2. Persistence in prayer gives God time to make adjustments. Persisting in prayer may be necessary because God is reshaping us. Sometimes God delays giving us His answer while He makes adjustments in our lives. Your waiting on the Lord is sometimes necessary because the Lord is waiting on you. (Read 1 Samuel 1:10.11.)
He may be testing your faith, your sincerity and your desire. (Read 2 Chronicles 7:14.15; Isaiah 64:1.2, 7; Hebrews 11:6.)
This was certainly the case with the prophet Elijah, who prayed until it rained. He had to send his servant out seven times to look for a rain cloud before it appeared (1 Kings 18:43).
3. Persistence in prayer removes demonic resistance. Sometimes demonic resistance requires persevering prayer. We call this spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:11.12). It was certainly true for Daniel. (Read Daniel 10.) Daniel prayed and fasted for three weeks. During that time God revealed many things to him about the last days. These revelations were so great that Daniel fell on his face trembling. The angel of God strengthened him, because demonic princes were opposing Daniel’s prayers.
Understand that all prayer is war! Many of us give up the fight before winning the battle! The angel told Daniel that although God had heard his prayer the first day, it required twenty-one days of persistent prayer with fasting for God’s angel to get through with the answer!
Persistence is continuing or staying with a job until it is done.
In honor of my (Eddie) grandfather Rufus Smith, who drove the last steam engine on the Frisco Railroad before his retirement in the late fifties, I would like to tell the following true story of persistence in prayer.
On the front page of the “Endeavor World” a few years ago was the picture of an engineer about to mount an engine. Beneath the picture was this statement: “George Bemis, of Indianapolis, is here shown about to board his engine for his last run after fifty-three years of service with the Big Four Railroad. In all that time he has not had a single accident.
But the quality of his service may be judged from the fact that he never made a run without first kneeling in the cab of his engine and praying that the Lord might help him to bring the passengers to their journey’s end. He was seventy years old when he retired with this unique record.
Elijah said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” —1 Kings 18:43
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” —Ephesians 6:11–12
There is simply no substitute for persistent prayer!
1. Question: List a few things for which you have been praying a long time.
2. What one thing will you commit to pray for persistently until the Lord answers or releases you from asking?