Persist in Prayer

March 14, 2024

My bachelor's degree is in Music. My alma mater only offered two types of Music degrees: piano or vocal emphasis. Because God did not gift me with a voice others love to hear, I went the piano route.

However, I was only slightly better at piano than I was at singing. If I hadn't felt that God clearly called me to be a worship leader, I would have probably worked toward a different degree. (Don't believe I wasn't all that good at tickling the ivories? Then explain why my extremely-introverted piano professor sent my academic adviser to try to talk me out of getting a degree in music...)

I share this to say the only reason I was able to graduate with a Bachelor's in Music was because of persistence. The music theory stuff was fine; it was the actual playing that was the problem. Case in point: a piano emphasis student normally received the music for their Senior Recital roughly 6-7 months before performing it before an audience. I, however, was assigned my four Senior Recital pieces in the fall semester of my JUNIOR year!

And I needed every minute of those eighteen months of practice.

And yet, I was able to perform my Senior Recital — to the shock of my piano professor! — which allowed me to graduate a month later. By sticking with it, I was able to complete my degree and not be known as a piano drop-out.

Persistance in Prayer

I share this story to illustrate the type of conversational life to which God calls you. For the next part of our One Thought from Romans 12 series, we hear God in the final phrase of verse 12 say...

"Be constant in prayer." (Romans 12:12c)

This phrase reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5:17: "Pray without ceasing." But if I'm honest, that sounds exhausting! It sounds like I can't sleep, eat, watch TV, or talk with a friend, because that would interrupt my praying.

Persist In Prayer • Riverwood Church

However, the Greek word the ESV translates as "be constant" in Romans 12:12 has overtones of adherence, perseverance, steadfastness, devotion, and patience. This means if you are a Jesus-follower, you aren't being called to forsake life on earth to spend 24 hours in constant supplication. Rather, you are being invited to remain in a conversation that can be picked up at any time.

This invitation to stick with prayer is extended to you even if your prayer life is like my piano skills. Even if you don't feel like you are very good at praying, Romans 12:12 reminds you to stick with it. So be patient with yourself, knowing that God simply wants you to approach His throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), where He will hear you and respond as He knows best.

As we close, let me point out that this invitation to remain devoted to prayer has a wonderful benefit: it will help you live out the prior phrase: "Be patient in tribulation." So stick with it! Keep praying. And enjoy growing closer to Christ. As the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church in Philippi...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)
Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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