Jonah 2:7 ( NKJV ) “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple.
When faintheartedness drives us to the end of ourselves, we may cry out to the Lord and find His strength. In fact, the only help we have in the day of adversity is from Him. Perhaps we could learn that before we faint.
The truth, of course, is that our faith is small. We are often fainthearted and, if the success of our future is up to the strength of our faith, we are probably in trouble. Our hope, praise the Lord, is not in our own faithfulness or strength. Our hope is in the Lord’s faithfulness and strength.
You see, the remedy for faintheartedness, that which enables us to persevere, is hope. We keep going because of what we believe is promised, right? We trust that the Lord, who commanded our service, will bless our efforts in His time. That’s hope. The Scriptures talk of two foundations for hope, the Word of God:
Psalms 119:81 ( NKJV ) My soul faints for Your salvation, But I hope in Your word.
And the Lord Himself, or perhaps we could say the character of God:
Psalms 146:5 ( NKJV ) Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Our hope is found in the faithfulness of our Lord. He does not faint, Isaiah said. He is strong and wise and loving. He is wonderful and powerful and majestic beyond comparison. And, in His grace, He reaches down to us and fulfills our need.
In other words, our relationship with the Lord is key. This is what we have been seeing all along, isn’t it? If everything we need is found in the Lord and we, for whatever reason, lose touch with Him, then we no longer have access to what we need. Those who wander from the Lord will find themselves becoming faint when trouble comes. Their relationship with Him is compromised and they have no source of strength. They have “fallen” from His grace.
On the other hand, those who cultivate their relationship with the Lord have hope and will be able to stand in that difficult day. They keep their eyes on His faithfulness and they know that they can keep going.
But how? That’s always the question. How can we do this? There is a wonderful and simple answer.
The Scripture uses the idea of perseverance often, but doesn’t use the word. But there is one area of our lives where we are told specifically to persevere. That is prayer.
Ephesians 6:18 ( NKJV ) 18praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
In other words, don’t forsake prayer. Keep praying. Don’t ever stop praying. That’s the purpose of the parable Jesus told as well:
Luke 18:1-8 ( NKJV ) 1Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”
6Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Listen: the most important message I can bring to you or to anyone else is the most simple of all – the Lord loves you. He really loves you. He wants you to live in close relationship with Him. He is willing to forgive your sins, just so you can have that relationship with Him. That relationship, in practice, has a lot to do with prayer. Our relationship with the Lord calls us to pray.
I know that there are times in our lives when prayer seems like it isn’t very important. I know that there are times when prayer seems insincere, when we don’t really want to talk with the Lord. I know that there are times when we would be afraid of what we might say if we really opened up to the Lord.
Believe me, He has heard it all. You can dump on Him. You can tell Him of your anger and pain and fear. He already knows anyway. Read the Psalms and see what David talked to God about. God wants to hear from you. He wants you to know that He listens and He cares.
When you and I stop praying, our relationship with the Lord seems to go on hold. The longer we fail to pray, the more distant we are from Him. We then find ourselves becoming afraid and anxious because we have no access to His wonderful strength and provision.
Pray for persevering grace. But listen: pray for perseverance in prayer. Pray that the Lord would grant you opportunity and motivation to pray without ceasing. Persevering grace comes to those who pray.
How do you do that? Well, ask Him. Tell Him you don’t feel like praying. Tell Him you are angry. You don’t have to have some formal words and you don’t have to have a formal time. Just talk with Him. He loves you.