Persevere in Prayer

“Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.” (Romans 12:12b NLT)

While reading Scott Walker’s book, Glimpses of God (page 48) I read these words: “When I was a boy, I heard my father preach about a perilous moment in the life of the evangelist, Dwight L Moody. Moody had been in Europe and was sailing across the Atlantic to New York City. In the midst of the voyage, a boiler exploded and the wooden shop caught fire. The passengers formed a bucket brigade in a desperate attempt to extinguish the blaze.

At the very height of the crisis when it seemed that the fire could not be contained, Moody was passing buckets when he felt one of his young ‘preacher boy’ associates tap him on the shoulder. With panic in his eyes the young man gasped, ‘Mr. Moody, let’s go to the other end of the ship and pray. Only prayers’s gonna save us now.’

Moody spit and roared, ‘Boy, you can pray and pass the buckets. Get with it!’”

Photo by SHVETS production on

One thing the Lord is teaching me is how critical it is to stay calm in difficult situations. My wife can tell you, I’m not there yet, but what I’m discovering is, by God’s grace, prayer calms our spirit and enables us to trust God as we persevere in prayer. What does that mean?

It essentially means, pray while you’re passing the “water buckets.” It may seem more pious to ignore the crisis and devote your whole time to prayer, and, honestly, sometimes that’s the right course of action. But there are times when you don’t have a choice. It’s not an “either or,” but more a “both and” circumstance.

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression: “Prayer is the work. Then God works.” When we think of prayer as an ongoing conversation with God, it’s easier to understand why and how “prayer is the work.” Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” Couple that with what he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Never stop praying.” The word Paul uses there that’s translated “never stop,” literally means to pray without intermission, incessantly.

Another way to think of it would be to pray without distraction. Panic, worry, turmoil are all distractions that by God’s grace and His Spirit’s help, we can learn to redirect and keep our focus on prayer, even while doing seemingly insignificant things. How is that even possible?

Some of the most fervent prayers I’ve ever lifted to heaven were while under a car. I’ve learned never to begin anything without first seeking the Lord’s help. Then, while the task is in process, I’m constantly seeking the Lord’s direction.

A friend and I had repaired a transmission in an old car I had and were trying to lift it back in place, when we just started laughing. We were tired and the transmission seemed like it weighed a thousand pounds, but there we were, holding that transmission on our chests, laughing so hard we were crying.

What does that have to do with prayer? Everything. That was a “God-moment” the Lord arranged for two friends to share, as it turned out, for the last time. Doug deployed shortly thereafter and was killed in action.

Perhaps this Christmas hasn’t been a happy one for you. Take your feelings, your heartache, grief, anxiety, whatever you’re struggling with, to the Lord. Talk with Him in every moment, whatever else you may be doing. He hears you. He loves you. He’s working in and through every detail of your life to bring you good. Trust Him. He is with you and for you.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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