Feelings are often glorious but sometimes tyrannical. When you don’t feel like the workout, resolve fades. When the friendship means investment in someone else’s tough season, ghosting becomes common. Sometimes none of this is intentional. It’s simply the “high” of fresh endorphins have either plateaued, drifted off, or been forgotten. We have all experienced the drift. We’ve all started a day with boundless energy only to hit the 3pm wall. At WSU I used start my first class at 7 am and by the 3 pm class it was challenging to stay awake. You started the road trip and after midnight you’re rolling down the windows for blasts of cold air to stay alert and awake for the drive! Recently driving back from Tacoma I got by with a late night phone call from a good friend, and before that my husband and kids. Praying in community helps us stick with it.
Have you ever heard the phrase pray it through? Sometimes we just need to put the running shoes on and head out the door. We chose resolve. We chose devotion. WE chose determination. Do not underestimate the power of choice.
You women know what I mean, when you hunt for the kill, haha I mean go shopping on a Saturday. Find the light, persist in prayer, like you hunt for bargains. Ever been on the hunt for that one ‘out of your price range‘ item? I wanted those pants. But full price just wouldn’t happen. Budgets are real. And then there they were on mark down months later. And the wait was worth it.
#determination Ice breaker idea: What’s an item you found discounted that stands out even today as a real deal.
In Acts 3 we see Peter and John living a determined prayer life. There are about 30+ different references to prayer in the book of Acts.
The prayerful waiting in Acts 1 leads to the Acts 2 outpouring. And in Acts 2 we understand they recommit to prayer in community resulting in an Acts 3 payoff.
Acts 3:1-10 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Astounding things happen when we continue to pray. Do you have an experience in answered prayer? How did you react?
The Psalms the original prayer hand book shows us the finish line of all prayer is praise. The last five Psalms are pure praise alone. In our micro groups we persistently do the Jer. 33:3 thing calling on God and HE, ‘answers us and shows us great and mighty things we don’t yet know.’ If you have been praying you will soon be praising!
Peter and John didn’t have the silver and the gold this man was asking for, and even when Peter had the man’s attention he expected something financial, and Peter had to clarify. Notice how committed they are to their routine and yet Peter wasn’t so self absorbed as to miss seeing the need of the man. The religious leaders when Jesus was crucified turned Jesus over to pilate it says out of self-interest. (Mark 15:10)
One of the ways to get after it is to stop focusing on the “ME” flip the script, turn it upside down and care for others. “WE” brings more satisfaction. WE connects you to their struggle but also to their healing. AND whoever said it was right, shared joy is double joy!
Sometimes getting what we need most starts with recognizing what we have. They didn’t focus on lacking gold and silver. Peter and John are aware of what they have, first hand knowledge in the more of God. They have experience in miracles. Jesus was consistently multiplying food, and healing the impossible. They have real experience in what the prophet Malachi says ‘those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.’ (Mal. 3:16) They had seen how Jesus knew people’s thoughts and were aware ‘his understanding no one can fathom.’ (Is. 40:28) His responses were amazing. Has the world ever seen anyone full of compassion like Jesus? Jesus knew the day of healing for this man totally dependent on the mercy of others was coming. He knew the plan HE had for them to share in the miracle together. They had experiential trust in his timing.
Peter and John knew, God is with them. Jesus words are astoundingly true, ‘I am with you always’. (Matt. 28:20) AND HE IS with us as well.
They had confidence in HIS rule, and total authority. They knew, ‘the reign of His kingdom would have no end’ (Matt. 1:33) It’s like Jesus is saying ‘can’t stop, won’t stop.’ And he won’t stop now.
They knew Jesus is more determined than any of them ever were. They were not reliant on their ability they simply had faith in His. And this reliance is the exact reason why it won’t be their glory. It’s HIS. The Lord’s prayer often concludes with “your is the power, and the glory, forever, amen.” The finish line is God’s glory. Let’s recommit to the lifestyle of prayer and community in the shared hope of glory.