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(Adapted from HOPE, The Anchor of The Soul)

The Anchor of Perspective

Understanding that Jesus really rose from the dead has transformed the lives of people who have followed Him down through the ages. They could minister in the midst of plagues at the risk of their lives. They gladly died to help their neighbors, and loved ones, and people they didn’t even know. They were willing to stand for the Bible and the truth of the gospel even in the face of martyrdom.

We see this in the death of Stephen. He could even pray for the men stoning him, “Don’t hold this sin against them.” And he could pray, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit,” because he knew the Lord was there to receive him. And this was not a unique testimony. Others have said similar things at death. He cried while he was dying, “Look, I see the throne in heaven and the son of man standing at the right hand of God.” I cannot help but wonder what his attackers might have seen if they had looked. Stephen was certainly convinced they would see Jesus as he saw Him.

The Anchor of Prayer

My heart throbs at the simple prayer of Stephen, and so many others who have died with prayer in their hearts and on their lips. When you come to know a risen Savior it radically changes the way you pray. And such prayer gives you hope in the face of life or death. Prayer is itself an expression of hope.

Are you cultivating the habit of prayer? This is crucial because you know you will face difficult circumstances. You will come under spiritual attack. 1 Peter 4 begins,

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”

And 1 Peter 4:12 says,

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”

You need to know, if you do not already, that your enemy will do everything he can to keep you from praying. If you are in the habit of spending time in prayer, you will still be able to pray when your enemy is telling you God doesn’t hear, or things are too bad for you to pray.

Some years ago I went to a training conference at Jefferson Baptist Church. Their primary program is helping people pray extended time every day. More people attend that church each week than the number of people who live in the little town of Jefferson Oregon. And they attribute their growth to prayer. At the conference they encouraged us to commit to pray for an hour every day. You have to rearrange your life to spend a full hour daily in prayer. But that is the kind of habit that will terrify the enemy and keep us praying when we are tempted to give up. 

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Comment by Malva Birch on February 23, 2020 at 9:52am

Prayer is itself an expression of hope.

Praise the Lord, the God of Hope.

Rom 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed. NIV

Rom 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. BSB

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