Persistent Prayer

Written by Becky Perkins

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1).

 

Over the years, I have learned much about prayer, and I have studied much about how to pray.  I have kept prayer journals, prayer lists, prayed scripture, and have learned how to pray aloud when needed.  I have had many prayer partners in each stage of my life, usually other women who wish to pray together for our children and husbands.  I have studied prayer with other people in classes and led Bible studies about prayer.  In the midst of all of this, I still find myself wearing out when I pray about certain subjects or situations.  Sometimes I have wondered if God was hearing my prayers, especially when the time element went on for months and years. 

 

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells a parable about a persistent woman.  The parable tells of a woman who goes to a judge in the town to have him hear her case.  She wanted justice from her adversary.  The judge refused to help her several times, but the woman kept returning to the judge to solve her case.  After a while the judge, even though he did not fear God nor care what people thought, avenged her case because the woman troubled him so much.  He was afraid that her persistence of coming to him would wear him out. 

 

Jesus then tells His listeners, “And shall God not avenge His own people who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

 

This parable reminds me that I too need to persist in prayer.  Some versions say to not lose heart, get discouraged, or give up praying.  The Greek word for “not lose heart” is ekkakeo, which means to be weak, to fail in heart, to faint or be weary.  God reminds me there is power in prayer.  If we do not lose heart or become weary, He will answer in due time.  Of course, the answer may not always be what we wanted.  There is an element of surrendering to God’s will when we pray.  Although I do keep prayer lists and journals, prayer is not a wish list of what I want to happen and hope God will give me what I want.  It is surrendering to what God desires and His way.  Most of the time, God answers my prayers in a way that I could have never dreamed.  God never delays in helping people who love Him and persist in prayer.  He does not put us off.  He is not like the unjust judge who gave in just because he was tired of the woman coming to him.  God delights in us and listening to our prayers. 

 

There is another element to this parable.  Jesus says, “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  This tells me that we should persist until the end.  What if we give up on praying to Jesus day and night, and then one day we are placed in a situation of spiritual decline or persecution?  Will we still persist when the going gets rough?  I believe we have to have the strength of prayer and power to get through rough times.  We need the comfort of prayer and the strength of prayer to get through times when our prayers are not answered as we desired.  This requires us getting outside of ourselves and the self-pity we sometimes feel when things do not go our way.  If we will focus on Jesus and our relationship with Him, we will gain the strength to get through whatever we walk through.  We need the persistence and stamina of prayer to survive in this life. 


2 Responses to “Persistent Prayer”

  1. Bonita Cadle says:

    Wise & beautiful Becky.
    Thank you.

  2. Bill Schuppert says:

    Becky: sometime when you might have convenient time, I would like to talk with you about certain aspects of prayer. Do most people really know how to pray and why do we pray as we do?

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