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Don’t Give Up: Persevere in Prayer

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Bestselling Author Don’t Give Up, (Baker Books, 2019)

Senior Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, the tenth largest church in America, speaks to more than 25,000 people each week

Married to DesiRae

Four children

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As a pastor, Kyle has discovered that the message people most often need to hear is Don’t Give Up although his tone isn’t always the same. Sometimes he delivers this message with a gentle tone like a Mister Rogers approach. At other times people need more of a William Wallace (the blue face guy in Braveheart) approach. “When we’re right on the edge of quitting, when we’re beaten down, when we feel utterly overwhelmed, comfort may sustain us but courage is often what we need to move forward,” shares Kyle. Although there will be trials in your life don’t feel sorry for yourself. Choose not to see yourself as a victim. To help you determine if you have a victim mentality in some area of your life Kyle offers the following insights:

  • People with a victim mentality tend to whine and complain. These people focus on what is wrong instead of what is right. Whining and complaining can lead to quitting.
  • People with a victim mentality tend to blame and criticize. Some people refuse to take responsibility and blame God.
  • People with a victim mentality tend to be cynical and pessimistic. Self-pity is the last stop before giving up.

Whenever Kyle may be having a difficult season in ministry he might start feeling sorry for himself until he spends some time with his friend, Edry, who is a Haitian pastor and adjusts his perspective. Edry lives in a two-bedroom shack with his wife and children. They have no windows and the electricity rarely works. He spends his days preaching on the hills while his wife works at the market to earn a consistent income. “All I have to do is think about Edry and his joyful spirit, and suddenly my situation doesn’t seem so bad,” shares Kyle.

There are plenty of faith heroes in the Bible who faced significant and surprising challenges. In Hebrews 12:1 Nehemiah is one of those heroes. He prayed for four months before asking the King for permission to return to his hometown, Jerusalem, and rebuild it after it was destroyed. Kyle shares how the book of Nehemiah is actually a 2500-year-old prayer journal which allows us to learn how to pray when confronted with obstacles. When Nehemiah would pray he would:

  • Remind himself who God is - Nehemiah does not remind God how deserving he is, but instead he begins his prayer with praise. When you start prayer with worship, you are reminded of God’s greatness.
  • Remind himself what God has done for his people – By reminding yourself that God is trustworthy and faithful your confidence and courage will grow.
  • Remember the promises God has made - Prayer connects us to the truths about God. “Nehemiah finds confidence and courage in prayer by remembering who God is, what God has done, and lastly by remembering the promises of God,” shares Kyle. It is important to be familiar with Scripture because it will bring God’s great works to mind when we cry out to Him.

In Hebrews 12, the author encourages us not to give up. He reminds us we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Kyle shares, “The faith and faithfulness of our heroes gives us the confidence to keep believing and the courage to keep going.” When we get weary and want to give up we should remember those who have gone before us.

In Psalms, David stops telling God about his anxieties and starts telling his anxieties about God: God can defeat my enemies. God can rescue me from danger. God can take away the guilt of my sin. When our prayers are filled with thanksgiving, we are telling our anxieties what we have to be thankful for. Kyle shares how when his son was four his family was on a road trip. When they arrived at the hotel he began unloading a few things. His son came around back to get his bag. When Kyle handed it to his son the weight of the bag pulled his son to the ground. As they began walking across the hotel parking lot Kyle asked his son if he could carry his bag for him. He also picked up his son. He says it was more of a joy than a task. God sees the load you carry and the weight you are under. Give it to God and let Him carry whatever burden you have been trying to carry alone.

On March 10, Kyle was named Senior Pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Previously, Kyle has been on staff with the church since 2002. Former Senior Pastor Dave Stone announced last September of his retirement and expressed his excitement for what’s to come at Southeast Christian. As he takes this journey he offers this advice to tackling this or any challenge or opportunity in your life: (1) Ask for prayer; (2) Let people know you need help so they can help bear the burden; and (3) Don’t go it alone – make the journey with other people.

Guest Name / Person Interviewed or Featured in Article or Video: 
Kyle Idleman
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