Green Bean Wars and Camel Knees

I knew I could outlast ’em.

Normally easy going, my mother seldom forced us to eat food we didn’t like. But that day she must have read the “5 Reasons Your Child Needs Green Beans” article in the latest Parents Magazine. Mom had always respected my aversion to green food, so the five slimy green beans she spooned onto my dinner plate puzzled me.

“I don’t like green beans,” I reminded her.

“Well, you can’t leave the table unless you eat them,” she responded, crossing her arms for emphasis.

Mealtime came and went. My other, more compliant, siblings choked down their required quota of beans and went out to play. Mom cleared the dinner table, washed the dishes, and still I sat, staring at my plate.

Considering my prospects, I noticed the longer the green beans sat there, the more shriveled they became. If I waited long enough, I reasoned, perhaps they would shrivel up completely and disappear. I would be emancipated. I determined to outlast them.

After an hour of watching me from the other room, Mom stomped back into the kitchen where I sat and said with a huff, “Oh, go outside for heaven’s sake!”

I had won the Green Bean War.

Many years later, when I began to learn about prayer, I encountered several inspiring examples of similarly stubborn persistence.

Jacob wrestled with the angel of God and declared, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26).

The Syrophoenician woman of Mark 7 humbled herself, begging Jesus to heal her tiny, demon-possessed daughter. To test her perseverance and faith, he rebuffed her initial requests for help. But she loved her daughter. She recognized that Jesus was her only hope. Instead of pridefully responding to his testing, she continued to plead gently with him until he healed her daughter.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, was such a man of prayer that he earned the nickname Camel Knees because of the calluses he developed from kneeling.

When D.L. Moody became a believer, he began to pray for his friends. All but one was saved in his lifetime, and the last trusted Christ as his Savior three months after Moody died.

What are you wrestling with God about in prayer? A prodigal child? A medical miracle? An impossible financial situation? A broken marriage?

God’s Word promises, the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous (wo)man avails much (James 5:16, change mine). He reminds us those who sow in tears shall reap in joy (Psalm 126:5).

I encourage you to join Jacob, the Syrophonenician woman, D.L. Moody, and me in praying with tenacity and determination. Claim God’s promises with boldness and faith. Like the green beans on my childhood plate, with the Lord’s help, we can outlast ’em!

Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

Your Turn

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What wars are you fighting?


by Lori Hatcher

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Lori is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She shares an empty nest in Columbia, South Carolina, with her ministry and marriage partner, David, and best dog ever, Winston. She’s the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, and has authored two devotional books. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on Facebook (Hungry for God), Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or by email (

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions ( and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.