Persistence is defined as “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” So Persistence in prayer means to be firm or obstinate in our petitions in spite of our personal circumstances or our opposition.
Based on the above definition, it should be obvious why persistence is important in prayer. We don’t always pray under ideal circumstances. Oftentimes, we pray during times of difficult personal circumstances or during times of great spiritual opposition. In fact, it is often one of these two scenarios that causes us to pray most passionately or even desperately.
Prayer is vital to the life of a Christian. Correction, effective prayer is vital to the life of a Christian. Effective prayer is what enables us to overcome times of personal trials or spiritual opposition. The point I want to stress in this post is that it is only through persistence in prayer that we can realize effective prayer.
The way I see it, genuine faith and persistence are closely related. One must first have faith about something before he will be persistent about it. That this is true can be seen in the following verse: “You have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10:6).
The word endurance in the verse above comes from a Greek word that denotes “endurance, patience, or an abiding under.” That in effect is what persistence is all about—being able to endure or abide while under a load.
What Jesus Says about Persistence in Prayer
On several occasions, Jesus stressed the need for persistence in prayer. For instance, He said:
1. “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Jesus expounded on these words by telling a parable about a woman who came to plead her case to a judge who would not hear her. But the woman was persistent until the judge avenged her. Jesus used the woman as an example to encourage us to be persistent in our prayers to God.
2. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NASB). The interesting thing about this verse is that each of the verbs is in the present tense, which denotes a continuous action. There are some who argue that if we have faith we should only pray about a matter once. But this verse is another reference to persistence in prayer.
3. “Even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend , yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:8, NASB). These words were occasioned by the disciples’ request for Jesus to “teach us to pray” (verse 1). Again, Jesus is underscoring the importance of persistence in prayer.
It is a given that God hears you when you pray. But oftentimes, a duration of time exists between when you pray and when you receive. Additionally, spiritual opposition and personal trials can make prayer even more of a challenge. You have need of persistence, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive from God.
Copyright © 2019 by Frank King. All rights reserved.