Continue In Prayer—With Thanksgiving!March 26, 2015
As I write to you this month, Denise and I are preparing to return home to Moscow from the United States — and what a fruitful time it has been as we’ve traveled and ministered, visited with many of our partners in our various meetings, reacquainted ourselves with old friends, and spent precious time with family members in this part of the world whom we dearly miss when we’re away.
Also during this trip to the U.S., Denise and I have conducted several interviews for television, radio, and social media. In most of those sessions, I talked about my new book No Room for Compromise, A Light in Darkness, Volume Two and how Jesus’ prophetic message to the church at Pergamum from the book of Revelation is so PERTINENT to the Church today, in this hour.
Denise also recently wrote a book entitled, Who Stole Cinderella? The Art of ‘Happily Ever After‘, and women of all ages are interested in this book! I personally have read it word for word FOUR TIMES, and I can truthfully tell you that reading Who Stole Cinderella? will be a very worthwhile, life-changing experience for anyone! It was an honor for me to write the foreword for this book. In it, I said that Denise’s testimony and her transparency in sharing personal details of her life were almost disarming. And I was right there sharing life with her through it all!
Thank you for letting me talk to you about our trip to the U.S. Now I want to get into the teaching part of this letter and offer you some encouragement as well. But first, I must seriously ask you: Have you ever been through a time when you were tempted to give up on something you were praying about because you hadn’t received the answer you were seeking? Be honest!
We’ve all been through those times when we prayed, believed, and waited — yet the answer seemed like it was never going to come. In such moments, what should we do? Should we throw up our hands in exasperation and walk away from the answer we’re praying for as though it’s never going to manifest? How long should we hang in there and keep believing for that answer to come to pass?
Believers everywhere encounter this type of situation on occasion. They pray, fully believing, yet the answer seems slow in coming. This occurrence is so common that Denise and I receive thousands of letters from television viewers in our part of the world who frequently ask:
- How long should I continue believing God for the answer to my prayer to come to pass?
- Is there anything special I should be doing while I’m waiting for God to answer my prayer?
- What attitude should I maintain while I continue to wait for my answer?
These are good questions to ask. So what should you do if you’ve prayed in faith but haven’t seen the manifestation of your answer as quickly as you wanted to see it?
In Colossians 4:2, the apostle Paul gives very solid advice to you and me when we find ourselves in this kind of circumstance. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, He says, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.”
In this verse, Paul explicitly tells us three things:
- How long we should keep praying. (He said, “Continue….”)
- What kind of expectation we must have when we pray. (Paul said we’re to “watch.”)
- What kind of attitude we must maintain while we wait for the answer to come. (We’re to continue in prayer, watching with thanksgiving.)
Paul starts out in Colossians 4:2 by saying, “Continue in prayer…,” so let’s begin this month by looking at the word “continue.”
The word “continue” comes from the Greek word proskartereo, which is a compound of the words pros and kartereo. The word pros means to or toward, and the word kartereo comes from the word karteros, which is the Greek word meaning to be strong; to be stout; to bear up; to have fortitude; or to be steadfast. It gives the idea of something that is strong, robust, tough, solid, or heavy-duty!
But when kartereo is compounded with the word pros, as in Colossians 4:2, the new word depicts a strong, solid, never-give-up type of leaning toward an object. It pictures someone who so fiercely wants something that he is relentlessly leaning forward toward that object — pressing toward it, devoted to the goal of obtaining it, and busily engaged in activities that will bring the object of his desire to him.
The use of this word proskartereo emphatically means that the apostle Paul is urging us:
- To stay forward-directed and focused in prayer.
- To keep pressing into the Spirit.
- To resolutely refuse to give up until we have obtained that for which we are praying.
The use of proskartereo assuredly tells us that there will be times when answers do not come quickly! Hence, we can assume that some answers will come only if we are tenaciously determined to continue in prayer until we receive the answers we seek. God requires us to stay spiritually strong — pushing forward and continually engaging in robust prayer until we see the manifestation of our answers. I don’t know about you — but that really encourages me!
Without a doubt, Paul affirms that we must “continue in prayer” during those times when we don’t get our answers as quickly as we had hoped. Next month, we’re going to look at that word “prayer,” and I think you’ll be surprised at its meaning. God desires intimate, face-to-face contact with you — you will not want to miss next month’s teaching!
A day never passes that I don’t think about and pray for all the friends and partners who stand with us as we seek to fulfill this huge assignment God has given us. I wish I knew how to express more fully how grateful we are that you decided to sign up for my monthly letters and connect a little more closely with us.
Until next month, how can Denise and I and our team be praying for you? We pray for our partners fervently and diligently every day, but it thrills our hearts to hear from you about the specific things that are on your heart. And we love to hear reports of your answers to prayer as well. We are so thankful to be partnering with you!
We love you and thank God for you!
Rick and Denise Renner
along with Paul, Philip, and Joel and their families