BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

MARCH 15, 2024

TOPIC: BE PERSISTENT IN PRAYER

BY T. O. BANSO

Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God” (Colossians 4:2 Good News Translation).

Prayer is not peculiar to Christianity. Both Christians and non-Christians pray. Why they pray, who they pray to, how they pray, and the answers they get are often different.

In 1 Kings 18, the prophets of Baal called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” but they got no reply. They danced, hobbling around the altar they had made but all was in vain. The Prophet Elijah mocked them, asking them to shout louder and telling them that probably their god was daydreaming, relieving himself, away on a trip, or was asleep and needed to be wakened. All their efforts in prayer were wasted. Verses 28-29 say, “So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response” (New Living Translation).

But when Elijah called upon his God, He answered by fire. “Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, ‘The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!’ (1 Kings 18:38-39 New Living Translation).

That day, Elijah commanded that the people should seize all the prophets of Baal and take them to the Kishon Valley and kill them there. This was done.

God answers prayers if, among other things, we are persistent in prayer. Persistence in prayer is very important. One of the reasons some people don’t get answers to their prayers is lack of persistence. Some people see prayer as a fire brigade activity! They don’t have a prayer life but pray only to handle emergencies, and easily give up when there are no immediate answers.

Paul said in Colossians 4:2, Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God” (Good News Translation). Note the phrase “Be persistent in prayer.” The New King James Version renders it as “Continue earnestly in prayer.” The Living Bible says, “Don’t be weary in prayer.” Some people start praying over an issue but are not persistent in prayer. They become weary and give up too early. Whether it is about praying over an issue or as a lifestyle, God wants His children to be persistent in prayer.

In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus taught a parable that men should always pray and not faint or give up. In that parable, Jesus emphasized the need for importunity or persistency. The widow, in the parable, got justice against her adversary from a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men because she never allowed the judge to rest; she kept bothering him. Verses 7-8 say, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (New International Version). Note the phrase “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” Be persistent in prayer. Cry to God, day and night. He will answer you if your request agrees with His will for you. God will see that you get justice quickly.

Be persistent in prayer. Jesus said, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8 Holman Christian Standard Bible). The three phrases keep asking, keep searching, and keep knocking all refer to persistence. Be persistent in prayer.

Jesus also emphasized persistence in prayer in Luke 11. He said, “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him. Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything’’” (Luke 11:5-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible).

Jesus said that even if this friend would not get up and give something to his friend because he was his friend, but because of his persistence, he would get up and give him as much as he needed (Luke 11:8). “So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (verses 9-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible).

Be persistent in prayer. Romans 12:12 says, Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer” (Holman Christian Standard Bible). Note the last part of that scripture: be persistent in prayer. The Contemporary English Version puts Romans 12:12 this way: “Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying.” Never stop praying means the same thing as being persistent in prayer. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 also says,Never stop praying” (New Living Translation). When the answers to your prayers are yet to manifest, continue to pray. Colossians 4:2 says, Never stop praying. Be ready for anything by praying and being thankful” (Easy-to-Read Version).

Make prayer a lifestyle. Don’t see it as a fire-fighting activity. Cultivate persistence in prayer. Be persistent in praying for yourself and others. “Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people” (Ephesians 6:18 Contemporary English Version). Pray continually. Don’t be weary. Never give up.

The Prophet Isaiah says concerning Jerusalem, Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch” (Isaiah 62:1 New Living Translation). Don’t stop praying for those you are praying for until the answers come. Be persistent.

Verses 6-7 say, “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth” (New Living Translation).

Be persistent in prayer. Give God no rest until you receive the manifestation of answers to your prayer. Pray in faith and according to His will. He will answer you, but it may not be when and how you want it. 1 John 5:14 says this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Be persistent in prayer.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Hope Spirit, help me to be persistent in prayer, praying in faith and according to the will of God. I shall never stop praying; I shall pray continually and receive answers to my prayers in Jesus’ name.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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