“God is in the process of redemption for the long haul. My persistent praying says, ‘Count me in. I won’t cut and run when the answers are slow in coming. Instead of drumming impatient fingers, I’m going to use that hand to knock firmly on heaven’s door - again and again! Together, God and I share the ongoing fellowship of intercession.” Sandy Mayle
Jesus was persistent in prayer. He practiced persistence in His prayer life, and He taught it to His disciples. He was passionate about not giving up in prayer because He wanted His disciples to learn to stand firm in persistent prayer. Look at His life. He spent whole nights in prayer. That takes perseverance and incredible persistence. At the end of His life, he was so intensely praying that he sweat great drops of blood. Jesus knew how to stand firm in persistent prayer. He wanted us to learn to keep asking, to keep seeking, and to keep knocking. He said in Luke 11:9-10:
“So I say to you, Ask and keep on asking and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened”(Amplified Bible).
Prayer doesn’t seem so attractive when you don’t see quick results. We think that maybe we are doing something wrong or that God doesn’t hear us. We may even question His goodness. But we are so wrong when we think in this way. God hears every prayer and He does answer us - but it’s in His way and in His timing. We are so quick to give up. In Luke 18:1-5 (NIV) Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow who never gave up:
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: 'In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.' For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet 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.'"
The word “persist” in Webster’s dictionary means “to stand or be fixed, to continue steadfastly and firmly in the pursuit of any cause, to pursue, not receding from the purpose, not to give up or abandon.” That persistent widow wanted justice and didn’t waver in her pursuit. She stood firmly and didn’t give up in her asking. Finally the judge answered her request because of her persistence.
Persistence is Reality
Most people like to live and serve God when everything is exciting. I lived on an exciting mission’s ship as a young person. We went from country to country and city to city. The first three months in this exciting ministry was absolutely glorious! Young people would come to live on board and though the ship was old, worn and full of little cockroaches, the ministry opportunities were fantastic. It was like a little bit of heaven. Everything was absolutely thrilling initially - living with people from over 40 nations, sharing your testimony in a different church meeting every Sunday, and eating new food and fruits in countries you never even heard of!
But time went on and all the glamour quickly wore off.
All of a sudden your own home country seemed like a beautiful dream. Roommates started to get irritating, sea voyages were no longer enchanting, seasickness was a hard endurance, and many wondered if they made a huge mistake by joining for two long years. But it was a good training for young people in the area of reality because persistence is reality. During the testimony times when people were leaving the ship, they often told how long they had been on board. For example,“My name is Mary. I’ve been on board one year, eleven and ½ months.” Then they would tell what they learned during their time on board. I am surprised someone hasn’t yet told how many hours and minutes he/she has lived on board! But just to press the point, ship life had a lot of persistence and endurance for a young person.
There is no getting around it for any of us - old or young. No matter who we are or what job we have, if we are going to reach the world for Christ we will have to persist. Intercessors have to persist. It’s part of their calling. Persistence is reality. The real world is not always exciting. It may have exciting moments but in between those mountaintop experiences, there is a lot of persistence.
If we all stop and think about it, life is not easy for anyone. Every job includes endurance and persistence. Prayer takes persistence. There are wilderness and dry times when you think you are the only one praying. There are times when you feel as if you’ve prayed a thousand times without an answer. Real purposeful ministry takes time and persistence as it develops. Everything good takes endurance. People think that living here at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC) is all excitement. It takes a very high level of persistent prayer for everyone here. Rick Joyner, a wise prophetic leader, author and founder of the Morning Star ministry, says:
“Many will come at first because a new work is always exciting. However, they will not have the stability or endurance to stay through the wilderness and dry times, which we must always go through to get to the place where we receive the promises of God and the Promised land, to the fulfillment of the promises. In fact, we can see in both Scripture and history that the quicker and easier the promises are fulfilled, the less significant the purpose.”
When we are praying for something big, we need great patience. It takes both faith and patience to inherit the promise. We read in Hebrews 6:11-12 “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” The greater the purpose, the greater the faith and patience are required. Persistence is reality.
Persistent Prayer Does Not Give Up
“Persistent praying never faints or grows weary. It is never discouraged. It never yields to cowardice, but is lifted up and sustained by a hope that knows no despair and a faith that will not let go. Persistent praying has patience to wait and strength to continue. It never prepares itself to quit praying, and it refuses to get up from its knees until an answer is received.” E. M. Bounds
Not to give up means not to faint or lose heart. It is steady prayer. It’s long-term and not for the faint-hearted. It stands firm. It displays a trust in God that says, “I am going to believe you for the answer in your way and your timing.” When we persist in prayer, we cover every aspect of the need from a variety of perspectives. We see it from the big perspective and from the tiniest aspect. We don’t forget the prayer because we carry it with us, and it’s in our routine. We knock and knock at heaven’s door. We are passionate about it.
There is not one of us who doesn’t have to be persistent in prayer.
It’s part of our training for reigning. We have to learn to wait no matter how hard it is. Patience is not one of our favorite words. It’s so exciting to run around and do things, but to wait and pray is hard work. And to keep from getting discouraged is another story. Many of us live in cultures where waiting is not considered a virtue. But God sees things differently than we do. Waiting is often the best use of our time. I’ve written about it often because I feel it is the important DNA of an intercessor. We have to patiently wait and persist in prayer. We have to stand firm without wavering and then we have to wait some more.
The Apostle Paul was a fast-moving individual but he learned the secret of persistent prayer. He said to the Church in Thessalonica,“Night and day we pray more earnestly that we may see you again" (1 Thessalonians 3:10). To the Church in Colosse he said, “We have not stopped praying for you….” (Colossians 1:9). To the Church in Ephesus he said,“I keep asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…. may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17).
When we lived in Virginia Beach, my husband and I used to walk around a lake for exercise in the evenings. Every year a carnival would set up their rides and food stands right near that area. We’d walk past it as well as through it several times on our brisk walk around the lake. Many people think traveling with a carnival must be exciting and fun. Children think it must be the most exciting life one could have! Lots of rides, hot dogs, and cotton candy all the time! We watched those carnival workers closely as we walked. They looked tired, bored, worn out, and hopeless. The weather was humid and it rained a lot, so that you had to tiptoe through the mud puddles. Often the rides had only a couple of riders. Where was all the excitement? There wasn’t any. It was hard work and persistence.
We, who represent Jesus, must be persistent, patient, and persevering in our prayers.
We must be the ones who stand the strongest in persistent prayer and in every occupation in life. It’s easy to give up, but we are representing a King and living for a Kingdom that will never end. Next time you feel like quitting, look up the following verses: Luke 11:5-10, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Luke 18:1-5, 1 Thessalonians 3:10, Col. 1:9, and Genesis 32:26. This is not the time to give up but to stand firm. We are laying hold of God’s strength as we pray. Keep on knocking on heaven’s door. It will pay off dramatically in the end, because God not only hears but He answers persistent prayer in a powerful way.
The following will help you to be persistent in prayer. I invite you to see my four new facebook pages for my books: Breakthrough Prayer, Ascending the Height in Prayer, Deeper Still, and 24/7 Prayer Arise. Join and like the Intercessors Arise facebook page for daily encouragement in your prayer life. For bi-monthly training in prayer, have your friends sign up for Intercessors Arise here.
“Persistence has various elements - the main ones are perseverance, determination, and intensity. It begins with a refusal to readily accept denial. This develops into a determination to persevere, to spare no time or trouble until the answer comes. This grows in intensity until the whole being is given to God in supplication. Boldness comes to lay hold of God’s strength. At one time, it is quiet; at another, bold. At one point, it waits in patience, but at another, it claims at once what it desires. In whatever different shape, persistence always means and knows that God hears prayer: I must be heard.” Andrew Murray
Together in the Harvest,
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer (IHOP) KC Staff