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Faltering Near the Finish Line: The Need for Prayer

What causes people not to finish well? The question lodged in my mind following an illustration used by my pastor in a recent sermon. Noah, served God faithfully, followed God’s instructions to the letter (or maybe to the cubit), saved his family, then ended in a drunken stupor (Genesis 9:20-21). Jacob dreamed of God’s promise and vowed a powerful vow to God (Genesis 28:10-22) yet later worshiped false idols in his home (Genesis 35:1-4).  God described David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22), yet David had an adulterous affair with Bathsheba and arranged the murder of her husband, Uriah (2 Samuel 11:1-4). Sarah served God faithfully, but in her advanced years, when told by God that she would bear a child, she laughed at God in faithless doubt (Genesis 18:12).  Gideon lived up to his name which meant “mighty warrior” and was listed in the great hall of fame of the faithful in Hebrews 11:32 yet he made an object of worship out of the gold won in battle (Judges 8:27) and bore seventy sons from his multiple wives and concubine (Judges 8:30-31).  Even the Apostle Paul had a fear that “when I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Nor is this just a biblical issue. There are ample examples of this late-life descent in modern day spirituality. Is the cause physiological, psychological, emotional, mental, spiritual, or all of the above? I’m not sure, but it has become my daily prayer to finish more like Paul who wrote, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). 

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