destroy the city if there were 50 innocent people there, to which God responds that He wouldn’t. This line of questioning continues until Abraham asks God if He would destroy Sodom if there were only 10 innocent people there, to which God responds that He wouldn’t.

Abraham doesn’t change God’s mind about destroying Sodom. However, Abraham comes to learn more about the depths of God’s mercy and His desire to see people reconciled to Him rather than destroyed. In spite of the depravity within Sodom, God was still willing to hold-back its destruction for the sake of 10 innocent people. Abraham’s perspective is changed as he perseveres with his questions and petitions to God.

Perseverance is something that helps to strengthen our faith. As we persist towards our God-given goals in life, we grow in our ability to overcome obstacles. The revelation that God will bring us through our trials and tribulations towards His goals and purposes for our lives, causes our faith to grow. Perseverance develops our character and can align our perspective with God’s.

The final bit of Scripture I want to leave you with, is found in Hebrews 12 vs 1:

And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.

May you be encouraged to persevere with whatever circumstances/goals that God has set before you in your own personal race, safe in the knowledge that He will bring you through to the fulfilment of His promises.

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