ORLANDO, FLORIDA – This week, I’m in Orlando with Every Nation pastors from all over North America (USA & Canada) for the North American Strategic Team (NAST) meeting. Over the week, we will be praying together and strategizing how we can strengthen our existing churches and campus ministries and plant more in 2017.
If you fasted and prayed with us last week, here’s a post-fast thought about prayer, faith, and perseverance.
Whenever I get to the end of a week of prayer and fasting, I am always full of faith for what God is going to do in the coming year. Sometimes, I see immediate breakthrough and answers to prayer during the actual week of prayer and fasting. But more often than not, I see God answering those January prayers in March or June or November. And sometimes, I see God answering my 2017 prayers much later—in 2018 or 2028 or 2058!
Perseverance is one key component of faith that we often neglect when we talk about prayer. As much as we need faith in God’s power when we pray, we also need faith in His timing.
Too often, we think that because God didn’t answer our prayers according to our timeframe, then God didn’t “answer” our prayer. At this point, many give up praying, assuming that they must have misunderstood God’s will. Instead of giving up, we need to realize that this is exactly the point where true persevering faith begins.
If faith in God’s power produces boldness in prayer, then faith in God’s timing produces perseverance in prayer.
In Hebrews 11, the most famous passage in the Bible on faith, the author talks about ancient heroes of the faith like Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, and he makes an interesting comment about their faith journeys: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13 NKJV)
These all DIED in faith, not having received the promises.
Look at Abraham. God promised him that he would become a great nation, but when he died, he had only one descendent. He died before he fully received the promise. God’s promises to Abraham did eventually come to pass, but they came to pass in future generations. Yet Abraham did not waiver in unbelief, or assume that God had forgotten him. As it says in Hebrews 11, Abraham saw the fulfillment “afar off” and was “assured” of it.
So here’s the post-fast question: In 2017, are we going to persevere in faith whether or not God answers all of our prayers according to our expectations and timeline?
Let’s not get discouraged or give up—Let’s pray boldly and persistently, trusting both God’s power and His timing for our lives in 2017 and beyond.