From watchfulness, we move on to perseverance in prayer. Have you ever prayed about something and felt like no one was listening? Time and time again, you have brought your request before the Lord and yet nothing changes. What do you do then? If you are like most people, you will be tempted to just give up. Don’t do that! Jesus taught a parable about a woman pestering a judge until he heeded her request with the intention of exhorting us always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1–8).
Don’t Give Up
When we don’t see immediate answers to our prayers, we tend to want to give up. That’s when we need perseverance. Effective praying is like running a marathon. Endurance is the key. Do you remember the wonderful promise Jesus made concerning prayer? “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
What most people fail to realize is that this is a conditional promise. Unfortunately, the condition is missed in most of our English translations. The condition is perseverance. A literal rendering of the Greek text reads, “Keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.” How many times have we failed to receive an answer to our prayers because we have failed to meet the condition of perseverance?
One of the greatest obstacles to perseverance in prayer was evident in the apostles themselves. Jesus said of them, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). To persevere in prayer takes commitment, discipline, and self-sacrifice.
Can you imagine how many times George Müeller must have felt like giving up during those fifty years of praying for the salvation of his two friends? But he was committed, and we must also be committed if we expect to see the enemy vanquished, God’s work flourish, and souls brought to Christ. Persevere in prayer. “You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:6–7).