Don’t Stay Throwed

Last week we looked at the parable of the persistent (and somewhat annoying!) friend, who shared his problem, of having no food for an unexpected traveler, with one of his buddies. Jesus used this parable, and its application, to teach the disciples (and us) how to pray boldly and persistently.
In the story, the “put upon” friend did indeed answer the late night request of his buddy; but not because of their previous relationship. No, it was the needy person’s bold persistence that made the difference.
The true takeaway is not to go and pester folks into meeting our legitimate needs, but to understand that the God who loves us, and created us to be in relationship with Him, is fully willing and able to meet our needs and reward our persistence in prayer.
I love the story in Luke 11:5-13 because of the focus on bold prayer, but also because of the picture of God as a loving Father who delights in meeting His children’s needs – for their own good. God will not give His children bad things when we ask for good (thank goodness!).
But I was really convicted in my study this week about how persistent I am when it comes to praying bold prayers. And so I have been asking myself, for about a week now, how can I develop the attribute of persistence?
I remember hearing a story about some friends of President Andrew Jackson, who had known him from his youth. The tale is told that Jackson’s boyhood companions just couldn’t understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States, because they knew of other men who had greater talents but who didn’t achieve like Jackson.
One of Jackson’s friends said, “Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match.” And then they marveled, “But look where Andy is now.”
Another friend responded, “But, how did there happen to be a fourth time? Don’t they usually say three times and you’re out?”
“Sure, that’s how it’s supposed to work, but it was never that way with Andy. He would never admit he was beat — he would never stay ‘throwed.’ Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner.”
So, in light of Andrew Jackson’s example, I am willing to change the nature of my question. I will start asking myself, “Am I willing to stay “throwed”? When I don’t see the immediate answer to my prayer (especially prayers for the salvation of lost friends or family members), will I become defeated…or will I persevere in my prayers and, perhaps, pray even more boldly?
Learning from Andrew Jackson’s tenacity, his biographer concluded the story by recounting…”The thing that counts is not how many times you are ‘throwed,’ but whether you are willing to stay ‘throwed’.” We may face setbacks, but we must take courage and go forward in faith.
That, of course, is akin to the promise that Jesus provides in the parable of the persistent friend; when God’s children come to and share their true needs, He will answer by giving of Himself – through the person of the Holy Spirit! Then, through the Holy Spirit’s power we can recognize how God is answering our prayers in the way that is very best for us…and of course, then there will be no reason to stay “throwed”!

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