David Livingstone was one of the greatest missionary doctors who ever lived. But when he was struggling on his expeditions, he didn’t look so great. His exploration of the River Zambezi was a failure—the river could not be navigated. He kept trying to find a way until the British government ordered him home. After that, no one wanted to give him more money to return for more explorations.
After a while, he somehow found the money to return to Africa. Once he got there, no one heard from him for six years. Many thought he was dead, but he was not. Although he was seriously ill, he was determined to stay in Africa until his mission was complete. He stubbornly continued to explore. Finally, he died and his friends carried his body a thousand miles to the coast so that he could be returned to England and honored with a proper burial.
At the time he died, many people thought Livingstone’s whole life was a failure. But now, many years later, we know he traveled 29,000 miles in Africa, and that he made important geographical discoveries for Great Britain, such as Victoria Falls and four important lakes. He explored Central Africa so missionaries could go there. He was honored by African chiefs. He spoke out against slavery. And others who knew him were inspired to build schools to educate African children. Much good has come of his life.
One of the things Livingstone said was, “I determined never to stop until I had come to the end and achieved my purpose.” That means he decided he would never give up, and it explains a lot about who he was. It also helps us understand that we must not give up praying for whatever it is we want and need from God.
Dear Lord, First help me know what I should pray for, and then make me determined never to stop praying and talking with you. Amen.