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Monday, January 16, 2012

Persistence in Prayer

My father-in-law and grandfather to our children practiced as a very well known and respected Registered Massage Therapist in our community from 1946 until 2005.  He is remembered by many as a man with the gift of healing hands.  During the 1970’s, when two of his chiropractor sons took over the family clinic, he became a land developer and a commercial and residential builder who turned farm land into a suburban neighbourhood.  A mini-mall, a large medical plaza,  apartment complexes and residential neighbourhoods were all the result of his ability to put his careful plans into action.  A condominium development rounded out his dream for the area.  

One of the jobs of a developer, after the plans have been approved by the municipality and once the infrastructure like water and sewer lines is in place, is to suggest names for the new streets that have been created.  The municipality approves the names, but it is the developer who really has control over the naming of streets.  Customarily, developers put forward names of  business partners, investors and finally family members.  I well remember during the building of the final residential neighbourhood the rather broad hints dropped by my father-in-law’s four daughters.  Lozanne, in keeping with her personality, was very persistent about her wishes for the choice of names for the remaining streets.  She was good natured in her reminders to her father.  He in return was characteristically non-committal in his equally good natured responses. The memory of her persistence puts me in mind of the widow in the parable given by Jesus in Luke 18: 1-7.
 18:1 ¶ Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.
 3 “Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’
 4 “And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man,
 5 ‘yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”
 6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said.
 7 “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?
The true lesson of the parable is actually in the line introducing the story.  We are told to continually pray and not loose heart.  Persistence even in prayer demonstrates strong and abiding faith which is rewarded with answered prayers.  Indeed Lozanne’s persistence paid off with her earthly father and resulted in her name being attached to a large crescent that will be the home of hundreds of people potentially for a century or more.
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