Persevering Prayer

If Christians were completely honest with themselves, I believe that many would confess that nothing is actually happening when we pray. It is easy to not see any impact from our personal prayer life therefore relegating the practice and discipline of prayer to something that is secondary or less important in our relationship with Christ. And yet the older I get the more and more I am convinced that prayer is the first and primary work of the Christian.

There are many times I wish I could visibly see and experience a more direct impact with my prayer life. I wish I could see heavenly activity occur when I am praying for a non-believer or for unity within the body of Christ. I wish I could see the work that was happening within the spiritual realm.

When I was in college I read Frank Peretti’s book This Present Darkness which is the fictional story of a spiritual battle being played out within a small college town. And in the book, Peretti described the impact that praying Christians were having within the spiritual realms as angels and demons battled. The correlational between the prayers of the Believers and the spiritual battle was portrayed as real and immediate. It was exciting to image that this was what was actually being played out as we recognized that our true battle was not against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers. As I read the book, I longed to have a prayer life that would be having the same impact. Could I also pray in a way that impacted the salvation of people? Could my prayers impact the work of the Gospel around the world?

And my heart to pray was stirred. But the challenge I faced was I couldn’t see the spiritual battle. I didn’t know if my prayers were actually impacting anything. And when it seemed like I was not seeing immediate results, it would lead to giving up. Unanswered prayers can produce discouragement in us leading to the assumption that maybe I just need to focus on other things in my Christian life where I can see tangible results.

But one of the misconceptions about prayer is that we can view it more as a sprint rather than a marathon. We see it as something that should lead to quick results. When in fact, there is often a labor that is required with prayer. There is a perseverance that is required in prayer. And that labor and the call to perseverance can lead to many Christians neglecting or simply avoiding prayer.

But there is purpose to the labor. There is purpose to the perseverance.

And I believe one of the purposes is those persevering prayers brings us to a place of full and complete dependence on God. Our prayer life is often more about what God is doing in our own life then whether a request was answered or not.

If my prayer was always immediately granted then I think two things might happen. 1) I would receive something that would not necessarily be good for me as my prayers are not always aligned to the will of God and 2) I would begin to believe the power was coming from me.

Persevering prayer reminds me that apart from Christ I can do nothing. As humans, we can too easily believe that Christ is there to do those “extra things” that we can’t do on our own. But in fact, the Christian must recognize that apart from Christ (who holds all things together) we can do nothing. Prayer continually brings me to that place where I realize I am a man in need. Prayer is also continually reminding me that the work that I am doing on earth is not my own work but the work of the Father. Prayer brings me back to the work of the disciple.

In my own life, the seasons I have a greater sense of seeing God at work in my life is when I am persevering in prayer. There is a connection between my prayer life and truly having my heart and mind set on things above. And yet too often we neglect the most significant thing that truly allows us to enter into the work of the Kingdom of God and experience the joy of the kingdom of God.

My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, if prayer has seemed hard in your life, if it has often felt like it was not producing anything, please do not give up. Keep persevering. Keep laboring. The work that is being produced in you as you devote yourself to prayer is significant. When you persevere in prayer, we are persevering in the very work of the Kingdom of God. As you persevere, I truly believe God will open your heart and mind and eyes to what he is doing all around you. And a you persevere I truly believe that God will shape your heart to reflect His heart.

Do not give up! God is doing His work in you through prayer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *