Are we persistent and unwavering in our prayer life, and confident in our faithful God or is our prayer life filled with doubts, worry and fear? Do we expect God to hear and respond to our prayers or do we think God has turned a deaf ear? Is our prayers a few seconds of weak, unfocused words with little trust or faith? Are our prayers a mere formality, a vein repetition of words with little heart and passion in them?
There is probably no more challenging discipline in a believer’s life than developing a powerful and consistent prayer life. No limits are set to the power of prayer.
Many of the miracles we read about in the Bible came about because of persistence. Think about the story of the woman with the issue of blood who had been bleeding for twelve years. Doctors could do nothing to help her. She was considered “unclean” by the people of her time and was often ignored. If she came near people, they would move away from her to avoid contamination. But she heard about Jesus! Even though she was an outcast, even if she had to crawl, she would not be denied the opportunity to at least touch the hem of His garment. Who would know? And, maybe, if she touched Him, she would finally be healed.
So, she pressed through the crowd. She persisted, and, with a shaking arm, she reached her weak fingers out to grasp the hem of his robe. She quickly let go, no doubt overwhelmed by the warmth and power of God’s love that began to flow through her body and heal what was wrong with her. She felt the power of the Lord because of her persistence – and He felt her! He knew who she was. Jesus felt power leave His body and stopped everything to find out who had touched Him.
Luke 8:47 (ESV) says, “And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.”
One of the most powerful aspects of fasting and prayer is when we learn to fast and pray with persistence. The enemy hates it when we fast and pray persistently. Here are three things you might not realize about the importance of fasting and persistence:
When you persistently pray and fast, it brings you to a place where God moves powerfully in your life. The woman received her healing when she persistently pursued Jesus. There is something about when you persistently pursuing God.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (KJV)
When you persistently pray and fast, it causes God to feel your need, just as He felt the touch of the woman who needed healing, even in the midst of the crowd.
When you persistently pray and fast, it breaks yokes and bondages, and the forces of resistance that have been operating in your life. The woman had been bleeding for years with no relief, but her persistence broke through the forces of resistance in her life.
When you persistently pray and fast, it brings you to a place where God moves powerfully in your life. The woman received her healing when she persistently pursued Jesus.
When you persistently pray and fast, it causes God to feel your need, just as He felt the touch of the woman who needed healing, even during the crowd.
No matter how long you have been in need of healing, it’s not too late to start persistently fasting and praying for a miracle. If you need to experience a breakthrough increase in any area of your life, be persistent in bringing it before the Lord. Remember, persistence breaks resistance!
There are times when we want quick results, instant answered prayers when we pray, but that’s not how God moves. We think that maybe we are doing something wrong or that God does not hear us. We may even question if he hears me. But we are so wrong when we think in this way. God hears every prayer, and He does answer us – but it is in His way and in His timing. We are so quick to give up, cave in, and quit. We so quickly throw in the towel. In Luke 18:1-5 (NIV) Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow who never gave up:
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time, he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming.'”
The word “persist” in Webster’s dictionary means “to stand or be fixed, to continue steadfastly and firmly in the pursuit of any cause, to pursue, not receding from the purpose, not to give up or abandon.” That persistent widow wanted justice and did not waver, she did not give up. She was in pursuit. She stood firmly and did not give up in her asking. Finally, the judge answered her request because of her persistence. Prayer takes persistence.
There is power in prayer. There is also, power in persistent prayer. Prayer is a believer’s lifeline. Life rewards those who are persistent, who never give up, and who continue until they complete the course.
When we are standing in prayer and believing God for something, we need great patience. It takes both faith and patience to inherit the promise. We read in Hebrews 6:11-12 “Persistent Prayer Does Not Give Up
“Persistent praying never faints or grows weary. It is never discouraged. It never yields to cowardice but is lifted up and sustained by a hope that knows no despair and a faith that will not let go. Persistent praying has patience to wait and strength to continue. It never prepares itself to quit praying, and it refuses to get up from its knees until an answer is received.” E. M. Bounds
Galatians 6:9, NIV: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
That also means if you do not give up, cave in, and quit. Due season always comes for the believer.
Not to give up means not to faint or lose heart. It is steady prayer. It is long-term and not for the faint-hearted. It stands firm. It displays a trust in God that says, “I am going to believe you for the answer in your way and timing.” When we persist in prayer, we cover every aspect of the need from a variety of perspectives. We see it from the big perspective and from the tiniest aspect. We do not forget the prayer because we carry it with us, and it is in our heart.
HERE ARE 5 PRAYERS FROM WOMEN OF THE BIBLE TO INSPIRE YOUR FAITH:
1. ELIZABETH, MOTHER OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
Elizabeth had spent years carrying the shame of infertility. In her culture, those around her saw infertility as an ignominy, an indicator of a hidden sin or disfavor in God’s eyes. But Elizabeth and her husband carried on faithfully in the service of the Lord and saw His blessing in their old age. They conceived a son, years after children seemed like an impossibility, and gave birth to the prophesied one who would prepare the people for the arrival of the Messiah.
After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” – Luke 1: 24-25, ESV
When Elizabeth became pregnant, she hid herself, overwhelmed with God’s goodness towards her. She did not need a parade of people exclaiming over her miracle, it was simply enough to know that her God saw her. May we, like Elizabeth, recognize God’s goodness and seek His recognition above our own.
2. MARY, MOTHER OF CHRIST
Mary, the young virgin who found herself pregnant with the Son of God, was given reason for both joy and trepidation. But Mary did not fear what people would do, because she knew the wonder and might of her God. She did not try to rationalize or control the situation, she simply accepted God at His word and offered herself as a willing vessel. Upon seeing her cousin, Elizabeth, she burst forth with joy proclaiming the goodness of the Lord.
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” – Luke 1: 46-55, ESV
Mary knew the history of what God had done for His people. She knew His character and faithfulness throughout time, as displayed in what He had done for His people and was continuing to do in sending the Messiah. She recalled repeatedly the times God had turned the world upside down, knowing that He was about to do it again. Our God is bigger than our time. Mary understood that and opened her eyes to see a scene that extended far before and beyond her life. Like Mary, may we look beyond our circumstances and praise God for His continued goodness to His people.
3. ANNA, THE PROPHETESS
Like Elizabeth, Anna had been waiting on the Lord for many years. Since she was a young woman, she had spent her time continually fasting and praying. But her prayers were not in vain. Anna, along with Simeon, was one of the first to recognize the Messiah, incarnate as an infant child.
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. – Luke 2:36-38, ESV
While we do not know specifically what Anna was praying for, we know she spent year after year praying and fasting. Did she grow weary during those years? I know I would have. Even in my relatively much shorter lifespan, I constantly grow weary and wonder if my prayers matter. But Anna persisted, faithfully.
4. THE CANAANITE WOMAN
I do not know the name of this woman, but I do know that her faith shakes me to my core. She boldly followed the Lord and those around Him labeled her an annoyance. Despite not being an Israelite, she recognized their God as the true holder of power. She fell before Him and argued her case, as one oppressed might stand before a judge demanding justice.
And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us. “He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. “But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. “Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire. “And her daughter was healed instantly. – Matthew 15: 21-28, ESV
Despite what others said, she kept on asking the Lord to show her His power. May persistence and bold faith identify our prayer life as identified this nameless woman in Scripture that has been recorded for us model.
5. MARY OF BETHANY
Mary’s prayer was an act of extravagant love and devotion. And for that extravagance, others reprimanded her, but her Lord defended her.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So, they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” – John 12:1-8, ESV
The Apostle Paul learned the secret of persistent prayer. He said to the Church in Thessalonica, “Night and day we pray more earnestly that we may see you again” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). To the Church in Colossians he said, “We have not stopped praying for you….” (Colossians 1:9). To the Church in Ephesus he said, “I keep asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…. may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17).
Why persistent prayer is so powerful?
Persistent prayer keeps us connected to God so his Spirit can mold us into the image of Christ. When we pray, the Holy Spirit can work in our lives in ways like never before. The more we pray, continuing to trust our problems and needs to the Lord, the more he makes us the people he intends us to be and empowers us for the challenges we face.
Remember, persistence is not repeating words, it’s when you stay focus on God’s Word, and His promise, standing in faith, that’s when you will receive the answer to what you were standing for. Be consistent and persistent in prayer. Do not give up!! Keep on praying! The answer is on the way!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”
John 3:16 (Verse on Bible Hub)