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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Purposes Behind Persistent Prayers

In review of Ephesians 6:18 it says, Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere."

Bottom Line:
With the Spirit's help, pray on every occasion, especially for others. Always keep alert and never give up as you pray.

What this means to me:
On every occasion, I am to use the power of the Spirit to help me pray for others. I am to keep alert, never giving up in my prayers for them.

Part of this verse in Ephesians 6:18 says, “..Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers..” (NLT, second edition).

Why should I keep praying when there seems to be no answer on the horizon? It seems there is purpose behind persistent prayers on my part. What I’m learning is that there are four reasons:

First, persistent prayer focuses my attention. When I pray a prayer request over and over, it’s not to remind God. He doesn’t need to be reminded! It’s to remind myself who the source of my answer and all of my needs is. If every prayer you ever prayed were instantly answered, two things would be true. First, prayer would become a weapon of destruction. And, I’d never think about God, because he would become a vending machine. If every time I prayed I instantly received results, all I’d think about is the blessing. God wants me to think about the Blesser.

Second, persistent prayer clarifies my request. A delayed answer gives me the time to clarify exactly what I want and to refine my prayers. When I pray persistently to my heavenly Father and I say something over and over again, it separates deep longings from mere whims. It says, “God, I really care about this.” It’s not that God doesn’t want to answer my prayers. He does. It’s just that he wants me to be certain that that’s what I really want.

Thirdly, persistent prayer tests my faith. James 1:3-4 says, “When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” The only way I can grow to spiritual maturity is to have my faith tested. One of the ways God’s going to test my faith is by delaying some answers to my prayers.

Fourth, persistent prayer prepares my heart for the answer. When I make a request of God, God almost always wants to answer in a bigger and better way than I’ve prayed. Sometimes God denies my prayer requests because I’m thinking and asking too small. He wants to give me something bigger and better. But first, he has to prepare me for it. So God uses delays in answering prayer to help me grow, to help me get ready, to help prepare me for a bigger and better answer.

I should keep in mind that, “God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20 NCV).

In summary, I am to to use the power of the Spirit to help me pray for others at all times. I am to keep alert and to never give up in my prayers for them. God, this mornings verse gives me a much better understanding of what takes place when I pray for something over and over again. You have a purpose in delay, and most of it relates to you helping to grow and refocusing me personally. I’m reminded this morning that my persistence in prayer will help focus my attention, reminding me of who the source of the answer really is. It helps to clarify my request, giving me time to separate mere whims from true longings. It also helps to test and build my faith as I learn to wait through a delay. It could also be preparing my heart for perhaps something even bigger, which ultimately helps me to grow.