What does it mean to be persistent? In the book of Luke, chapter 18, Jesus tells a parable of a woman who sought justice before a judge who “did not fear God”. The judge did not want to waste time with her. She kept coming back.
Over and over and over she brought her case before him. Finally,the judge came to the realization that he would spend less time dealing with her if he just heard her case and gave her justice.
The purpose of the parable was to encourage His followers to pray and not lose heart. In other words, persist in prayer.
Last January, I attended a prayer service at the Cordele Community Center. The letter that I received called for the community to come together.
I did not know what to expect as I went. I wrote about the positive and powerful time together. The event organizers said that they wanted to do it again.
Last Saturday morning at 10:00 am, a small group gathered again at the Cordele Community Club House. Under cloudy skies with impending rain, the group shared Scripture, words of encouragement, and they prayed.
As it was last January, the prayers were not focused on a race of people or a part of town. The prayers were for the community. The prayers were for the schools, teachers, law enforcement officers, social workers, pastors, Sunday school teachers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children.
Some came who no longer live in Cordele but made it clear that Cordele was home. Joyce Mitchell recalled how in her younger days if she walked down the street and there was someone sitting out on the porch as she passed, she had better greet that person. If not, when she got home, her mother would have already received a call. It was a matter of common courtesy and respect to greet each other.
The group that gathered that day was a little smaller than the first gathering six months earlier. Perhaps it was the impending rain. Perhaps it was the beginning of summer.
What struck me was that there was no grumbling, fault-finding, or finger-pointing. There was just a time of positive, uplifting, prayer for the community.
One participant, Alisha Appling, performed a praise dance to a song asking God to fill this place. Praise dance is not part of a normal worship service for me.
As I watched her, it was evident by the smile on her face as she looked to the heavens that she was pouring out her creativity before God. I thought of King David writing in Psalm 103:1, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”
Joyce Mitchell, Lavater Hall-Bass, and Shannon Penny Nipper organized and promoted the event. They did not let anything stop them. They will be doing it again. They are not weary in well-doing. They are persisting and it will pay off.
When you hear about the next one, come and join. You will be glad that you invested the time and our community will be better off because you joined others who are persisting in prayer.
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