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Why Persistence Matters in Prayer

Greg Laurie

(Photo: Unsplash)

Imagine if God came to you and said, “I will give you whatever you want. Just ask for it.” What would you pray for? That actually happened to King Solomon. God appeared to him one night in a dream and said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” (1 Kings 3:5 NLT).

Solomon replied, “Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” (verse 9 NLT).

Then God told Solomon that because he didn’t ask for riches, a long life, or the death of his enemies, He would give him the wisdom he asked for—and the other things as well.

That’s a perfect example of what Jesus taught when He said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT).

The New Testament book of Matthew tells us about two people who prayed the right way as well. As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem, knowing what He was about to suffer, two blind men on the roadside heard Him passing by and called out to Him.

Someone told them not to bother Jesus, but that made them cry out even louder. In fact, the word Matthew used, translated from the Greek, is “screamed.” I guess they believed the old adage: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Jesus heard them, stopped and answered their prayer. So here were two people with a very real need, and Jesus responded to their need. In a time of crisis they prayed, and so should we.

Getting in Touch with God

That is what prayer is for—to put us in touch with God. God said, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15 NKJV). Are you facing a crisis and don’t see any way you can resolve it?

Maybe it’s a family crisis. Maybe you’ve received bad news from a doctor. Or maybe it’s some other kind of crisis. Call on the Lord. The Bible says, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2 NKJV). Pray about the thing that is troubling you.

I love what the apostle Paul wrote: “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:18 NLT). In other words, pray about everything all the time.

God says, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV).

Of course, there are things that can hinder our prayers, like unconfessed sin for example. The Bible says, “The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore” (Isaiah 59:1–2 NLT).

The psalmist wrote, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18 NLT). If there is a sin in your life that you have not confessed to God, then confess it to Him. To confess means to agree with God, to see sin for what it is. Stop rationalizing it. Stop justifying it and saying that everyone else is doing it. Ask God to forgive you.

Idols in our hearts can hinder our prayers as well. An idol isn’t limited to some object that people bow before. Rather, an idol is anything or anyone that takes the place of God in our lives. A lot of things can become an idol. For some people, their idol is their appearance. It’s all about the way they look. They effectively worship themselves.

Some people worship money. They worship their possessions. They’re preoccupied with things like the cars they drive or the houses they live in, and they think about those things more than God Himself.

For others, an idol might be a person or a relationship that is pulling them down spiritually. Whatever idols may look like in our lives, they keep us from God.

Encouragement to Pray

Unforgiveness in our hearts also can hinder our prayers. Jesus said, “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25 NLT). We’ve all been hurt by people, haven’t we? But if we do not forgive, then bitterness will creep in, eating us up inside. It’s been said that bitterness is an acid that destroys its own container. We need to forgive so that our prayers won’t be hindered and so we can be free.

Unbelief can hinder our prayers as well. The Bible says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5–6 NLT).

Pray for wisdom, provision, and God’s blessing and direction, and expect God to answer. A lot of times we cancel out our prayers because we’re filled with so much doubt.

It’s amazing to think that God cares about us. He cares about the things that concern us. David asked in the Psalms, “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” (8:3–4 NLT).

Where I live in California, we don’t see that many stars. But whenever I’m in a place where they’re more visible, I’m stunned by how many stars I can see. It’s overwhelming to think that my God, my Creator, my Father made all of that, yet He cares about what I care about.

God is never too busy or preoccupied to take time for you. If it concerns you, it concerns Him. Do you have a need right now? Then call out to Jesus. Keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. Be persistent in your prayers.

This article was originally published at WND.com.

Courtesy of Greg Laurie