Normally easy going, my mother seldom forced us to eat food we didn’t like. From my infancy, when I blew a raspberry shower of pureed spinach onto her glasses, Mom had always respected my aversion to green food. That day, however, she must have read the “5 Reasons Your Child Needs Green Beans” article in the latest Parents magazine. I watched in horror as she spooned five slimy green beans onto my dinner plate.
“I don’t like green beans,” I reminded her.
“Well you can’t leave the table until you eat them,” she responded, crossing her arms for emphasis.
Mealtime came and went. My other, more compliant, siblings choked down the required green bean quota and went out to play. Mom cleared the table, washed the dishes, and still I sat, staring at my plate.
Considering my prospects, I noticed the longer the green beans sat, the more shriveled they became. If I waited long enough, I reasoned, perhaps they would shrivel up and disappear completely, and I would be emancipated.
I determined to outlast them.
After an hour of watching me from the other room, Mom stomped back into the kitchen, snatched up my plate, and said with a huff, “Oh, go outside for heaven’s sake!”
I had won the green bean war.
One day George Mueller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years, he never gave up hoping he would accept Christ. His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller's death, the last one was saved.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, was such a man of prayer that he earned the nickname Camel Knees.
Jacob the patriarch wrestled with the Angel of God and declared, “I will not let you go until you bless me” (Genesis 32:26).
What are you wrestling in faith for?
A prodigal child? A medical miracle? An impossible financial situation? A broken marriage?
God promises, “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous (wo)man accomplishes much” (James 5).
He reminds us that “those who sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Psalm 126:5).
And he challenges us not to “become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
I encourage you to join me, George Mueller, James, and Jacob in praying with tenacity and determination. We can claim God’s promises with boldness and faith. With the Lord’s help, we can outlast ‘em!
I'll be presenting the seminar Praying with Power at New Century Church in Roanoke, Virginia, April 19-20. If you're in the area, I'd love to meet you! To reach the church, click here or contact Sherry at SherryGHolland@centurylink.net.
If you'd like to host a Praying with Power Women's Conference at your church and would like more information, click here.
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