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What persistence wins

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

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The face of persistence is a small gray dog named Max placing the tennis ball in my lap for the hundredth time, tail wagging, ever expectant.

He's been repeatedly pushed away with a "not now" or an "I'm tired" or a "later." Undeterred, he looks with his bright black eyes from the ball to me and back to the ball. His sheer exuberance finally wins me over, and with a begrudging smile, I throw the first of many fetches.

Whenever I've faced a problem that just doesn't go away, I've thought about Max's enthusiastic persistence. And what I see is most needed is a change in my thought and expectation. Instead of discouragement or a defeated sense that this situation will never change, I see the need to redefine my expectations, to spur on my hope. to boost my courage to keep on going.

For me, what really brings about this significant change is prayer - a deep and humble turning to God. As I do this, I'm orienting my face toward spiritual sunlight, so to speak, feeling the penetrating warmth of God's love replacing the cold doubts and fears that had grown as I stood in my own shadow. I find a new encouragement welling up within me and an expectation of good all around.

The effect of this prayer falls in line with one of the beautiful promises attributed to Jesus: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matt. 7:7, 8). Most of human experience would suggest that you don't get what you ask for, so part of what is implied is the persistence that seeks until it finds.

Explaining the power of prayer to heal, Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, wrote: "There is nothing difficult nor toilsome in this task, when the way is pointed out; but self-denial, sincerity, Christianity, and persistence alone win the prize, as they usually do in every department of life" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 462).

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