“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God…continuing steadfast in prayer…Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:1-2, 12, 14-15).
Steadfastness in prayer is the inevitable outgrowth of a spirit of dependence. Each of us prays in proportion to our sense of vulnerability and weakness. Therefore, the proud in spirit pray infrequently (if at all), and the humble in spirit pray steadfastly.
As Jesus so eloquently and implicitly taught in the model prayer (Matthew 6:9-15), each of us is dependent on God and His providence for our physical/material needs, the removal of our spiritual debts, and the guidance and deliverance essential to spiritual victory. The need for a continual, enduring spirit of dependence is great. Those who cultivate it will be steadfast in prayer.
Gracious. Because of the wickedness of their character, evil people persecute and mistreat others. Because of purity of heart and sincerity of spirit, a holy living sacrifice blesses those who persecute him. A discerning spirit can see the wretched spiritual state a persecutor of righteousness has. Such discernment coupled with a tender heart elicits pity and blessing on the persecutor, not ill will and cursing. What a gracious spirit!
Empathetic. A godly and sensitive spirit rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep, just as Jesus did (John 11:35). Such a sympathetic and empathetic high priest (Hebrews 4:15) is the standard by which each of his royal priests ought to measure himself.
A spirit of dependence upon God, of graciousness towards one’s enemies, and of empathy towards all are defining qualities of a holy and acceptable-to-God living sacrifice.