Prayer For Perseverance In This Life
Why Keep Praying?
In the year 587 BC, the city of Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians after an 18 month siege. Once they controlled the city, the Babylonians deported most of the leading citizens to exile in Babylon and set up military control over the southern kingdom of Judah.
There were resistance fighters who carried on the war hoping to overthrow the new rulers and the foreign governor who had been left behind to assure compliance.
The Babylonian military official at this time was Gedaliah, and soon after the siege he and a party of his men were ambushed by Jewish guerrilla fighters and they were killed.
Of course, this was against God's will because through the prophet Jeremiah God had told the Jews to comply with their new rulers.
After the plot was discovered by Jewish civilian leaders, they became afraid of the retaliation by the Babylonians and so began planning an escape to Egypt. Before they escaped they went to seek counsel from the prophet Jeremiah.
In Jeremiah 42 we pick up their story, which will raise the question that I want to discuss with you in this Mini Book.
Then all the commanders of the forces, Johanan the son of Kareah, Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people both small and great approached and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Please let our petition come before you, and pray for us to the Lord your God, that is for all this remnant; because we are left but a few many, as your own eyes now see us, that the Lord your God may tell us the way in which we should walk and the thing that we should do.” Then Jeremiah the prophet said to them, “I have heard you. Behold, I am going to pray to the Lord your God in accordance with your words; and it will come about that the whole message which the Lord will answer you I will tell you. I will not keep back a word from you.” Then they said to Jeremiah, “May the Lord be a true and faithful witness against us, if we do not act in accordance with the whole message with which the Lord your God will send you to us. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, we will listen to the voice of the Lord our God to whom we are sending you, in order that it may go well with us when we listen to the voice of the Lord our God.” Now it came about at the end of ten days that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.
– Jeremiah 42:1-7 As for Jeremiah's answer, he said not to go, to remain in Judah and God would protect them. The Jews refused and many of them sought the protection of Egypt. Eventually, the Babylonians returned to defeat the Pharaoh and the rebel Jews in Egypt.
There is a good lesson here about being careful in obeying God's word and trusting in His strength – but the verse I want to highlight is verse 7 – Ten days later the Lord gave His reply to Jeremiah.
Isn't it amazing that even though Jeremiah was a good and faithful servant of God, even though he was an experienced prophet, even though God knew the answer – Jeremiah had to wait 10 full days for a word of prophecy! Seems to me that God could have just as well revealed the message to Jeremiah on day 1 as day 10 – yet He chose to make Jeremiah persevere in prayer.
We find ourselves in similar positions today, asking God over and over again for certain answers, certain things to happen, but He make us persevere in prayer. He encourages us to keep praying a long time before an answer comes.
I believe there are several good reasons why He does this…
1. Waiting is good discipline
When our prayers are not answered right away it means we have to wait and waiting upon the Lord is a good spiritual exercise. Note what Isaiah says are the benefits of waiting upon the Lord:
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and justice due me escapes the notice of my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
– Isaiah 40:27-31
The person in this verse thinks that God does not hear his prayer, is unaware of his problems. He is tired of waiting, he is growing impatient. Isaiah explains what the discipline of waiting upon the Lord will do for him: waiting helps an individual grow strong and overcome his enemies (whoever or whatever they are).
Isaiah reminds this tired and impatient person that God is not him: He does not get tired or impatient when things don't happen right away.
As Christians, we don't depend on exercise or yoga to create spiritual poise or a calm and trusting exterior – it's waiting upon the Lord that builds these things for us.
When our petitions are not immediately answered and we experience a period of prolonged prayer, let's remember that time spent waiting upon the Lord is never wasted.
2. We may not be ready to understand God's will yet
I used to have my own “formula” to successful and fast acting prayer:
- Believe God can do it (pray believing)
- Ask clearly and specifically
- Ask in Jesus' name
- Be ready to receive NO as an answer
This was a “safe” combination, if I could get all these little ducks in a row it would be buying something from a vending machine: you make the right selection, put in the right change, bingo you get your candy! Of course these things are correct, you must ask believing and put your needs before God coming before Him in Jesus' name; however, one element I did not consider in those days was if God thought I was ready or the time was ready yet.
Abraham and Sarah desired and prayed for a child most of their married life but their prayer was answered only when she was 90 years old! Both she and Abraham were not ready in matters of faith when they first began to ask.
The fact that she had a child at 90 years of age served God's purpose better than if she had had one at 19. She could have at 19, but the birth at 19 would not have created the glory that it did when she had a child at 90.Paul the Apostle desired in his prayers and strategy to go to Asia to preach the gospel. God prevented (blocked) it, limited it, thwarted his plans, and refused his prayers in this thing.
Paul didn't realize that by going west he would establish the church in the dominant culture of the future.
Because Christianity went west instead of east, it became the largest organized religion in history.
When we pray and say that we are ready to accept God's will, we must be ready that it be radically different than our own. It is important to persevere in prayer because if we do, God will not simply answer the prayer, He will reveal His will to us – this is much more important.
3. Perseverance in prayer reveals the quality of our faith
James says, “I will show you my faith by my works” in James 2:18. When we read this we usually think of good works as those things done to help others in a holy and dedicated lifestyle. But “prayer” is also a work of faith.
- To direct our words to Christ – this is faith.
- To believe that He hears, He answers – this is faith.
- To continue to do so over and over again, to wait patiently for an answer – this is showing that our faith is sincere.
This is a work of faith. That we pray to God in Jesus' name shows that we believe the right things in the right way. That we continue to do so, that we persevere in it is a way of showing that our belief is not only accurate but that it is strong, and real, and goes deeper than just our lips.
Sometimes God leaves us in prayer for a long time because the testing and shaping of our faith is more important than the answering of our prayer.
A good example of this is Paul's constant prayer to God to remove “a thorn in the flesh” that he was suffering from (II Corinthians 12:7). We never find out what the thorn was, and until that moment Paul says that God had not answered his prayer.
However, Paul's persistent prayer had helped him grow in faith to the point where he was ready to suffer with his thorn regardless of God's answer.
When we become bored repeating our prayers at meal times, or prayers during worship; when we become discouraged when our prayers are not answered the way we want, or not answered at all – we need to remember an important reason for persistent prayer.
It is more important that we are a faithful people than a people where prayers are always answered, or quickly answered. Persevering in prayer may not always produce a satisfying answer but it is always a sign of a sincere faith.
When Jesus returns it won't matter what we're praying about so long as He finds us persevering in it.
Practical Pointers in Persevering in Prayer
Prayer is every other exercise, whether physical or spiritual. The more you do it, the better you get at it. If you're going to persevere, here are a few pointers to help your prayer life:
1. Focus on God, not on what you want
The most precious benefit of constant prayer is fellowship with the Lord. If your focus is only on the thing you want, then you're missing the whole point. Jesus says that God knows what you want and need before you even ask for it (Matthew 6:8).
The purpose of prayer is not to continually describe and request what you want; the purpose of prayer is to draw you closer to God, to know Him and His son Jesus Christ.
Jesus says that if we seek His kingdom (His will in our lives) first, He will grant us everything we need.The great benefit of persevering in prayer is that we develop a relationship with God, not that we finally get what we want.
Remember that it's about:
2. Submission not repetition
Many think that the “thing” to be accomplished in persevering prayer is to repeat every day what it is that they want. Two times a day is better – morning, noon, and night is great. Jesus says, “…
they suppose that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7).
This passage is speaking of those who thought their prayers were effective because they repeated them over and over, or they were very flowery and elaborate.
The goal of prayer is surrender, not repetition until you get what you want. In Luke 11:5, Jesus tells the parable of the person who wakes up his friend at midnight to borrow bread. The repeated knocks on the door in the middle of the night were a sign that this man had surrendered all his reserve and pride and was willing to lower himself to disturb his friend because his need was great.
There's no magic number of repetitions where we get what we ask for after asking for it 1,000 times. The exercise of constant prayer should enable us to give up our lives and surrender our wills to God as we lay ourselves open before Him. It's as if we open the portals of our hearts, minds, wills, emotions, memories, and imagination – for Him to enter and fill.
John Powell, in his book “Happiness is an Inside Job,” says that God communes with us through all of these. Constant prayer sees us surrendering our lives bit by bit to God who will provide all the things we need – including the things we ask for, or the ability to live without the thing we ask for. Therefore, submission in prayer yields greater blessings than repetition in prayer.
3. Peaks and valleys
Be ready for mountain top experiences where the presence of the Lord is almost palpable, where His word is so rich and convicting, His will for your life so clear, that your time in prayer will leave you breathless. The only thing stopping you from continuing in the moment is your own weak flesh. These prayer times are separated by many hours of dry reading and times where you think you're only talking to yourself.
We should not be discouraged, even the Apostles who were physically with Jesus, spent many hours simply walking the dusty roads from town to town or rowing across the Sea of Galilee to their next stop.
The time of uninterrupted fellowship in a glorious setting will come when Jesus returns, for even we must persevere in prayer and await those times the Holy Spirit fills us with insight and holy encouragement in the Lord.
The title of the Mini Book is, “Why Keep Praying?” because I assume all of us are already doing this on a regular basis. If you are not praying or only praying once in awhile, you are limiting your spiritual growth and the blessings that come with constant faithful prayer.
There are a lot of things that come with hard work, talent, drive, and dedication — but these things will not produce spiritual balance, or understanding of God's will, or a strong faith — only constant prayer can give you these things.
If these things are missing in your life, perhaps it is time to renew your prayer life before God.
23 Short Prayers – Hope for Your Soul
Whether you have had a personal relationship with God for years or you are only beginning to discover who Jesus is, we all need guidance sometimes when it comes to prayers. It’s often hard to find the words to pray, that’s why we put together this collection of short prayers.
The following short prayers offer guiding words to use for praying over various topics including worry, anxiety, doubt, forgiveness, fear, and other areas of life where we need to ask for God’s help.
Please use these prayers and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you add some of your own words and personalize your petitions to God.
Prayer for Peace
Father God, my heart is filled with chaos and confusion. I feel as if I am drowning in my circumstances and my heart is filled with fear and confusion. I really need the strength and peace that only You can give. Right now, I choose to rest in You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen. ~ Mary Southerland.
Prayer for the Broken-Hearted
Lord, my heart is broken but You are near. My spirit is crushed, but You are my rescuer. Your Word is my hope. It revives me and comforts me in especially now. My soul faints, but you are the breath of life within me.
You are my help, the One who sustains me. I am weak but You are strong. You bless those who mourn, and I trust You to bless me and my family with all that we need. You will rescue me from this dark cloud of despair because You delight in me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Jennifer White
Prayer for Perseverance
Holy Lord, Thank You for grace. Please help me move beyond the hurdles that trip me up and give me the strength and wisdom to look up and see the hope I run toward in Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Gwen Smith
Prayer for Self Control
Father, today I ask forgiveness of all the negative and harmful words I have spoken about myself. I do not want to abuse myself in such a way again. Transform my thoughts and let me understand how marvelously you made me. Change my habits so I use my tongue to speak hope and favor upon my life. In Jesus' name, Amen. ~ Sarah Coleman
Prayer for Loving Jesus
Father, I have to thank You for looking beyond my faults and for loving me unconditionally. Forgive me when I fail to love others in the same way. Give me eyes to see the needs of the difficult people in my life, and show me how to meet those needs in a way that pleases You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Mary Southerland
Prayer for God’s Direction
Lord, help me not to lean on my own understanding but in everything acknowledge You so that You can direct my words, thoughts and actions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Sharon Glasgow
Prayer For Worry
Father, I am tempted to worry about so many things. Our world is a mess! Forgive me for focusing on anything or anyone but You. Thank You for the Bible that equips and empowers me to live each day. Right now, I declare that You are my only Hope. Please help me remember that You really are in control. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Mary Southerland
Prayer for God’s Strength
Lord, thank you for your greatness. Thank you that when I am weak, you are strong. Lord, the Devil is scheming and I know he desires to keep me from spending time with you. Don’t let him win! Give me a measure of your strength so that I might not give into discouragement, deception and doubt! Help me honor you in all my ways. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Debbie Przybylski
~ Debbie Przybylski
Prayer When Feeling Inadequate
Dear Lord, Thank You for fearfully and wonderfully creating each of us. Thank You for giving us worth in Your eyes. Help us live as the one You uniquely intended us to be. Help us abide instead of strive, living peacefully and joyfully as heirs to Your Kingdom and co-heirs with Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Julie Sunne
Prayer for Being Grateful
Father, I am so sorry for the way I complain about my circumstances. Please forgive me for my bad attitude when things don't go my way.
I want to see Your hand in every part of every day – good or bad.
Help me learn how to face every storm with confidence, knowing that You really are in control even though I cannot hear Your voice or see Your hand at work. In Jesus Name, Amen. ~ Mary Southerland
Prayer of God’s Provision
Dear Father God, Thank You for Your unfailing love for me, Your blessings, and goodness. Thank You for Your faithfulness to guide me and see me through times of uncertainty, for lifting me up, and setting me on high.
Thank You for Scripture that comforts and reminds me of Your promises, plan, and provision. Thank you for taking away my fears and worries, the what-ifs, and reminding me that my help comes from You. Help me be a good steward and to sow wisely.
In Christ’s Name, Amen. ~ Renee Davis
Prayer for Growing Faith
Dear Lord, help me – every single morning – to find faith in the midst of the chaos. Give me the desire and ability to see You, hear You, talk to You, and give thanks to You.
And as I do, I pray that I will draw nearer and nearer to You, and that my faith will multiply exponentially as I understand in new, deeper ways that You are everything I ever hoped You would be. And so much more.
Amen. ~ Kelly O’Dell Stanley
Prayer for Confidence
Lord, help me let go of my fear of failure. I know Satan wants to use my fears to hold me back from living boldly for You.
Forgive me for not living in faith, and help me from this moment on to live with bold confidence in You. Lord, help me not compare myself to others around me.
I pray instead that I can keep my eye on You and live a life that proclaims Your excellence. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen. ~ Rick Warren
Prayer for a Heavy Heart
Lord, I want to lay before you all that weighs heavy on my heart. Reveal even the sin I am not aware of, Lord. I lay these at your feet and pray your forgiveness on me. I believe you when you say that you wash us whiter than snow. Thank you Lord for your unending love for me! Help me start fresh right now to make choices that honor you. In Jesus' Name, Amen. ~ Rick Warren
Father, sometimes it does feel that you have left us in the battle. We know that you are with us, but so are our feelings of aloneness. The Enemy seems to be taking ground. Our crying out to you seems to go unanswered. We know you are at work, but help us trust you in the midst of our questions. In Jesus' Name, Amen. ~ Ron Moore
Short Prayer for Thankfulness
God, sometimes life gets me down and I find it hard to see things to be thankful for. Open my eyes to see the gifts you’ve given me in my life. I’m going to start by thanking you for loving me enough to come to earth and die so we can live together forever. Amen. ~ Wendy van Eyck
Prayer for Restored Relationships
Father God, open my eyes to see the ways I’m Cain.
What conflicts am I allowing to brew in my family? What anger is bubbling into murderous rage in my relationships? Thank You for the clarity to see how hatred kills relationships.
I choose instead the way of love. Love protects. Help me to protect those I love by loving them. Your way is always best, Father. I pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ James MacDonald
Which one of these short prayers spoke the most to you and how can we be praying for you? Comment below and let us know!
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Strength
Prayer for Protection
Good Night Prayers
A Birthday Prayer
Prayer for Forgiveness
Prayer for Guidance
Prayer for Peace
Prayer for Faith
Prayer for Love
Scriptures on Perseverance
Psalms 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Colossians 1:11-12 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
1 Thessalonians 1:3 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 6:11-15 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.
Perseverance Serving and Spreading the Word
Matthew 10:16-22 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.
When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved… “
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Ephesians 6:16-19 (KJV) In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,
2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Perseverance Through Testing and Trials
Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
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.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10 We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.Revelation 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelation 3:10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
Perseverance Keeping Your Eyes on the Prize
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
1 Timothy 6:11-12 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Famous Perseverance Quotes
Football is life, it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority – Vince Lombardi
To persevere in one’s duty and be silent, is the best answer to calumny.- George Washington
We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before, and it has changed for the better; so I trust it will again. If difficulties arise, we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times.- George WashingtonI am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do – Helen Keller
Genius is divine perseverance. Genius I cannot claim nor even extra brightness but perseverance all can have.- Woodrow Wilson
Bible Quotes About Perseverance
Matthew 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Romans 5:3-4 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Philippians 1:6And 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.
1 Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
James 5:11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
Revelation 2:2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
C.S. Lewis Quotes About Perseverance
God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.
We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.
Christian Perseverance Quotes
By perseverance the snail reached the ark.- Charles Spurgeon
If you’re running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. If you’re trying to master a new language, try it one word at a time. There are 365 days in the average year. Divide any project by 365 and you’ll find that no job is all that intimidating.- Charles Swindoll
Becoming Christ is a long, slow process of growth.- Rick Warren
Many of us harbor hidden low self-esteem. We deem everything and everyone more important that ourselves and think that meeting their needs is more important than eating our own. But if you run gas, everyone riding with you will be left stranded.- T.D. Jakes
Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.- William Wilberforce
Battles are fought in our minds every day. When we begin to feel the battle is just too difficult and want to give up, we must choose to resist negative thoughts and be determined to rise above our problems.
We must decide that we’re not going to quit. When we’re bombarded with doubts and fears, we must take a stand and say: “I’ll never give up! God’s on my side.
He loves me, and He’s helping me! I’m going to make it!- Joyce Meyer
We are able to persevere only because God works within us, within our free wills. And because God is at work in us, we are certain to persevere. The decrees of God concerning election are immutable. They do not change, because He does not change. All whom He justifies He glorifies. None of the elect has ever been lost.-R.C Sproul
5. The Perseverance of Christ (Hebrews 5:7-8; 12:1-3)
Hebrews 5:7-8 During his earthly life Christ offered both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion. 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. NET
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,1 we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, 12:2 keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 12:3 Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up.
We have already looked at an overview of Hebrews, but we will spend 2 more weeks studying passages in Hebrews because they are so full of Christ! This is the 4th focus week on Christ’s humanity. We have seen He humbled Himself, He faced temptation, He faced suffering, and this week—He persevered!
Having moved to the northern part of China last Fall, we were delighted to discover that mountains to the north provided fun and cheap winter skiing options. At age 4, Kathryn was determined to conquer the mountain on her first attempt.
Her confidence quickly faltered after feeling the awkward boots and slick skis that would send her plummeting down the slope. Yet, we had already paid for her ski lesson, and we were not going to give up that easy. Though her instructor didn’t speak any English, he was kind and patient with her.
The beginning was a bit sketchy, as my ever emotionally-aware Kathryn cried out, “Oh, mommy, my heart feels quitting.” The language didn’t end up proving a great barrier, as Kathryn discovered a certain ‘International Ski Language’.It turns out that a sheer look of terror means “Oh no, I’m going to crash!” in every language! By the end of the lesson, she had braved a downhill slope on her own and bore the satisfaction of accomplishment. “I did it, mommy! I’m glad you didn’t let me quit.”
During that hour by her side of faltering and falling, I tried my best to encourage her to persevere and not give up. Yet most of life’s challenges do not last an hour on the ski slopes, but rather weeks, months and long years. Can Christ’s struggles to persevere provide encouragement for our own?
Suggested Study Outline:
Day 1: Read Hebrews 4:14-5:10 and 11-12:13 to gather the context for our two texts
Day 2: Read Hebrews 5:1-10, considering why Christ is a more qualified priest than Aaron
Day 3: Read of Jesus’ struggle in the garden (Luke 22:39-46,) referred to in 5:7-8.
Day 4: Read Hebrews 11 of the saints referred to in Hebrews 12:1
Day 5: Answer the “discussion” questions
Day 6: Answer the “application” questions
Day 7: Praise Him for persevering on our behalf and ask His help to persevere.
Context for Hebrews 5:7-8
This passage comes in the larger section where the author outlines why Christ’s priesthood is superior to Aaron’s. Hebrews 5:1-10 shows His superiority over Aaron because He meets all of God’s priestly qualifications more completely. These two verses show how Christ fulfills the priestly role of identifying with the people.
Context for Hebrews 12:1-4
Chapter 12 follows the great ‘Hall of Faith’ listing in Chapter 11. Chapter 12 begins with the exhortation towards walking faithfully as all those mentioned in Chapter 11 have done. Yet, above and beyond the faithful saints, Christ is our ultimate example and mentor. The remainder of this section in 12:5-11 relates God’s use of painful discipline in our lives to bring us to maturity.
Other passages detailing the perseverance of Christ/ours in Christ:
Philippians 3:7-14; Romans 5:1-5; 15:1-6; 2 Timothy 3:10-15; Revelation 1:9
Discussion Questions: Grasping the Meaning
1. In Hebrews 5:7-8, what possible event(s) in Jesus’ life are referred to here? (Read Luke 22:39-46; Matthew 26:36-46; Matthew 27:45-50; Luke 23:34; John 20:301.)
2. In Hebrews 5:7, what was Christ asking for? In what way was He heard by the one able to save Him from death? (In light of the fact that He was not saved from death!) Why was He heard?
3. In Hebrews 5:8, what does it mean that Christ “learned obedience”? How was suffering a teacher to Him?
4. Christ is the culminating example on the heels of Chapter 11’s ‘Hall of Faith.’ Quickly read through Hebrews 11. Particularly take note of verses 11:9-10; 13-16; 26, 35. What motivated these saints to persevere?
5. In Hebrews 12:2, why are we supposed to fix our eyes on Jesus? What pattern does He give us to follow2?
6. Why do you think the author calls Christ both the “pioneer” and “perfecter3“ of our faith in this passage?
7. In Hebrews 12:2, what do these phrases mean?
- “…the joy set out for him…” (What was the joy?)
- “…disregarding its shame…4“
- “…has taken his seat at the right hand of God…”
8. How does considering Christ’s endurance in opposition cause us not to lose heart?
9. Pull them together: What is the combined picture painted by these two passages (5:7-8; 12:1-4) about how Christ persevered?
Application Questions: Grasping the Heart
- Meditate on the dialogue between the Father and the Son in the garden.
What does it mean (not just for our entrance into the faith, but also for our growth in holiness) that the Father said “no” to His request to be delivered from the cross? Besides the fact that we wouldn’t be saved, what would it mean for us if the Father had said “yes”?
- The Son was not spared from death, but what kind of help was He given in the garden? What kind of help is (and is not) promised to us? What other passages would you turn to show howHe helps us?
- Meditate on the examples of the saints mentioned in Hebrews 11, culminating in Christ in 12:2. Picture the saints of history cheering you on as you carry the baton alongside this generation of saints. How does this metaphor encourage you? Which examples in this passage (11:1-12:4,) or among Christians in history, do you find most compelling?
- In which ways are you being asked to persevere this week? (this month? this year?) How does the example of Christ spur you on as you ask for His help?
- For you, what are the “the sins that cling so closely” which keep you from running with endurance? How will you lay them aside? How can you draw on the strengths of the Body around you to encourage and embolden you?
- Sometimes we are not slowed down by sins per say, but we “grow weary in (our) souls and give up.” What are the discouragements that tend to slow you down and keep you from running strong? How are you spurred on by looking at Jesus?
- How might an understanding of these two passages inform your response towards a ‘health and wealth’ perspective? (A belief that the physical and spiritual blessings & promises secured in Christ should be fully manifested now5.)
- Share with one another what truths have been most meaningful to you. Spend a moment writing down the insights you have heard from others during this study that have enriched your own perspective.
- What about this aspect of Christ’s humanity has made Him appear more glorious or beautiful to you this week? Write a prayer praising Christ for persevering on our behalf and asking His help to endure the race set before you. Include your application for this lesson in your prayer.
Group prayer requests
We are drawn to consider your life—not just in your final moments on earth, but your entire journey on the earth. You show us vulnerability, strength and triumph.
We praise you for choosing to obey, especially when your Father did not deliver you from death. Because of your choice, we know you can truly identify with our struggles to persevere.
Help us to fight with endurance against all that keeps us from following you. Help us to set your joy before us as we press on!