July 25

Today's Bible Readings
     Judges 8
     Acts 12
     Jeremiah 21
     Mark 7
''Then He said to her, 'for this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.' And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed." (Mark 7:29-30)
            Have there been those times when you believed yourself to be faithful in prayer, and yet the answer did not come? Did you feel that the Heavens were made of brass and God was not hearing? You prayed with the faith of a grain of mustard seed, and yet the mountain was not removed.
            How long have you prayed for that loved one to come to the Lord? How long have you suffered with that infirmity that is not removed? The big question is, ''how long are you willing to persevere in prayer? Are you willing to obey and ''pray without ceasing'' even when there seems to be no answer?
            The beautiful story in Mark 7:24-30 is an incredible occasion of perseverance. This Greek woman had a demon­ possessed daughter that she had left back home. She fell at the feet of Jesus and asked Him to heal her daughter. Then Jesus said a very strange thing to her, and it seemed very harsh. The Gentiles were called ''dogs'' and Jesus said, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." (vs 27). This is a reference to His ministry being first for the Jews, and this seemed to leave this woman out.
            Then came a remarkable answer. She refused to be put down, offended, insulted, or turned away, but said to Jesus, ''...Lord, even little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs." Jesus was so moved at her perseverance that He granted her request and gave the healing.
            God's people must learn to persevere in intercession. The answer does not always come quickly or easily. It often takes time for God to answer prayer, and we must persevere. As believers today, we live in times so difficult, and face challengers so overwhelming, that we must learn that prayer is, indeed, the place of spiritual warfare and we must become disciplined in our habits of persevering in prayer.
            Ours is the hour for men and women of faith. In the Old Testament, the three Hebrew children had a defiant faith. They cried out, ''our God is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace." Their faith believed when they could not see, and God did deliver them. As this Gentile woman refused to give up, we must also persevere in prayer.
We rejoice with the believers in Thailand. This Asian nation saw rising interest and wonderful church growth during the 1900's. The growth many seem insignificant to us, but in ten years they grew from less than 1% to 1.6% of the population.
The word Thailand means ''land of the free'' because it has retained its freedom while others around them have been unable to do so. They believe that a special guardian angel protected the land and a golden image of this spirit has been made for worship. This land is in bondage to a complex web of culture, occult practices, and Buddhism. The ''sex industry'' is at the heart of the problem. There must be a spiritual breakthrough. Pray for such an awakening, that the Lord Jesus may bring about true freedom in Thailand.
''To strive in prayer means to struggle through both hindrances which will restrain or prevent us entirely from continuing in persevering prayer. It means to be so watchful in all times that we could notice when we become slothful in prayer. In regard to the Spirit of prayer, to have this remedied and then struggle through the decisive factor is the Spirit of prayer."
Dr. OHallpsby