Why be persistent? Why is it that answers sometimes don’t come immediately?
Why should I keep on praying when the answer doesn’t come in my time table?
A purpose of prayer is to turn our focus toward God and away from our circumstances—our eyes off the problem and our eyes on Him—so we can talk to Him and not at him. Prayer will help us maintain a positive outlook of hope, gratitude, patience, and peace in the midst of our trial. Col. 4:2 says Prayer does not require eloquence, but earnestness.
Prayer is essential. The Bible says, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7
Begin by Praising God. Why should we praise God? Because he is worthy of our praise. Matthew 6:9 (TEV) This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; We can all find things in our lives for which we can praise him.
Pray with a clean heart. Confess your sins, and ask God to bring to your mind any unconfessed sin so you can deal with it with Him and He will hear your prayer. Isa. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. Also see 1 Peter 3:7.
Even when we’re ‘at out wits end’ and don’t know how or what to pray…
Remember, as believers–those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior—God sends his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, into our lives. When we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will pray for us! Romans 8:26 (Msg): God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter; He [the Holy Spirit] does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless signs, our aching groans.
Be forgiving. In your life, you will be hurt by others; sometimes intentionally; sometimes unintentionally. How you handle that hurt determines your happiness.
The Bible says forgive and be forgiven. In fact, Jesus says "if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done." (Matthew 6:15, TEV) They're inter-related. You might say, "I just can't forgive that person! They hurt me too badly." If that’s the case, then I hope you never sin.
For your own sake, let go of the past. If somebody hurt you, let go of it, release them. That's one of the values of prayer. It helps you unload. Forgiveness is the only way to get rid of the past. Forgive them and let it go. Get on with life. Forgiveness erases the videotape of that hurt memory that keeps playing over and over in your mind. You must learn to forgive. If you’re struggling with forgiving, tell God you want to forgive but need his help in letting go.
God already knows your needs. Matt. 6:7-8 [Jesus speaking] “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as some people do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
God wants us to see Him alone as the source of our needs. When we have to pray about something over and over, who do we look to? We look to the Lord. Persistent prayer focuses our attention. Have you discovered that we like to look to everybody else to solve our problem except the Lord? We look to our friends, we look to our family, we look to counselors, we look to the government, we look to anybody–except the Lord. God often delays an answer to force you to focus on Him.
Keep on praying when there's no answer, because persistent praying helps me focus on God. God wants me to remember that He alone is the source of my answers to prayer. The Bible says in Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
- If your request is wrong, God says “no.”
- If your timing is wrong, God says “slow.”
- If your character is wrong, God says “grow.”
- If your request is right, God says “go.”
Persistent praying also clarifies my requests. A delayed answer a lot of times gives me time to clarify ‘what do I really want?’ Time separates deep longings from mere whims. I've prayed for things and sometimes during the delay decided I didn't really want or need them after all.
God sometimes delays the answer to test you. It's not that He doesn't want to give it to you, He wants to know if you really want it. Do you want it enough to keep praying? Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Nothing worthwhile is accomplished with half-hearted prayers.
Persistent prayer will prepare me for the answer. God usually wants to do more than you are praying for. Surprise! God wants to do it greater and He needs time to get you ready for it. There are changes God wants to make in you. Ephesians 3:20 "Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us, is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes."
It’s been said, "Prayer changes things." Of course we know it is God who does the changing. But praying changes you. And God is more interested in you than He is in circumstances. Often as soon as you've made the change in your life the doors of heaven open and the answer comes. Expect a miracle.
Persistent praying strengthens and develops your faith. A mark of maturity is how long can you wait. Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." God is saying, "Hang on! Be patient! The harvest is coming. Don't give up! Look up!"
And pray "according to Your will, God." This is the confidence we have in approaching God --that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us 1 John 5:14. We should always desire and strive to be in the center of His will.
Recruit others to help in prayer support. Contact other believers and ask them to be praying for you. Be proactive; you’ll otherwise be depriving yourself of prayer support. Let others be blessed by both involving them and keeping them updated.