Perseverance demands power. Perseverance demands more than power, but not less. You also need faith, and hope, and love, and many other biblical fuels, but without the sheer power to keep going, perseverance is impossible. So where do we get this power, how do we get this power, and in what measure? Paul gives one striking answer in Colossians 1:11 as he prays for the Colossian believers:
May you be strengthened with all power,
according to His glorious might,
for all endurance and patience…
The power to persevere comes from sheer asking. The act of petition triggers an avalanche of power. Paul prays, redundantly, that the Colossians might be δυναμει δυναμουμενοι (“empowered with power”). Yes, it’s technically a chronological fallacy to transliterate the repeated Greek word dunamis into modern English and say “dynamited with dynamite,” but it’s worth doing anyway. We are empowered with power, strengthened with strength, and reinforced with force, so that we can endure. Perseverance is created by power which comes from petition.
But not just any petition, because not just anyone has power. In fact, most people don’t have much power, and those that do aren’t keen to share the little they have. But God has power — universe-creating, life-breathing, dead-raising power — and He loves to give it. So this is who Paul asks. It shouldn’t have to be noted, except on our doubting days, that when you ask the Lord of Hosts for strength, you are not pleading alms from a passerby. You are accessing the deepest recesses of heaven’s powerplant.
This is why Paul asks not just for power, but for “all power.” He wants it all — every kind of divine power and the highest degree of divine strength for endurance. Paul prays that God would give the Colossian believers all the fuel and fire necessary to drive the heavy train of patient perseverance, and then some. No rationed power, no limited voltage, no low octane, but all power.
Finally (and perhaps most stunning of all), Paul asks for the unthinkable. He qualifies the power that he’s requesting. He doesn’t want just any strengthening for the Colossians. He wants power “according to the strength of God’s glorious might.” He petitions God to send down power that matches God’s own glorious strength. Rehearse for a moment the mighty acts of God. What kind of unspeakable strength must He possess? It is ours if we simply ask.
Often when we say, “I can’t,” we silently mean, “I can’t, even with Your help.” But after we’ve quietly announced, “I can’t,” God never echoes, “Me neither.” When we tell Him, “I can’t,” He responds, “Speak for yourself.” He is not a God who withholds strength from those who need it and those who seek it. He gives strength to the weary, and never wearies of giving strength.
What’s the most powerful thing you’ve ever received just by asking? Start today — ask for strength. Then stand and believe and watch as simple petition calls forth universe-creating power. Then you will be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience.”