I know it’s March, but how are your New Year’s resolutions going this year? Are you still keeping them? Do you remember what they were? Have you reached some of the goals you’ve set for yourself for this year yet? Unfortunately the odds are against us when it comes to these resolutions. Something like under 10% of people feel like they accomplish their resolutions and 40% of people fail their resolution in the first 2 weeks!
What is it that will keep us motivated to keep pushing forward when it’s easier to stay put? What gives us the strength to save our money when we really want to buy the newest gadget? What pushes us to save our relationships when giving up seems a lot easier? What motivates us to persist in our weight loss goals when staying home and eating spicy cheetohs and apple pie sounds a whole lot more fun? What gives us the drive to daily pursue a healthy relationship with God, when it’s so easy to forget about Him?
Hate Your State
One of the most powerful motivators I have found in my life is hate! I hate being broke, so I save! I hate being overweight, so I exercise and eat right! I hate my life without God in it, so I persist! If you want to effect change in your life you must first come to Hate Your State. You have to hate your current state of being more than you love your complacency. So many of us go about our lives never actually amounting to anything, never accomplishing our goals, always wishing we were this, wishing we were there, or dreaming about that, and the reason we often fail in completing our goals and making our dreams come true, is because we are perfectly okay with mediocrity. We love our complacency more than we want to change.
I want God’s miracles for my church and for my life but I’ve got to tell you that I don’t want to have to work for them. In the exact same way, I want to lose weight and look even more handsome, but I’d love to never have to run or eat broccoli ever again! But it don’t work like that. If you want results, you’ve got to put the work in! I hate exercising and eating healthy, but you know what, I hate being fat more! I hate having to be on my knees and praying and reading for hours, but you know what, I hate missing out on what God has for me more!
What’s funny is that the more you do something you hate, the more you start to love it! I hate to exercise, but the more I do it, the more I love it! I hate to pray and read sometimes, but the more I do it, the more I love it! I love that sore feeling after I’ve killed it in the gym I love that feeling of calm and assurance after I’ve poured out my soul to God. I love that feeling when something in His word just clicks for me after I’ve spent time studying with Him.
Through it, To it
There’s this story that Mark shares in his book about a prayer warrior, Mother Dabney. Mother Dabney would not just pray for something; she prayed through. It’s not enough for us to simply pray for something. Divine intervention requires more than just a quick 1-minute prayer. When we want God to step in and perform a miracle in our lives we can’t settle for a “one-and-done” type of prayer. We have to pray through it, until we get to it.
We may not want to sacrifice the time, or put in the effort, or make ourselves uncomfortable, but we must hate our current spiritual condition (or lack thereof), enough to pray through instead of just for. Mother Dabney felt impressed to pray everyday at 9am, and to fast 72-hours a week until God had answered her prayers. That’s not going to be for everyone (it certainly isn’t for me), but when God reveals to us what it will personally take for us to change our spiritual state, then I pray that we would have the courage to act on it.
God is not limited in resources. God is not limited in opportunities. God is only limited by our lack of faith and persistence. If you feel that you are not living up to God’s potential for your life it’s not because you don’t have the money, or the resources, or the opportunities, it’s because we’re not praying through. God has the ability to swinging doors wide open, but He’s just waiting to see if we’re willing to pray for it hard enough! God wants to see if we’re willing to pray Through It, until we get To It!
Dig Down Deep
Praying through means praying with consistency! It means we have to be resolute to stand in the circles we draw and refuse to move until we get an answer; to circle the walls of our Jericho until God gives us an answer! We need to dig down deep and drag up prayers from the very depths of your soul. “Praying through is all about intensity. It’s not quantitative; it’s qualitative! We can circle our prayers, and pray every day but if there’s no quality or substance to our prayers then prayers become ritualistic” (The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson).
Prayer isn’t a formula, or magic spell that just requires the right word. Drawing prayer circles involves more than words; it’s gut wrenching groans and heartbreaking tears. Drawing prayer circles aren’t surface type prayers, they’re prayers that require you to dig down deep. They are prayers of desperation for God to move in your life; prayers prayed like your life depended on them.
“There are higher heights and deep depths in prayer, and God was to take you there. He wants to take you places you have never been before. But if you want God to do something new in your life you can’t do the same old thing. It will involve more sacrifice, but if you are willing to go there, you’ll realize that you didn’t sacrifice anything at all. It will involve more risk, but if you’re willing to go there, you’ll realize that you didn’t risk anything at all” (The Circle Maker). Praying Through means digging down deep. Praying until there are no more words left to say. Crying until there are no more tears left to cry. Yelling until there is no more voice left to yell. Kneeling until there is no more strength left to kneel. Digging down deep until there is no more room to dig down; praying through it, until you get to it.
The last thing about praying through is praising through. 1 John 5:14,15 “14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that whatever we ask in accordance with His purpose in us, He will hear us. 15And since we have confidence that He hears us—no matter what we ask for—we know in faith that what we’ve asked from Him is as good as ours.”Have the faith that whatever you’ve asked for in His name, and according to His purpose, is already yours! “True faith doesn’t just celebrate after the miracle has already happened; true faith celebrates before the miracle happens, as if the miracle has already happened, because you know that God is going to deliver on His promises” (The Circle Maker).
God help me not to be complacent about where I’m at with you. Help me to always strive for more in my relationship with you, and the goals you want for my life. Give me the courage to do whatever it takes to move forward. Give me the endurance to pray through it until I get to it, to dig down deep and pray with every fibre of my soul. Help me to praise through in faith, knowing that whatever I ask for in your name you have already given to me. Amen.