Are you mighty or milquetoast? Developing the discipline of spiritual tenacity

She had her teeth sunk in, her feet set, and a determined gleam in her eyes. She would not let go.

On the other side of the t-shirt, I was equally determined. A tug of war ensued. The harder I pulled, the tighter she clamped down. When I pulled to the left, she twisted her body to the right. If I pulled up, she countered by sinking her feet deeper into the carpet. If I let up in the least, she'd shake her head in an instinctive gesture designed wrest her "kill" from my hands. We carried on this way for some time until a distinct ripping sound put an end to the battle.

Polly had won.

She had hung on until she vanquished her foe.

We can all learn a lesson from Polly's example of tenacity. defines the quality of being tenacious as "holding fast; keeping a firm hold on," but Oswald Chambers, in the selection dated February 22 in his book My Utmost for His Highest, describes tenacity this way:

"Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire."

He goes on to say, "Tenacity is more than hanging on, which may be but the weakness of being too afraid to fall off. Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered."

His words challenged to me to examine the way I pray.

Do I truly believe my prayers matter?

Do I believe that God "is a rewarder of those who diligently (tenaciously) seek Him?" (Heb. 11:6).

Do I believe nothing is too hard for God? (Jer. 32:17).

Do I believe the prayer of a righteous (wo)man is powerful and effective? (Jas. 5:16).

"Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).

Like Polly hung onto the t-shirt with every fiber in her buff-colored body, I want to be spiritually tenacious as I approach the throne of God in prayer. I want to be like Jacob, who wrestled with God all night long and declared, 

"I will not let you go until you bless me!"

and when circumstances don't go the way I hope, I want to say with Job, 

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."  

 May we heed the challenge of Oswald Chambers,
"Then comes the call to spiritual tenacity, not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be worsted."

Whatever you are wrestling through today, please don't give up. Pray in faith, believing.

May we be like Jacob, whom, after a long night of wrestling with God, came away with a blessing that continues to impact the world for Christ even today.

 "Remain spiritually tenacious.

You want to connect with God, but in the craziness of life, it’s just not happening. You want practical, biblical answers to situations you face every day, but you don’t have hours to pore over Scripture.

You need a resource that answers the questions you’re afraid to ask out loud. Questions like:

• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

Each devotion begins with a Facetime question and ends with a biblical answer wrapped in a modern day parable. Like a spiritual power bar, Hungry for God … Starving for Time is packed with enough scriptural nutrition to get you through the day. Wherever you are—in break rooms, carpool lines, or wherever you can snatch five minutes of quiet reflection—Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is for you.

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  1. Dear Lori,
    Love this one. You always have good dog analogies. I will never think of tenacity without picturing your dog’s teeth in your t-shirt. I hope it wasn’t a favorite shirt. I always love having your posts on B&BB…such good quality. I hope you enjoyed (are still enjoying?) your R&R time. I’m writing this on a train from Budapest, Hungary to Zagreb, Croatia. I don’t have internet, but I opened up your blog post before the trip so I could read it while traveling. And I’ll paste my comment into a comment box when we arrive. So I’m reading your blog and thinking of you across the globe! May you have a blessed week, my friend.

  2. Lori, Cute analogy. Been there done that, but with my kids sneakers just as they were about to leave for school. We had labs and boy could they hold their own! Yes, I do believe all the questions you posted. I have a "child-like" faith in Him being exactly who he says he is and doing what he promises. He has never failed me! Blessings.

    1. Well Lynn, there's a reason God instructs us to come "with the faith of a little child." And you know, when we just simply trust, it makes life so much less complicated. Blessings back to you!

  3. this is such a great analogy.....sometimes I want to give up...let go....give in...but there's something in me that just won't....knowing He's beside me....holding on together with me. Hope your weekend shines

    1. Nikki,

      You're right. The solidarity with Christ enables us to persevere. To God be the glory! Thanks so much for sharing :)

  4. This is a great challenge! Thanks for linking it up today.

  5. Lori, once again, an excellent post. I especially appreciated Oswald Chamber's quote that "Tenacity is the supreme effort of a man refusing to believe that his hero is going to be conquered." Yes! I'm going through a very difficult season and I need to remember that my Hero is absolutely unconquerable!
    Blessings to you ~ Mary

  6. Hi Lori, I love this post. Yes, we need to be more tenacious with our prayer, me anyway. Great post and thank you for linking up again this week. I love seeing you on the bloghop
    God bless