Have you ever felt like you’re stuck in the middle of something? Maybe it was a stressful financial situation that didn’t seem to have a clear resolution. Maybe it was a challenging relationship where things felt tense and unresolved. Maybe it was a career change or a daunting health diagnosis or a transition in your family life.
We all go through times in life where we’ve left comfort zones and safety behind but we haven’t reached a place of clarity or contentment again yet. Those middle places can be intimidating, exhausting, and overwhelming. We know what it’s like to feel like we are on the mountaintops of life, and when we feel ourselves starting to descend into the valleys where things aren’t as clear or comfortable, we often start to worry or fear.
Kristen Strong says it this way in her article “Courage for the Middle Places”on (in)courage: “And in this middle place of working through something—in the space between moving courageously and waiting for something to change—you can lose your gumption.”
I’ve lost my gumption many times. I’ve even lost my gumption recently, as in this very week.
“You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because we do not ask God for them?
Jesus also says we do not have because we ask with such little faith(Matthew 17:19–20). How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because our expectation is so small that prayer will result in anything?
Jesus also says we do not have, because we do not ask long enough(Luke 11:5–13). All over the Bible we see, not in great detail but in sufficient detail, that we are involved in a great cosmic battle and that the prayers of the saints are crucial to the advancement of the kingdom of God (seeDaniel 10:12–14 and Ephesians 6:18). We don’t need to know how it all works; we just need to know it does. The testimony of Scripture and church history is that great, Spirit-empowered, Great Commission-fulfilling works of God are preceded, carried, and prolonged by the fervent, persistent, prevailing prayers of the saints. When prayer dissipates, spiritual power dissipates.
How much enjoyment of God’s presence and experience of his power for mission are we missing out on because we simply don’t ask long enough?