We see many instances in scripture where we’re encouraged to pray persistently. Here’s how to be persistent in prayer and hear from God.
What does it mean to be persistent in prayer? We see many instances in scripture where we’re encouraged to pray persistently, fervently, and effectively. While it can be frustrating to pray for something repeatedly, it can also bend the ear of God and eventually give us the answer we need to hear (even if that answer is “no” or “not yet”).
Let’s read through some bible verses and biblical examples of persistence in prayer, and then, using those passages, we’ll walk through what praying persistently means and how we can integrate it in our own life.
Related: How to Pray Scripture
Pray Persistently & Being Persistent in Prayer Verses
Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Again I say, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Never stop praying,
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
There’s also a parable about persistence that we find in the Gospel of Luke. In Luke 11:5, Jesus asked, “Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves?” From this parable, Jesus continued that teach his disciples that, though the friend on the other side of the door refused to help, he finally changed his mind because of the power of persistent prayer. Jesus’s point is clear here — sometimes our prayers must be fervent and persistent to be effective.
What Does it Mean to be Persistent in Prayer?
Based on what we read in scripture, we learn what it means to pray persistently:
– being persistent in prayer means to pray consistently about something over an extended period of time.
– persistently praying means to pray boldly and without giving up when we get discouraged.
– persistent in prayer means not being distracted from our prayers by other things we must do, or by distractions such as television, phone calls, or texts.
– persistent prayer means to pray in agreement with other Christians; for example, your church family, small group, or prayer team.
– persistent in prayer means praying for specific things in addition to simply praising and thanking God for what he already does.
– persistent in prayer means to pray when you feel like it, and also when you don’t feel like it.
When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.
– persistent in prayer means praying everywhere – even when we are at work, home or school – but not for recognition or our own glory. We should not seek to be seen by others as we pray; however, we should still make time for corporate prayer (gathering to pray together with other believers).
– to pray persistently means praying without giving up, and not losing heart when we don’t see results right away. It also includes believing God will answer our prayers, even if it takes a long time.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
– persistent in prayer means asking for what we need when we need it – not just during traditional scheduled times like Sunday morning.
– persistent in prayer means knowing that God is working all the time, not just when we are present to see it or acknowledge it.
I John 5:14-15
If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of him.
– persistent in prayer means asking for wisdom instead of just asking for things.
But if you need wisdom, you should ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.
– persistent in prayer means not giving up when we do not see results right away, while also trusting that God knows best.
– being persistent in prayer includes praying even when we cannot feel God’s presence, knowing he is still with us and hears us.
Being persistent in prayer also means that we need to use discernment and be sensitive to when God is saying no about something. Sometimes he wants to lead us in a different direction and we may not see it at the time. This does not mean we stop praying, it simply means we pray for the wisdom to know what God desires: “Not my will, but thy will be done” (Luke 22:42).
Finally, let’s look at the account of Elijah in the Old Testament. In 1 Kings 18, he challenges the prophets of the false god, Baal, to show what their “god” could do. He tells them to pray that their god would send down fire and consume the sacrifice on the altar. Of course, their god didn’t answer.
When Elijah asks God to consume the sacrifice on his altar, God does it right away. Amen! Praise God! It’s an exciting moment. However, just a little later in the passage, Elijah asks for God to send rain…and he waits. And he waits some more. He sends his messenger out SIX times to search for any sign of rain that might be coming. Nothing. Then, on the SEVENTH time, he sees the small cloud off in the distance and knows God is about to answer his prayer and send a great rain.
God hears our persistent prayers. He doesn’t always answer on our timeline. Sometimes the answer we’re searching for comes after fervently praying, looking out over the horizon yet again, continually expecting to hear from heaven.
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You might also like:
- Learning How to Pray, For Beginners
- A Prayer For Peace in the Family
- “God Please Help Me Through This” – How to Pray When You’re Hurting
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