Persevering in Prayer

Here’s the last post about petitioning God in prayer.  As promised, I will have the remainder of the TULIP series in the coming days.  These posts on prayer have seemed more important to me at the moment.

Praying with you,
james

Definition: Enduring in prayer so that I pray until I get an answer and blessings, not the ones that satisfy my selfishness, but ones that satisfy my longings to see God glorified in the outcome so that I get the most joy.

When we persevere in our prayers (or pray constantly, with endurance, or unceasingly, or always, etc) we are essentially putting our complete trust the Lord. We are going to him helplessly and presenting our requests to God. When we persevere, our faith and hope is in him. In essence, we are not losing heart. We can go to God and persevere because we know he is omniscient and omnipotent. He will not leave us out to dry. We can know, if we are a true child of God that we can say “Praise God” for a prayer request that happens and say “Praise God” for a prayer request that does not happen. Both happen because God wills and he wants to work everything together for our good (Rom. 8:28). If something doesn’t happen that we ask for, something better is in God’s mind. Something greater is on the way. For these reasons, we can persevere in prayer and pray continually.

  • Genesis 32:22-32, Jacob wrestles with God. Just as God said to Moses, “Leave me alone,” he said to Jacob, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” Jacob would not let God go. He was persistent. He persevered. He said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Jacob was not going to give up in his pursuit of God’s blessing. He literally wrestled with God physically. How much more should we spiritually wrestle with the Lord when we have requests to ask or sins to deal with? 
  • 1 Kings 18:41-46 is also a great example of perseverance. When Elijah was praying fervently for rain, he sent his servant up the mountain to look over the sea to check if there was any rain coming. Elijah asked his servant to do this seven times! He would not take “no” for an answer. He was persistent and he persevered. This is not to say that God will do everything we want if we just keep asking him, but it does mean that if we do not see an answer (as Elijah’s servant did not regarding the rain) we can, with faith in God’s sovereignty and faithfulness, that he will tell us yes or no or (continue to) wait.
  • Luke 18:1-8 is about the parable of the persistent widow. Verse 1 says: “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”
  • Acts 1:14, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer.” The apostles and followers of Jesus were getting together to pray for guidance and for boldness. They wanted to be unified and preach the gospel. They were “devoted” to it.
  • Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant (endure) in prayer.” To persevere in prayer simply means to be constant, to not give up, or to be continually in conversation with the Lord about certain issues. Here, in Romans 12, praying is connected to rejoicing in hope and being patient in tribulation. These three are paired up possibly because when we are hoping in the Lord, we rejoice in him and communicate that, in prayer, to him. In tribulations, we must endure patiently, and communicate, in prayer, trust in the Lord that he is in control and has our best good in mind. Those things are mentioned first, as indicators of what we need to pray. “Rejoice! Be patient! Pray about these things all the time.” Hope and tribulation are two opposite things. Paul urges the Romans that even in the most plentiful and most desperate situations we must pray to the Lord and love him despite of the circumstances. 
  • Ephesians 6:18, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication for all the saints.” Here we are urged to pray for the saints at all times. We should pray specific prayers for believers that we know and are close to. We should also pray sweeping prayers for the world of believer that we will never meet.
  • Colossians 4:2, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Paul urges the Colossians to unwaveringly in pray. “Don’t lose heart! Don’t give up! Be on your guard in prayer by giving thanks always, lest you become selfish and ungrateful.” We must have an attitude of thanksgiving in our prayers. It keeps us humble and the more humble we are, the more we will want to go to God in prayer. There more we will want to go to God in prayer, the more we will pray and persevere.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” This verse connects rejoicing and giving thanks with prayer. Again, we express both of these things to God in prayer. We can sing songs, yes, but those are nothing more than prayers set to music. Most of the Psalms are prayers, but when they were written, they may have been temple praise songs.
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