Anyone who is having troubles should pray. ... When a believing person prays, great things happen. -James 5:13,16 NCV

Persistence in Prayer

So, I’m sitting here thinking about writing an article about being persistent in prayer. Of course, the first passage that comes to mind is Luke 18:1-11. It reads as follows:

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ “
6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The parable speaks for itself. The answers are obvious. Yes. God will bring about justice for His chosen ones! Yes. He will bring about justice for His children who cry out to Him day and night! No. He will not keep putting them off! God will see that they will quickly receive the justice they seek!

The question that remains outstanding is: When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?

This seems to give a bit of punch to Luke’s introductory commentary. He tells us that Jesus told them this parable “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”

Now for a moment of candor: Through the years I’ve had difficulty giving what I believed was an adequate answer to people who’ve talked with me about their struggle with persistence in prayer. I’m remembering the father who had prayed for his recalcitrant son’s repentance for years. Or, the sister who had prayed earnestly for many years for her husband to see her as something more than a household servant. I’m thinking also about countless believers who have cried out to God for health and healing for themselves and their loved ones. I’m thinking of the millions of unemployed people throughout our nation some of whom will probably begin this week wondering whether or not they should continue praying for God to help them find a job. If we are being honest with ourselves, most of us have probably had some doubts about whether we should always pray and not give up.

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? Against the backdrop of similar real-world, real-life battles that have persisted year-after-year, many struggle with persistence in prayer. Frankly, I think the reason I have had difficulty giving adequate answers as to why we should continue to pray about these matters, has to do with the fact that my vision is limited to the horizon.

Upon reflection, I’ve concluded these are not nearly as compelling as the two truths brought to light in this passage. Because these transcend out troubles, they call us to prayer even though none of us can see beyond the horizon. Why should we be persistent in prayer? The two simple truths are:

1) We should be persistent in prayer, because this is what Jesus wants us to do.

2) We should be persistent in prayer, because doing so gives evidence that we are continuing to live by faith.

There it is in the most basic terms possible. Why should we be persistent in prayer? The answer is two-fold, but simple: 1) Because Jesus said so, and 2) Because we believe!

For believers who wrestle with this answer, there is another prayer to be uttered, “I belief. Help Thou my unbelief.” Lord willing, we will discuss this soon.

Blessings to all who pass this way.

Bill Williams
a spiritualoasis


(c) copyright, September 13, 2010

4 comments:

  1. Bill this is an excellent devotional on the persistence in prayer, and what it boils down too.

    It's really how much to we trust, how much faith are we living.

    Thanks for thinking this through and coming to such good conclusions.

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  2. An excellent commentary and encouragement to be persistent in prayer. As Jesus said " for without faith it is impossible to please God." And a reminder to us to keep faith while we keep praying when we're waiting sometimes for a long time for answers to our prayers.

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  3. Great thoughts Bill! I love that we can "always pray and not give up" yet sometimes change the focus of our prayers the way that Paul did when God spoke to him about his thorn. Paul still prayed but the focus his prayers was different.

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