Be Persistent

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

I recently bought the devotional book, Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones to give to my children to encourage them as they establish a rhythm of family devotions with their kids. This is a remarkable devotional book with profound spiritual truths from the Bible told in a conversational tone. I greatly appreciate how theologically rich it is and yet so easy to understand. I think the grown ups reading the book to their children may love it just as much or even more than their kids.

I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite out of the 101 devotions, but what prompted me to write this post was when I read the title of Devotion #65 (Page 146) that simply says, “Nagging God.”  It’s about praying…constantly talking to God…never stopping. The author poses a question and then gives us the answer…

“Is it okay to nag God? And pester him? God says we MUST!”

I have a friend going through a very difficult and challenging time. Whenever she asks me for advice, I encourage her to be persistent with praying to God.  I can’t solve the problem or purchase a quick cure-all solution, but I can be persistent with my encouragement, mercy and care for her while gently reminding her that God is never tired of listening to her. Our problems are not bigger than God. And while we are being persistent with finding a right and just solution, God is even more persistent with rescuing us and pouring out more grace in our lives for his glory. I’m reminded about The Parable of the Persistent Widow:

 1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:1–8 (ESV)

The widow persisted beyond what is comfortable yet she did not lose heart. If an unjust judge finally grants the window’s “prayer,” how much more will God, who is all and completely just, hear our prayers? God will not and cannot grow tired of us constantly talking with him. He is a big God, a good God and He is a King–
“–and Kings love to do marvelous, powerful things.”

So yes, my friend, it is okay to nag and pester God. Please do so! Be persistent. God is always there and he loves it when you ask him for great things!

I think I shall give my friend a copy of this book. It will encourage her heart to sing.

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Praying for the Next Generation

What kind of legacy do you want to leave for your children? I know I want to leave a legacy like my parents will leave me…and my children and my children’s children.

My Dad recently celebrated his 87th birthday with us. We bought him an airline ticket from North Carolina to Indiana.  My Dad is in amazing physical condition and his strong heart is sold out for Jesus. I think he has memorized most of the bible and is passionate about telling everyone he meets about the love of Jesus and God’s grace. When I picked Dad up from the airport, the  first thing he said was, “Hey there!” and the second thing was, “Would you believe the person I sat by on the plane was already a Christian?”  I said, “Dad, you sound disappointed that he knows Jesus.”  We laughed together because we both know that my father’s greatest joy is sharing the love of Christ to others.

Not everyone my Dad speaks to or sits by on a crowded airplane wants to hear what he has to share. He is a gentleman and will not press people to listen to him but whenever that happens, my Dad will begin to pray for the person near him or sitting next to him on an airplane. Quietly praying to himself…talking to God…praying many of those bible verses he has memorized…fuel for praying for the next generation.  My father uses scripture as a springboard for prayer.

When my children were born, my father held them in his arms and prayed that they would know Jesus at a very young age and blessed them with words from the pages of God’s book. When my grandchildren were born, my father held them in his arms and blessed them with everlasting words of truth, hope and grace. Words from God’s book…memorized years and years ago.

I found this small booklet on my bookcase. I had purchased it several years ago to use as a guide to pray for my children. I remembered ordering numerous copies to give to families in our church. Time has passed and I had forgotten about it…until I put my Dad on a plane back to North Carolina. Unknowingly, my father challenged me to pray  the word of God, especially for the next generation.

This is a helpful booklet for praying specific scripture verses for a specific need.  It was written with the hope that we will not only faithfully pray for our children but also for the generations to come. It is a wonderful tool to help focus your prayers for your children. For example: “Pray that they would desire inner beauty and godly character, and that they would grow more Christlike daily…Psalm 119:9, Ephesians 5:1-11” (excerpt from Praying for the Next Generation, page 34.)

My Dad probably doesn’t need this booklet, but I do. And you may find it helpful, too.

Check it out here: Children Desiring God  Praying for the Next Generation by Sally Michael