What Does It Mean to Pray Without Ceasing?
I’m a self-reliant type: a problem solver whose natural inclination is to fix her own circumstances. Although I’m fully aware of Proverbs 3: 5 – 6 and it’s urging to trust in the Lord, I habitually gravitate to my own understanding: deeming it better to lean and depend on finite knowledge and limited wisdom. It’s my futile attempt at maintaining a semblance of control.
Life, however, is a very good reminder that I control nothing. Although I create endless to do list, record dates in my Google calendar, and spend large amounts of time tossing around solutions in my head, I am no match for the curve balls of life. I think this is by design.
If we could be the masters of our own fate and that of others we would have no need for God. He would become common and unnecessary as we elevated ourselves to His position of authority in our lives. This was noted by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12: 7 – 10 (NIV) as he reflected on a circumstance that he was powerless to change.
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The idea of strength in weakness is in direct opposition to the philosophies of our day. We live in a “I got this world” filled with empowerment messages, pull-yourself-up-by-your-own bootstrap-stories, and if-you-can-believe-it-you-can-achieve-it-mantras. Whereas it is possible to achieve a perceived level of greatness by our own efforts, God desires to display His abundance in our lack, perfection in our imperfections and His greatness in our weakness. This is why 1 Corinthians 1:27 (NIV) says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
And this cannot be achieved by our own strength but requires a heart posture of humble submission to God and a reliance on His unmatched power. He works best in impossible scenarios. This is evident in Exodus chapter 14 when He delivered the children of Israel from the hand of the Egyptians.