The Prayer of Persistent Patience
Why does God require persistent patience when you pray? Truthfully. prayer can be one of the most difficult disciplines to do consistently and persistently. Yet, you’ve waited forever for God to answer your prayer, but nothing is happening.
Does God really expect you to keep on praying? One important analogy Jesus gave in reiterating the place, power and relevance of persistence in prayer is found in Luke 18:1. The opening verse has become a reference verse for many discussions on prayer.
The Persistent Widow
1Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray at all times and not lose heart: 2“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept appealing to him, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’
4For a while he refused, but later he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God or respect men, 5yet because this widow keeps pestering me, I will give her justice. Then she will stop wearing me out with her perpetual requests.’”
6And the Lord said, “Listen to the words of the unjust judge. 7 Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night? Will He continue to defer their help? 8I tell you, He will promptly carry out justice on their behalf. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”
The text tells of God’s unwavering desire for His people to keep an unbroken, persistent, persevering prayer with Him. This noble demand, nonetheless, stands even in times of difficulties.
Difficulty Has A Purpose
For everyone of God’s children, God is intentional about all that happens to them. The nature and character of God do not accommodate accidents or coincidences.
Every event in the lives of those who love God serves a higher purpose. These include difficulties or hardships.
God has always employed difficulties to strengthen the character of His children, and to invite them into deeper relationships with Him. God’s chastisement is an expression of His great love for us, for the scripture rightly says
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6, ESV)
So, difficulty serves the purpose of love – God loving us. This show of love is to develop in us godly character. By it we are conformed to the image of Christ. It is like pruning a flower; though its many leaves may be trimmed off, the flower becomes more beautiful after the exercise.
The writer of Hebrews writes that God disciplines us for our good. Though the process produces momentary pain, later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:3-11, ESV).
If we arm ourselves with this truth, going through difficult times would come with much ease, and clear purpose.
Persistent Prayer – God at the Center
Prayer is cardinal in every believer’s life. It is one way Christians express their dependence on God. It is one means of deepening and strengthening our relationship with the triune God.
Because prayer is a relationship between God and man, it is expedient that the Christian devotes his/her attention to God. He desires wholehearted worship.
Thus, an efficient prayer is one which revolves around the character, majesty, power, glory and beauty of God.
An efficient prayer keeps God within its gaze. It starts with God, continues with Him and ends in Him. A prayer that perseveres is fixated on God, and not on the difficulty.
Such prayer reinforces God’s ability above the seeming power of the difficulty. A prayer such as this is sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit. Hence, the praying Christian is able to be patient, and persevere. It is this kind of prayer that overcomes difficult situations.
Persistent Patience – The Character of Overcomers
The story of the persistent widow reinforces the power of perseverance – persistent patience. Perseverance is a patience that is persistent, that does not give up or give in.
The widow’s situation was quite difficult. She was requesting an action which is alien to the godless judge. It’s akin to demanding justice from an unjust king. Hers was a difficult situation – she was helpless, and had, as last resort to justice, a judge who had no fear of God.
With her perseverance, the seemingly impossible situation turned out possible. The hardhearted judge could not withstand the power of her never-say-die spirit.
She was aware of what she was up against, yet she persevered. She persisted in her quest for justice. She kept knocking on the door. Though helpless, this widow received justice.
How difficult is your present situation? Jesus, in his usual signature parable, has taught us to not faint nor grow weary in prayers while in the midst of difficulty.
Winners don’t quit! Overcomers don’t give up on God. Perseverance is the character of overcomers. Hear Jesus’ consolatory remark:
“7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.” (Luke 18:7-8a, ESV).
Have you become weary in prayers? Does it seem like you’re at the end of your rope? Is there such thing as praying too much? No! There’s no such thing as praying too much.
Prayer is often our last resort, the final step in a hopeless situation. We refer to it with such phrases as “he doesn’t have a prayer,” or “there is nothing left to do but pray.”
I encourage you to remain persistent in your prayers even when you don’t get an answer! Why? Persistent prayer focuses your attention. Persistent prayer clarifies your request. Persistent prayer tests your faith. Persistent prayer prepares your heart for the answer.
Hang on in there!
Don’t quit yet. Keep praying to God (remember He loves you). Be patient. Persevere. The God you’re praying to said He’ll give you justice speedily.
He does not lie. Trust Him. Remember, “God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20)
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