When I first began this series on prayer, I challenged all of us to make prayer a habit. I suggested putting up “Have I prayed about it?” Post-It Notes all over the place to get us thinking about prayer continually.
“Have I prayed about it?” is a great start. But then I need to ask, “How long have I prayed about it?” or maybe even, “How long am I willing to pray about it?”
Thomas Merton wrote, “What is the use of praying if at the very moment of prayer we have so little confidence in God that we are busy planning our own kind of answer to our prayer?” In other words, why do we go through the motions of praying and then strike out on our own? Or why do we pray for a little bit and then think, “Oh, perhaps God isn’t interested in this prayer”?
In Romans 12:12, the apostle Paul challenged us to never stop praying:
- faithful in prayer (NIV)
- constant in prayer (AMP)
- prayerful always (TLB)
- continuing steadfastly (NKJV)
This verb emphasizes the –ing part. Even though this is a verb, it’s what is known as a “verbal noun”: the noun pray is the same thing as the verb praying.
This Greek word is defined as: devoted, giving unremitting care to something, being courageous in perseverance, and staying at constant readiness. I would sum it up this way—
Prayer that is both persistent and insistent!
When Jesus teaches us that the motive for our prayer is, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done,” He is also implying that this requires continuous—persistent and insistent—involvement. With every prayer, we are persistently and insistently advancing God’s Kingdom and God’s glory.
One of my favorite stories in the Gospels is of a persistent and insistent mother. Her daughter was in desperate need, and she simply would not take “no” for an answer. She insistently kept asking Jesus for a miraculous touch, and Jesus finally said, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”
I’m also moved by the insistent and persistent prayer of Nehemiah. He prayed, “Give Your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of [King Artaxerxes].” He prayed this every day for over 4 months. The king finally noticed Nehemiah’s downcast face, asked him what was wrong, and then “because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.”
Nehemiah kept praying for 120 days or more, believing every day God would open the door of favor. In the meantime, God was moving things into place so that when Artaxerxes finally noticed Nehemiah’s downcast face, and Nehemiah shared what was on his heart, the king granted every single request!
Friends, don’t be timid in your prayers and don’t give up praying. P.U.S.H.—Pray Until Something Happens. Pray for God’s glory to be seen, for His kingdom to advance on earth, and for His will to be done.
Prayer starts it, prayer sustains it, prayer successfully concludes it!
Let me say it again: DON’T STOP PRAYING!
If you missed any of the messages in our Be A First Responder series, you may access all of them by clicking here.