The Power of Persistent Prayer

Wednesday, September 07, 2016




READ:
"...The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops." (James 5:16-18)

REFLECT:
Prayer: the privilege we have as cherished children to speak directly to our Heavenly Father and to hear His voice in return.

When I was a little girl, five-years-old, I used to climb atop my Jack-and-Jill-printed hamper beside my bedroom window and watch the sun set in our backyard. I would sit and read my Bible there and talk to God. Those times are among my sweetest memories of my childhood. I believed in the power of prayer as a child.

I believe more in the power of prayer now as an adult.

But for several weeks recently the Lord has been speaking to me about prayer. Oftentimes, we pray and we pray for something- for healing, for a change of circumstances, for provision, etc.- but at what point exactly we stop praying for those things? "When He answers those prayers…” ?

But is it that simple? What happens when His answer is slow in coming? What happens when our prayers are answered only in part?

For many years, I had been believing and praying for a change of circumstances in my life. In the past month, the Lord answered that prayer with a resounding "yes,” but only partially. Still, I was content with the way He had answered my prayer. Finally, I had seen positive change. He had moved in the situation enough for me to consider my prayers satisfied. 

Yet, the Lord challenged me in that. I had only seen my prayer answered in part, not fully. So why was I ceasing my prayers for that situation? Why was I allowing my expectations of God to settle for only a partial move of His hand?

You see, God showed me that He loves persistence. He looks for persistent prayers. The prayers that day after day, month after month, year after year, we continue to pray earnestly in faith and believe in His goodness regardless of when He answers our prayers. The prayers we continue to pray against the odds of doubt and discouragement.

I was challenged to continue seeking the fullness of His gifts and His plans - to keep asking and praying for that situation. And I challenge you to do the same in your prayers for the areas of your life, as well as the lives of others.

But how do we know which prayers to maintain persistence in and which to abandon? Well, by your motives. The Lord challenged me also to examine the intentions of my persistent prayers. Why do I hold fast in expectancy of miracles in my life? Why do I pray the prayers that I pray? Why do I want so badly the things that I have asked God for for years?

How important are the motivations of our hearts in our prayers! Are they pure? Are they focused solely on our comfort and desires of our flesh or are do they set the Lord and His glory as first priority?

Proverbs 21:2 tells us, "A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart." "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Let the motivation of our prayers be the litmus test of our persistence.

The Lord already knows the desires of our hearts. God knows our prayers before they even come from our lips. He also already knows His response to our prayers and He longs to hear us ask Him for good gifts. Don't be afraid to ask…ask and ask again. The Lord isn't annoyed by your persistence. Our prayers are a reflection of our hope and assurance of His love for us as His children, and He wants to see our expression of faith. 

He wants to hear from us in our boldness and our confidence in prayer that we believe that He is a good Father, that He is able, and that He loves us and delights in blessing His children. It brings Him joy to give us good gifts, sisters.

"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:11-13)

Prayer is powerful, prayer touches the heart of God, and the Bible instructs us to pray. So, sisters, let us examine our hearts and it’s motivations. The prayers that are pleasing and pure in the sight of the Lord, may we be bold and confident to hold fast in persistence and pursuit of God's move until the Lord answers or calls us to abandon our plea. 

I never wish to hear Him say, "Why didn't you ask Me? All I wanted was to hear you ask."

So I praise God for my answered prayers, but I continue on my knees in prayer because I have decided that I don't want to miss out on all that God wants to do in my life simply because I stop asking. 

Don't be discouraged in your prayers. Don't give up. 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7) 

He is faithful.

PRAY:
Lord, thank You that You hear the cries of our hearts. You know our desires, for You formed us and are intimately acquainted with all of our ways (Psalm 139:3). Thank You that You desire to bless us and You delight in giving us good gifts. Please give us greater faith and confidence to claim the move of Your hand through our prayers and to hold steadfast until we see that move, God. Let us be strong prayer warriors, not weakened by discouragement or distance of time, and help us to be persistent and passionate in our pursuit of You and Your glorious plans for us. Continue to cleanse and purify the thoughts and motives of our hearts until we stand blameless and holy before Your righteous throne one day. We love You. Amen. 

YOUR TURN:

How about you? What are some prayers that you've been experiencing doubt and discouragement about and have given up on pursuing? Are there prayers from your past that the Lord wants you to resurrect and continue seeking Him in? What are the motives for your prayers of persistence?

Written by: Julia Glover

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