Persevering Prayer

Daniel 10:12-13-“Do not be afraid Daniel.  Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.  But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.  Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 

            In our society of instant gratification it is very hard waiting for anything.  If you want the news, you don’t have to wait for the newspaper anymore, instantly you can find whatever you want on yourphone.  We don’t want to wait for food, for checkout lines, for commercials, for things to download, or for traffic.  Two things people WILL wait for are Starbucks and Disney lines! 

            Prayer is the same way, we have become a very impatient people when it comes to prayer, we want to say our piece and be done, 5 minutes max… I am guilty of the same thing.  Why is it so hard to pray for a long time or even at all?  I feel it comes down to wanting instant satisfaction; we don’t want to see prayer through and wait on God.  We also may not believe it is working.  We say our obligatory prayers at dinner or bedtime without believing in the true power of prayer.  Do YOU truly believe in the power of prayer?  After all, a “good” Christian can’t say no to this question right?  But more important than “saying” is “doing” and are you acting upon what you believe by making prayer a focus in your life?  If someone really believes in the power of prayer, they would not hesitate to make this a part of their day. 

            Let’s look at some examples of committed and persevering prayer in the Bible-

  • 2 Samuel 12:16-18- David prayed for his sick child for 7 days, even though it was unanswered, and his child died, David submitted to God’s authority in that moment but still trusted in the power of prayer through the situation. 
  • Nehemiah1:4- Nehemiah fasted and prayed for days when he heard of the condition of Jerusalem, this empowered him to fulfill the call to action God placed on his heart.
  • Daniel 6:10- Three times a day Daniel got down on his knees and prayed, which he did even though there was a law against it. He was thrown in the lion’s den but God spared him. 
  • Acts10:30- An angel appeared to Cornelius after his prayers and gifts to the poor and introduced him to Peter.
  • Luke2:37-38- Anna never left the temple but worshipped night and day, praying and fasting, she was rewarded with seeing the Messiah before she died

Can you imagine praying for DAYS?  How about an hour?  It’s hard, probably harder than it has ever been for a society with our distractions. I always found Daniel 10 fascinating. Here we have Daniel praying and an angel comes and reassures him that his prayer was heard on DAY ONE, but he was stopped by the prince of thePersian Kingdom.  Now whether this was anactual person or more likely a demonic presence over the area, the fact of the story is that there is a spiritual battle at play when we pray.  Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we fight not against flesh and blood but against spiritual rulers of this world.  Do you believe this?  If you do, it will help us keep perspective on the power of prayer.  We are spared (thankfully) from seeing these battles take place, but we can take comfort in the fact that prayer is a powerful tool we have as Christians. 

1 Thessalonians 5:17 commands us to “pray without ceasing.”  This sounds impossible but I feel it is more of a call to take prayer with you throughout the day, in your thoughts pray, when frustrated pray, when discouraged pray, when you rejoice pray.  Both Enoch and Noah ‘walked with God’ (Genesis 5:24; 6:9).  They didn’t just sit, kneel or stand in prayer with God, but they were in communion with Him when going about their daily lives. We need to strive to be the same way, in our daily, often menial activities; we need to take God with us. Jesus was called Immanuel (Matthew 1:23), meaning God with us, and He is as long as we make the effort to keep Him a part of our daily routines.

Maybe you are thinking “I tried prayer once but it didn’twork” or “I really needed something I prayed for that wasn’t answered”, brother or sister do not be discouraged, the Bible commands us to persevere in prayer, if you do not get an answer to prayer, do not give up!  Prayer is not always answered but it is never wasted! If you find prayer difficult, like anything the more you practice something the easier it gets, start small with prayer if you need to and work your way up.  Prayer helps connect us to our Heavenly Father, it is a vital aspect of a Christian’s life, and like a good father, He knows exactly what we need! 

Discerning Reflection: Do I pray enough every day?  How would I know if I pray enough? Do I TRULY believe in the POWER of prayer or do I just go through the motions?  Do I pray with my spouse enough?

Prayer: Lord, help me be more focused when I pray, help me see the value in communicating with you daily.  Give me greater faith that prayer works and that you want to communicate with me.  Help my unbelief, allow my prayer life to be an example to those around me.  Amen.

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