patience (7)


Do you know the central teaching of Scripture? It can be found in every book of the Bible and brings it all together. It is the gospel. “For God so loved the world. . .” “That Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” That, “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.”

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood and explained what God was pouring out into the world and in Acts 2:22-24 Peter focused everything on the gospel.

Men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

It is important to understand that Peter did not present the gospel as an abstract concept.

Look at Peter’s words. “Hear these words, ‘Jesus of Nazareth!’”

Jesus is the gospel. If you have never come to know Jesus Christ personally, you need to understand that Jesus Himself is reaching out to you in His incomparable love. In John 14:6 Jesus said He was the way, the truth, and the life. 1 John 5:20 tells us He is eternal life.

You who are believers need to understand that the gospel is not something you will ever grow beyond. The privilege of knowing Jesus is the wonderful foundation of everything you will ever learn, or need, or enjoy in Christ. Let me point out just one narrow application of this truth. Do you know why the fellowship of the church is so wonderful? It is because Jesus indwells us. You can see Jesus, you can hear His voice and feel His embrace when we get together in the church.

But there are many applications of the gospel in our lives. If we look at the fruit of the Spirit for example. Galatians 5:22-23 begins the list with love. “We love because He first loved us.” The next is joy. At the birth of Jesus the Angel told the shepherds he brought them “Good news of great joy!” Next comes peace. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The list continues from patience through self-control. Each of these and every other facet of spiritual growth comes as we understand and apply the gospel to our lives. And the gospel is Jesus Christ. We do not believe in it. We believe in Him.

This and the next few entries in this blog come from a sermon I preached at Crosspoint Church in Reno, NV. You can find the recording on their website.

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The Brink of Your Miracle

Years ago my car engine burned up because the oil had leaked out. I’m sure the leakage had been going on for a while, but the destruction to my engine happened quite rapidly, mere moments after I saw the warning light on my dashboard.

Lately I’ve been reflecting on my need for “oil” of another kind—the oil of the Holy Spirit. And I’ve also been challenged about the necessity of regularly checking the warning lights on my spiritual dashboard.

Jesus told an intriguing story about this in Matthew 25. In the opening scene, 10 young women are waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. Jesus said five of them were foolish, and five were wise, yet there was only one difference: The wise ones knew they needed extra oil for their lamp.

Unfortunately for the foolish women in this story, “the bridegroom was a long time in coming” (v. 5). Of course, this parable is a rebuke to those who expect Jesus to return so imminently that they needn’t prepare for the long haul, but I believe there’s another message as well: At times our faith, love, endurance, and faithfulness will be tested by our need to WAIT for our Lord to come into our circumstances with a breakthrough of some kind.

In the story Jesus told, as in our lives today, the bridegroom typically comes “at midnight” (v. 6), right when the night seems darkest and our hope is running out. However, midnight represents a tipping point in many ways, when nighttime reaches its zenith and inevitably begins to turn to day.

Recently I’ve found myself humming an old gospel song that says, “Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle.” When midnight is approaching and you still haven’t seen the Bridegroom’s intervention, it sure is easy to lose heart and give up.

Paul writes about this in Galatians 6:9-10:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

So what are the lessons for us today?

First, we must recognize that the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. Because of that, we need to continually check the gauges on our spiritual dashboard, ensuring that we have enough “oil” for the long haul.

Second, instead of falling asleep, as the women in Jesus’ story did, we should live in great expectancy that our Bridegroom may soon come and break through with a miracle in our circumstances. Even though we may have been waiting for quite a while to have some of our prayers answered, the tipping point could be closer than we think.

In the meantime, we’re encouraged to keep “doing good,” using every opportunity to show love to the people God has put in our lives. No matter what “season” we presently find ourselves in, we’re called to sow seeds of faith and kindness. Although we don’t know “the day or the hour,” we can be confident our harvest will come.

When we take these lessons to heart, we’re sure to experience great blessings ahead—whether the Bridegroom comes as quickly as we want Him to or not. 

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I took a break from my blog during the month of August, 2015. And I told you I would see you in September. Well, it is September. And I am back as I said I would be. I pray for God to speak to each of you in these entries.

I am so blessed to have people whom I love and love me on daily prayer lists. I am not sure anything cultivates my love for them like prayer. I also have the names of people on prayer lists who are hard to love or even like. Exercising kindness toward them is necessary for feeling and growing my love for these people. But these actions must begin with and be carried out in prayer.


I have people on prayer lists who have wronged me, or worse, harmed people I love. God clearly impressed me to put these people on prayer lists. But I do often find it difficult to pray for them. Praying in general helps me understand and apply the truth of God's grace to them. God's forgiving love begins to rub off on me. Especially as I put forgiveness into words by asking God, even against my will, to forgive them.


Interestingly enough I often need more patience with people who are closer to me than those I have trouble loving. They are sinners. And I am a sinner. We sin against each other. I thank God that prayer brings me into contact with God's patience with me. Despite what the devil accuses I can go to God in confession immediately after sinning. I am still His child even after I sin. Praying in that grace opens my heart to patience with others even when we rub each other the wrong way.


I am not sure anything is as necessary to love as humility. And nothing cultivates humility like access to God by grace in prayer. I do not deserve the privilege of prayer. The Son of God had to die on a cross to purchase it for me. I did not just need a little more righteousness to see the kingdom of God. I had to be born again. And I am no more deserving of God's grace than that person I find it difficult to love.

Today I plan to pray specifically for God to show His great love to everyone one my prayer lists and people I come in contact with all day.

Next week I plan to begin a series of blog entries on the Foundations of Prayer

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Rejoicing in Hope


My youngest son was invited to a "sleepover party" this week. One of his closest friends was turning 10 and wanted my little guy to celebrate with him. You might not think a sleepover is such a big deal at your age, but for a nine-year-old who has often been left behind while two older brothers go on sleepovers, this was like being given the world! Oh, the fun they would have! They would stay up until TEN O'CLOCK, he boasted to me! They would eat popcorn! Watch movies! Candy for dinner! And on and on he went.

The invitation arrived a week or so ahead of time. It was beautiful: a full-color, printed invitation complete with pictures, time and date. It promptly earned a coveted place on our fridge, where my son could visually savor its promised delights until the momentous day should arrive. We discussed it daily: what to bring, what to wear, how exciting that HE had been invited, along with one or two of his best friends! This was just THE BEST!  

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Most of us are leery of praying for patience. We are familiar with the story of a lady asking D.L Moody to pray for her to have patience. The great evangelist bowed onto one knee and began praying for the woman to undergo tribulation. Discomfited, she tapped him on the shoulder and said she needed patience not tribulation. He then rose and showed her Romans 5:3 where Paul, by the Holy Spirit, tells us that tribulation develops patience or patient endurance.

However, I believe we miss the point of this passage when we think we should never to pray for endurance. That attitude reflects the values of our sinful world that believes we should avoid everything painful or difficult in our lives. Paul goes on to say that the patience tribulation produces develops character and character produces hope.

My wife and I recently watched the final episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mysteries on PBS. I found it difficult to watch the first half of the show because Poirot was portrayed as bitter and vindictive because of his pain and physical debilitation. I do not want physical difficulties to be an excuse for bitterness or harsh words from my heart and mouth.

We are to desire God’s transformation of our character so fiercely that we welcome the pain that God uses to produce it. This comes very close to home for me. I thank God that my cancer has not progressed as rapidly as my doctors feared. I know that is a result of people praying for me. But I still deal with constant, if minor, pain. It is easy for this to make me irritable. But that is not the effect I want it to have on my attitudes and behavior. I pray for the endurance that produces sweetness of character as I draw nearer at whatever pace to our everlasting hope.

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What do you do when you read something you do not understand in the Bible? Some things may even offend you. How do you respond?

The faith of many has been sabotaged as they came to something in scripture that went counter to their understanding or confused their theology.

There are several ways people approach this fairly common dilemma. Some study harder, read commentaries, search for explanations by others. This is often the right thing to do. We need to allow difficulties to motivate us to study. However, this can be a dangerous first step. Understanding scripture requires more than diligent study and natural intelligence. It calls for wisdom and spiritual insight. James says anyone who lacks wisdom should ask God. (James 1:5)

Sometimes people try to twist the scripture to say what they already think. I do not need to tell you this is wrong, but we certainly see it a lot.

I also see people getting louder in their affirmation of what a scripture seems to contradict. How many angry retorts have you heard against Paul’s statements about predestination (Eph.1:5) or some other doctrine that Scripture affirms or seems to put forth? Right or wrong this is unspiritual behavior.

Romans 12:14 tells us spiritual things are discerned by the Holy Spirit. He begins by bringing us to the point of meekness. We must submit to God’s truth no matter what. Then ask the Spirit to work patience in your heart to wait on His illumination. I recommend memorizing the verse or difficult passage. Then, in patience and meekness, meditate on it, praying for God to speak to your heart.

With this Spiritual foundation in place you can go study what others have written about a passage. It is interesting that commentaries seldom delve into passages that trouble us. But that will not keep God’s Spirit from giving you special insight into His truth.

My book SPIRITUAL INSIGHT should be published later this year.

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Standing Firm in Persistent Prayer

“God is in the process of redemption for the long haul.  My persistent praying says, ‘Count me in. I won’t cut and run when the answers are slow in coming. Instead of drumming impatient fingers, I’m going to use that hand to knock firmly on heaven’s door - again and again! Together, God and I share the ongoing fellowship of intercession.”  Sandy Mayle
Jesus was persistent in prayer. He practiced persistence in His prayer life, and He taught it to His disciples. He was passionate about not giving up in prayer because He wanted His disciples to learn to stand firm in persistent prayer. Look at His life. He spent whole nights in prayer. That takes perseverance and incredible persistence. At the end of His life, he was so intensely praying that he sweat great drops of blood. Jesus knew how to stand firm in persistent prayer. He wanted us to learn to keep asking, to keep seeking, and to keep knocking. He said in Luke 11:9-10:      
“So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened” (Amplified Bible).

Prayer doesn’t seem so attractive when you don’t see quick results. We think that maybe we are doing something wrong or that God doesn’t hear us. We may even question His goodness. But we are so wrong when we think in this way. God hears every prayer and He does answer us - but it’s in His way and in His timing. We are so quick to give up. In Luke 18:1-5 (NIV) Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow who never gave up:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: 'In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming.'"

The word “persist” in Webster’s dictionary means “to stand or be fixed, to continue steadfastly and firmly in the pursuit of any cause, to pursue, not receding from the purpose, not to give up or abandon.” That persistent widow wanted justice and didn’t waver in her pursuit. She stood firmly and didn’t give up in her asking. Finally the judge answered her request because of her persistence. 

Persistence is Reality
Most people like to live and serve God when everything is exciting. I lived on an exciting mission’s ship as a young person. We went from country to country and city to city. The first three months in this exciting ministry was absolutely glorious! Young people would come to live on board and though the ship was old, worn and full of little cockroaches, the ministry opportunities were fantastic. It was like a little bit of heaven. Everything was absolutely thrilling initially - living with people from over 40 nations, sharing your testimony in a different church meeting every Sunday, and eating new food and fruits in countries you never even heard of! 
But time went on and all the glamour quickly wore off. 
All of a sudden your own home country seemed like a beautiful dream. Roommates started to get irritating, sea voyages were no longer enchanting, seasickness was a hard endurance, and many wondered if they made a huge mistake by joining for two long years. But it was a good training for young people in the area of reality because persistence is reality. During the testimony times when people were leaving the ship, they often told how long they had been on board. For example, “My name is Mary. I’ve been on board one year, eleven and ½ months.” Then they would tell what they learned during their time on board. I am surprised someone hasn’t yet told how many hours and minutes he/she has lived on board! But just to press the point, ship life had a lot of persistence and endurance for a young person. 
There is no getting around it for any of us - old or young. No matter who we are or what job we have, if we are going to reach the world for Christ we will have to persist. Intercessors have to persist. It’s part of their calling. Persistence is reality. The real world is not always exciting. It may have exciting moments but in between those mountaintop experiences, there is a lot of persistence.

If we all stop and think about it, life is not easy for anyone. Every job includes endurance and persistence. Prayer takes persistence. There are wilderness and dry times when you think you are the only one praying. There are times when you feel as if you’ve prayed a thousand times without an answer. Real purposeful ministry takes time and persistence as it develops. Everything good takes endurance. People think that living here at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC) is all excitement. It takes a very high level of persistent prayer for everyone here. Rick Joyner, a wise prophetic leader, author and founder of the Morning Star ministry, says:
“Many will come at first because a new work is always exciting. However, they will not have the stability or endurance to stay through the wilderness and dry times, which we must always go through to get to the place where we receive the promises of God and the Promised land, to the fulfillment of the promises. In fact, we can see in both Scripture and history that the quicker and easier the promises are fulfilled, the less significant the purpose.” 
When we are praying for something big, we need great patience. It takes both faith and patience to inherit the promise. We read in Hebrews 6:11-12 “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” The greater the purpose, the greater the faith and patience are required. Persistence is reality. 
Persistent Prayer Does Not Give Up
“Persistent praying never faints or grows weary. It is never discouraged. It never yields to cowardice, but is lifted up and sustained by a hope that knows no despair and a faith that will not let go. Persistent praying has patience to wait and strength to continue. It never prepares itself to quit praying, and it refuses to get up from its knees until an answer is received.” E. M. Bounds
Not to give up means not to faint or lose heart. It is steady prayer. It’s long-term and not for the faint-hearted. It stands firm. It displays a trust in God that says, “I am going to believe you for the answer in your way and your timing.” When we persist in prayer, we cover every aspect of the need from a variety of perspectives. We see it from the big perspective and from the tiniest aspect. We don’t forget the prayer because we carry it with us, and it’s in our routine. We knock and knock at heaven’s door. We are passionate about it. 
There is not one of us who doesn’t have to be persistent in prayer. 
It’s part of our training for reigning. We have to learn to wait no matter how hard it is. Patience is not one of our favorite words. It’s so exciting to run around and do things, but to wait and pray is hard work. And to keep from getting discouraged is another story. Many of us live in cultures where waiting is not considered a virtue. But God sees things differently than we do. Waiting is often the best use of our time. I’ve written about it often because I feel it is the important DNA of an intercessor. We have to patiently wait and persist in prayer. We have to stand firm without wavering and then we have to wait some more. 
The Apostle Paul was a fast-moving individual but he learned the secret of persistent prayer. He said to the Church in Thessalonica, “Night and day we pray more earnestly that we may see you again" (1 Thessalonians 3:10).  To the Church in Colosse he said, “We have not stopped praying for you….” (Colossians 1:9).  To the Church in Ephesus he said, “I keep asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…. may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17).
When we lived in Virginia Beach, my husband and I used to walk around a lake for exercise in the evenings. Every year a carnival would set up their rides and food stands right near that area. We’d walk past it as well as through it several times on our brisk walk around the lake. Many people think traveling with a carnival must be exciting and fun. Children think it must be the most exciting life one could have! Lots of rides, hot dogs, and cotton candy all the time! We watched those carnival workers closely as we walked. They looked tired, bored, worn out, and hopeless. The weather was humid and it rained a lot, so that you had to tiptoe through the mud puddles. Often the rides had only a couple of riders. Where was all the excitement? There wasn’t any. It was hard work and persistence. 
We, who represent Jesus, must be persistent, patient, and persevering in our prayers. 
We must be the ones who stand the strongest in persistent prayer and in every occupation in life. It’s easy to give up, but we are representing a King and living for a Kingdom that will never end. Next time you feel like quitting, look up the following verses: Luke 11:5-10, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Luke 18:1-5, 1 Thessalonians 3:10, Col. 1:9, and Genesis 32:26. This is not the time to give up but to stand firm. We are laying hold of God’s strength as we pray. Keep on knocking on heaven’s door. It will pay off dramatically in the end, because God not only hears but He answers persistent prayer in a powerful way.   

The following will help you to be persistent in prayer. I invite you to see my four new facebook pages for my books: Breakthrough PrayerAscending the Height in PrayerDeeper Still, and 24/7 Prayer Arise. Join and like the Intercessors Arise facebook page for daily encouragement in your prayer life. For bi-monthly training in prayer, have your friends sign up for Intercessors Arise here.
“Persistence has various elements - the main ones are perseverance, determination, and intensity. It begins with a refusal to readily accept denial. This develops into a determination to persevere, to spare no time or trouble until the answer comes. This grows in intensity until the whole being is given to God in supplication. Boldness comes to lay hold of God’s strength. At one time, it is quiet; at another, bold. At one point, it waits in patience, but at another, it claims at once what it desires. In whatever different shape, persistence always means and knows that God hears prayer: I must be heard.” Andrew Murray
Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer (IHOP) KC Staff

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