SUNDAY MARCH 1, 2015
PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER
PERSEVERANCE is an essential tool at this time of Lent. It is required that every child of God should go for it, particularly, as it enables one to deeply reflect and meditate as one hopes to receive unhindered from the Lord. But the question we may ask is: how many people are ready to persevere in prayer? Sincerely, the story of the importunate woman comes handy for us to draw inspiration from. She kept approaching the earthly judge, asking him to come and attend to her. She was persistent and never lost hope. And true to form, the earthly judge was moved to go and attend to her matter. The scripture says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. (Matt 7:7). It is our duty always to go to God in prayer and I am sure He will not turn down our request.
The elder – James, only hinted that when we ask we may not receive because sometimes we ask amiss: James 4:3. But if what we ask from the Lord is in tandem with His will, definitely He will give us a listening ear. Take for example, Nigeria as a nation in the mood of elections now asking God to grant it free and credible elections. Not the type of election that at the end will not be credible and free and which may snowball into breakdown of law and order and the attendant violence. Of course the experience of 1967 to 1970 is still fresh in our minds. I am confident the will of God for Nigeria is not for violence or war, but that of a nation that dwells in peace even after elections. This means any prayer rendered in this regard to God necessarily will be in tandem with His will. The prophet Isaiah, therefore, beckons on all who can pray not to be silent: “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth”. (Isaiah 62:6-7).
Unfortunately, part of the problem we have as individuals and as a nation is that we are often in a hurry to get answers or results from the Lord. Yes, in whatever we desire we demand an immediate answer. We do not have time to be patient and wait for the Lord to attend to us. The idea of perseverance is that it has to do with persistence. By this, we mean doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. There is tenacity, determination, resolve, resolution, resoluteness and of course, firmness of purpose.
Prayer is a time the believer seeks to commune with his Creator. Through it, he is able to enter into the inner recesses of God. He is assured that God will definitely hear him/her as the state of the heart is poured unto Him. The apostle Paul did advise the Philippians: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ (Phil. 4:6). How often do we pray? And if we do pray at all, how persistent are we? Do we give God time frame as if to say ‘if you do not perform, I may likely look elsewhere’?Ven. Ernest Onuoha Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. www.ibrucentre.org