Persistently Waiting

We live in time where we can get answers to our questions in just a few seconds. Recently driving through Wyoming my wife wanted to know how many people lived there. So she picked up her phone asked Siri and in five seconds or less she had the answer. We have grown accustomed in our technological world to the quick response. So often when it comes to our prayer life we want a quick answer from our Heavenly Father as well. So in frustration when no split second answer seems to surface we are tempted to give up on praying for it.


The question below was posed during research for Climbing Prayer Mountain; it is a question that I believe most of us have pondered in our prayer life:


How do you keep persistently praying when it feels like God isn’t answering?


I will touch on this in the devotional as well but since it is a reoccurring question I want to share a few more thoughts on this vital subject.


As you and I survey Scripture you will find that at the heart of a true follower of God is persistent waiting. In our Father God’s timing rarely do answers come quickly. Think about Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Elisabeth, Anna, Jesus, Paul, etc. All of them did their fair share of persistent waiting on the promises of God in prayer.


Jesus explains how this works in the Father’s economy in Luke 18:1-8 in the Parable of the Persistent Widow. He begins the teaching by saying to His disciples:


“They should always pray and not give up.”


Jesus then goes on to tell about a wicked judge who was daily harassed by a widow who sought justice. This woman was as desperate as a hungry dog in her daily plea before the judge who cared less about God and had no empathy for the widow. But over time she wore the judge out and he knew the woman would never stop nagging him so he gave in to her demands.


The epilogue to this parable by Jesus is key as declares how much more our loving Heavenly Father will “bring justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you He will see that they get justice, and quickly, (vs.7-8).


Our Good Father will reward persistent waiting in His perfect timing. My Grandma Spykstra was a persistent waiter in her prayer life. Her prayer journals testify that she never gave up on impossible issues that faced her and her family. Some of her prayers were answered after she went to be with Jesus and I’m sure together they celebrate His faithfulness and her persistent waiting that showed her faith in His promises.


So keep persistently waiting in prayer believing your Good Father is going to act in His perfect time!







Did I Really Hear from God?


One of the questions that frequently appeared in the survey for Climbing Prayer Mountain was “How do I know God is really speaking to me in prayer and I’m not making it up?” This is a great question which I believe everyone that seeks the will of God in prayer asks at some point.

In response to this question I’d like to give an example from my own life. Recently I was in Lesotho, Africa and a pastor friend of mine asked me to preach at his church. The problem was, I didn’t get the request until Saturday night and I lacked adequate time to prepare a new message. So, right away my mind wandered back to which previous one I may be able to reuse. But I struggled to retrieve a “tried and true message” I thought was appropriate. I had no direction or peace, so I started to pray in my spirit, “Lord what do you want me to preach?” Then Psalm 27:4: “One thing I have asked of the Lord ….to gaze on the beauty of the LORD” popped into my mind.

Why did I know this was from the Spirit of the LORD?

  1. A repeated impression: During the week Psalm 27:4 came up 3 times in unexpected ways. First of all a woman who I had a conversation with while waiting for an appointment brought it up. Second, that same night I received a text from a friend in Michigan with a picture of a license plate reading PSALM27:4. Third, on Saturday afternoon Mike Verkaik showed me a picture that he had taken at an orphanage he was visiting in the mountains, any guess what the picture was of? You’re right Psalm 27:4.
  2. “Be still and know that I am God:” To hear God’s voice it is vital that you spend time being still in His presence (Psalm 46:10). Saturday I was able to spend an extended time praying, journaling, and being quiet before the Father as I stayed back from a trip to the mountains with a sick team member. My heart had been receptive to listening to the Spirit because of time dwelling in His presence.
  3. The Living Word: Being still is important, but so is continuing to dwell in the Scriptures. The Bible comes alive through the Holy Spirit and our God uses His Word to direct our paths (Psalm 119:105). When Abba speaks it will always be in agreement with His written Word.
  4. Perfect Peace: When the Holy Spirit speaks an overwhelming peace follows (Col. 3:15). As I thought about preaching from Psalm 27:4 a peace came over me, despite the fact I had little time to prepare. I went to bed that night with peace that God would give me a word. The crazy thing was that night I had a dream that I was preaching Psalm 27:4 and key points were given in the dream that I remembered when I woke up Sunday morning.
  5. When two or three agree: Before I went to bed that night I told my friend Mike that I sensed the Holy Spirit was directing me to preach on Psalm 27:4 and I told him why, he smiled and affirmed my impressions. God has given us the “body of Christ” to help us discern the voice of God and follow it in obedience (Matthew 18:19-20).
  6. Will it bring glory to God: I have learned over the years that if God is speaking to me and calling me to follow His voice it will be about His glory and not mine (I Cor. 10:31). When the Father speaks He will call me to do things I can’t do in my strength but “His power will be made perfect in my weakness!” (2 Cor. 12:9).

As I opened my mouth that Sunday morning in Lesotho, the Father filled it with His powerful words from His heart to His children. I once again stood in awe of the mighty Voice of the Father. His faithfulness is the result when we follow it in obedience. I pray that these six points will encourage you and help you hear and follow your Father’s life-changing voice that is daily speaking to you.

Kingdom Comes in the Mountain Kingdom

Greetings from Lesotho Africa! 

I want to share with you a blog written by a Junior at Holland Christian named Hannah Brashears. This past week she and the team have worked with orphaned children at Beautiful Gate Care Center, had a pizza party with teen mom’s, hung out with homeless street children after church as well as countless other activities which has exposed them to the heart of the Father.  Be blessed as you hear from the soul of a young lady “ruined” by the Father’s Kingdom breaking into her heart.

My absolute favorite part about today was our chapel. Beautiful Gate has a chapel for the house mothers, other staff, and older children on Wednesdays instead of afternoon Playgroup. Our team decided that we wanted to lead a chapel for everyone at Beautiful Gate. To shake some nerves, some prayers were said and we did a run through of our two songs, Oceans and Days of Elijah, before everyone came into The River chapel, which is in the center of the campus. All nerves were washed away when the kids and staff came in, and looked so excited to see what we had prepared for them. We started with Oceans, which went quite beautifully, and relates to Mr. Verkaik and Mr. Spykstra’s new ministry, which is coincidentally called Oceans Ministries.

The lyric from the song, which states, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders” stuck out to me more than ever while singing this song. It took so much trust to put my faith into God about this trip to apply, and then again to actually come here. With God, no boarder is too far and too hard to cross, because he is with me every step of the way.

We then transitioned into Days of Elijah. We chose the song because it is upbeat, has motions… Seeing everyone join in with us, let their guards down, and just be silly while praising the Lord was really heartwarming, and I think that it especially helped Claire be able to let her guard down as well when she spoke. Her message was about faith after loss, and honestly I couldn’t give a description that would give it justice. After the school year where we have had experienced so many tragic deaths, leaving to come here was a little hard for many, but coming to a community that can relate in so many ways, and really appreciate her message meant the world.

One of the volunteers, Loreto, was so moved by her message because it related so much to him, and he actually felt God’s spirit so much in that moment that he too went up on to the front to share. So many times people feel alone in loss and hard times, so it is so important to not only know that others can relate to you, but also that God never leaves you, and he will forever be faithful. This is so evident in my life, not only after this past school year, but also through the passing of my mother as a child, and that made Claire’s message so special.

My favorite part of the chapel immediately followed, when the house mothers sang for us. The room lit up with joy, and everyone broke out into laughter and dance. They too did a song with motions, and helped us dance right along with them. Before leaving, Pastor Tim closed us with prayer, and had everyone put their arms onto the people next to them. We became one just as we are all God’s children. Before leaving to go into our service assignments once again, so many of the house mothers hugged us all, and it made so many people’s days that they loved our chapel as much as they did.

Sala Hantle!


When God is Silent

In the questionnaire that was sent out for Climbing Prayer Mountain someone asked, “How do you pray when God seems silent?” Can you relate to this question? I know I can. There have been seasons in my life where constant knocking on heaven’s door seems futile as the door seems to remain shut. When discouragement floods in and a voice speaks from deep within saying, “Give up, He is not listening, you are not even on heaven’s radar!”

As I write this blog I’m in Lesotho Africa where this past Pentecost Sunday millions of people from South Africa and Lesotho ended a 40 day season of fasting and prayer for their countries. They have been asking God to intervene in a political system that has become corrupt, asking Him to heal racial tensions and violence that have plagued their land for generations, and begging for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to awaken the church.

Overwhelming pain has gripped this beautiful land of Southern Africa for decades, and it would be easy to give up hope thinking heaven has been slow in responding to the cries of his children. Yet whenever I come here, I see passionate Christians who continue to pound persistently on heaven’s door in spite of the extreme battles they daily fight. For many, the tough times have forged them into a people that are strong in faith, rich in prayer, and holding on to the promises of God even when there seems to be years of silence.

There are so many examples from the Scriptures where God is apparently silent, but it is during these times that His children overcome the greatest of obstacles for His glory. God uses such time to teach His children to trust Him. Pick up your Bible and read Hebrews 11, which introduces us to the Hall of Faith of faithful followers. Each of those listed in this chapter knows what it is like to go through season of silence. Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, David and a host of others experienced difficult trials when God seemed absent. Yet, the struggle resulted in wrestling prayers that continued to knock on heaven’s door until the glory came down and heaven answered their persistent prayers. They were people who were “Sure of what they hoped for and certain of what they did not see (Hebrews 11:1).

So take heart when heaven seems silent and your prayers seem ignored. He is preparing you for His Hall of Faith, where your life can testify to His great faithfulness and glorious works in your life.

Oceans Israel Trip June 2018