by Angie Thomas

The Lord brought this verse to mind this evening as I began to write the weekly email and it was exactly the encouragement my heart needed: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:4). Isn’t that such good news, friends?  He started the good work and He will complete it.  I needed the encouragement as I felt like I was stumbling and struggling through the first “official” week of our prayer study.

I have been thinking about Laurie’s bike analog a lot.  When we were teaching my middle son to ride his bike, he was petrified of falling.  He would peddle a few times and be doing awesome, but the minute he started to think he was going to fall or wipe out he would just jump off the bike…bail.  This went on for days.  He just did not trust or believe that he could ride without the training wheels.

How about you? Do you feel like bailing on this whole prayer study already because it is challenging and awkward and maybe even down right painful?  It can be painful to be asked to do something that we aren’t immediately “good” at or that comes easily.  It is painful to be asked to pray for an hour or so, six days a week.  It might mean you have to give up your favorite show or time on social media in the evening. It can be painful to drag your half-awake body out of bed in the morning and not just go snuggle with your coffee and favorite throw blanket, but actually lay yourself out on the floor.

May the Lord give us faith to believe that the temporary discomfort we may be experiencing is achieving for us an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs what we are experiencing now. He is able to give us the grace needed to not only participate in this study, but thrive and grow immensely in intimacy with our Father.

My prayer is that we would not bail or become discouraged, but would remain and cry out to Him in our discomfort, pain, and perhaps even our apathy, and ask for His grace to persevere, to press on.  I love Paul’s promise in this verse: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:3-5).

God’s love being poured into our hearts!  May that be the reality we all experience every morning at the foot of His cross and the entrance to His Throne Room! May we not just “learn to ride our prayer bikes,” but by the end be popping wheelies and riding with no hands.

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