Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Persevere

Henry Ware has had a good rest on these pages (see all posts: Ware Jr.) and it is well that it should be so. His health was never that strong and he needed a good rest now and again. And yet he persevered. We left him speaking of the "means of religious improvement," and today I take up his section on prayer urging perseverance.

" In the next place, do not allow yourself to grow weary. Persevere; however ill satisfied, however discouraged, persevere. Open the New Testament, and you will see how this is insisted upon, again and again, and by various illustrations. ' That men should always pray, and never faint,' was the great moral of more than one of our Lord's parables; and to ' pray without ceasing' was the corresponding direction of his Apostles. Situated as we are in this world, there is danger that, perceiving little immediate fruit from our devotions, we should relax our diligence in them; first doubting their value, then losing our interest in them, and then ceasing to perform them. But we should recollect, that, in this case, as in all the most important and admirable provisions of Divine Wisdom, it is the order of Heaven to give, not to a single exertion, nor to a few acts, nor even to some continuance of effort, but only to a long, unremitted, persevering effort. We read this lesson every where. Look at that glorious operation of God, by which the sun cherishes and matures the fruits of the earth for the sustenance of its creatures. It is not accomplished by one act, nor by several acts, nor yet by sudden, violent exertions of power. He sends out his beams steadily, day by day, month after month; yet the fruit is still green, the harvest immature; and if, weary with the work, he should abandon it, famine might devastate the globe, when but six days' longer perseverance would see it successful. The whole toil of the season might thus be lost, when a trifling addition only was necessary to render it all-effective. In how many other cases is the same truth illustrated ! Will you, then, abandon your prayers, because you do not witness the effect from them which you desire ? Will you be discouraged, when, by a little longer continuance, you may receive the full blessing at once ? Shall the husbandman ' wait patiently,' and will you, looking for an immortal harvest, lose it for want of patience ? No. This is the eternal, immutable rule in regard to all great acquisitions. Piety and virtue, character and immortality, depend upon a long succession of actions, neither of them, taken singly, of essential moment, yet all, in the aggregate, essential to effect the great end in view. Apply this consideration to your prayers, and resolutely persevere.
Thus it is the humble prayer of confident faith, fervent and persevering, from which you are to hope benefit and acceptance."

Very little in our current lives encourage perseverance. Our throw-away culture of instant gratification makes the idea of the long haul almost quaint. And yet...while waiting for dramatic changes and instant remedies, it is, and always will be, the "humble, persevering prayer" that will wrought the change we hope for. Blessings

2 comments:

David G. Markham said...

Hi BU:

Ah the synchronicity of the universe never ceases to amaze me, because if there ever was anything I needed to read today and be reminded of it is your post. It is a great blessing to me, because my energy was beginning to flag and my faith was eroding and to be encouraged at such a time with your post describing J. Ware's gentle encouragement about the importance of perserverance is very validating and affirming. It is just what I need.

All the best. I have been blessed by you and your work on your blog,

David Markham

boston unitarian said...

Hi David,
Its good to hear from you and I am very glad that Brother Ware was of benefit. Its a joy to be helpful and I appreciate your writing. Many blessings, BU