HAVE YOU THROWN IN THE TOWEL ON PRAYER?
Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up. Luke 18:1 CEV
I have always been a boxing fan. Without question, boxing is a brutal sport that can get out of hand in a hurry. Sometimes, to protect his fighter from serious harm, a manager has to "throw in the towel" to get the referee to stop the fight.
The phrase "throw in the towel" quickly moved from the boxing world to everyday life. As we all know, when you throw in the towel, you quit ... you give up ... you accept defeat. And people do it all the time. They throw in the towel on their marriage, or their degree, or their dreams, or their very lives. It is easy to throw in the towel. It is much harder to push through and keep going.
THE STRUGGLE WITH PRAYER
Now when it comes to the spiritual discipline called prayer, we are routinely confronted with the temptation to throw in the towel and quit. Much of the time, the answers to our prayers are seemingly slow in coming. We can start out so gung-ho over a need or a dream or a desire only to lose steam as nothing visibly changes. The devil likes to show up in those moments and whisper in our ear, "You are wasting your time, your fool. God is not going to answer your prayer. He either doesn't care about your need, or He is unable to help you. Regardless, you ought to cut your losses, get off your knees, and stop believing in the pipe dream that prayer changes things. It doesn't." Have you ever heard those thoughts swirl through your mind? I know I have.
THE LORD'S ENCOURAGEMENT
In our discouragement over unanswered prayer, the Lord reminds us, "Don't quit! Keep praying! Keep Believing! Keep coming before me with your needs. I hear you, and I care. I will answer at the proper time ... if you don't quit."
You see, the Lord loves persistence. He loves it when we dig in and choose to trust Him, no matter what the circumstances say. He loves it when we refuse to throw in the towel on the prayer need that He put in our heart. When we pray according to His will, we can have great confidence that He will answer us when the time is right (see 1 John 5:14-15).
Shandi is a beautiful young wife and mom in our church. She had been married to her husband Sean for twelve years. She was a Christian, and he was not ... and she was praying for his salvation. She was not pushy or preachy, but she longed for him to know Christ and to have a Christian marriage. She prayed for him, and did not quit. One Sunday at church, she could tell the Lord was working on Sean. Shandi went down to the altar to pray, and she prayed fervently for Sean's salvation. Her prayers were answered that day! While she was on her knees praying for him, he slipped out of the pew and went done to the altar to give his life to Jesus ... and his nine-year-old son, Preston, followed him to do the same. Sean and Preston were baptized together two weeks later! Shandi was beside herself with joy!
That was three years ago. They told me this story just last Sunday night, and both of them were fighting back the tears. God had done such a great thing in their lives, marriage, and family. Shandi knew Jesus wanted to save Sean, and she would not quit until He answered her prayer!
Have you thrown in the towel on prayer? Have you given up on that dream, that need, that desire God placed within you? Pick up the towel, and get back on your knees. If your prayer is a little off center, ask God to refine it so that is in complete accordance with His will.
Prayer really does change things because God answers prayer! So, don't quit!
P.S. If you would like FHH and people around the world to join you in prayer, leave your prayer request on our PrayerWorks page.
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.