Definition for persistence- something existing for a long time or longer than usual time or continuously without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure
Some examples of persistent
- Noah continued to build the ark when everyone else was mocking and laughing
- Moses persisted against pharaoh – persisted when people complained and rebelled
- Paul persisted through personal affliction, stoning, shipwrecked, beatings
- Jesus persisted to the point of death (persistence is not giving up)
“Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit” Luke 18:1 (Msg)
PRAYING WITH PERSISTENCE
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
How many of you here this morning through periodic times found yourselves waiting on God. I mean a time when you prayed wholeheartedly for something that you believed was the will of God, and received nothing in response but an apparent icy silence from heaven (Raise you hand if you can relate). Perhaps you were praying for the salvation of a loved one. Maybe it was a prayer asking for God to send revival in the nation. How did you respond when you prayer wasn’t answered? Did you quit praying all together? Did you question whether or not you were praying according to the will of God or not? Did you stop attending prayer meetings? Come, but come late? We live in an instant society. People today want instant gratification. We have instant pudding so that we can have our dessert without going through the bother of making it. We have instant credit so that we can enjoy our purchase now instead of waiting until we can afford it. That instant gratification mindset also affects Christians when it comes to prayer. We want instant answers to our prayers so that we don’t have to go through all the time and effort to pray repeatedly for the same thing. God will not be rushed in His plans. If we are to have our prayers answered, then we will have to cultivate the discipline of persistence in prayer.
KEEP ON PRAYING UNTIL YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED
“Always keep on praying.”1 Thes. 5:17 (Living)
Some have said that praying more than one time for the same thing demonstrates a lack of faith and even an insult to the Lord- Although there are varieties of scriptures that teach persistence
The repeated intercessions of Abraham for the salvation of Sodom and Gomorrah show the necessity for importunate (shameless prayer) prayer. Jacob, wrestling all night with the angel, gives significant emphasis to the power of perseverance in praying. Moses prayed for forty days and forty nights, seeking to stay the wrath of God against Israel, and his example and success encourage our present day faith in its darkest hour. Elijah repeated and urged his prayer seven times revealing the success of his prayer and the victory of his faith. One occasion Daniel though faint and weak, pressed his case three weeks until the answer and the blessing came. Many nights during His earthly life Jesus spent in prayer. In Gethsemane He presented the same petition, three times, with unabated, yet submissive importunity, which involved the element of His soul, and issued tears and bloody sweat. The importunate friend is a classic example of insistent prayer.
THE FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT
See Luke 11:1 –5 When Jesus had finished praying one of his disciples came to Him and said Lord Teach us to pray
“Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,  because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’  “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs”. Luke 11:5-8 (NIV)
There are three persons in this parable– the one spoken for, the one who speaks, and the one appealed to. The Lord vividly contrasts the reluctance and the selfishness of the friend appealed to, with the openhanded and opened hearted generosity of the Heavenly Father. The man appealed to was not concerned with his friend’s distress. The argument runs: If even a self-centered and ungenerous human being to whom sleep was more important than his friend’s distress and need will reluctantly rise at midnight and supply the need because of his friend’s shameless persistence, how much more will God be moved by persistent prayer to meet His child’s need! The Lord Jesus is saying to us –“Keep on praying until you get what you need”. When you pray and you don’t obtain the thing the first time, pray again; and if we do not obtain it the second time, pray a third time; and if we do not obtain it the hundredth time, keep on praying until we do get it.
THE UNJUST JUDGE
“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes.” Luke 18:1 (Living)
Let’s continue reading the story of the Unjust Judge (see Luke 18:2-8). The parable of the heartless Judge, who had neither respect for God nor respect for men, teaches the same lesson even more strongly. If the defenseless but troublesome widow by her shameless persistence over came the reluctance of the unjust judge to do her justice, how much more will the believer be speedily vindicated in the courts heaven, where he has a strong Advocate, whose character is the exact opposite of the judge’s. In both parables, Jesus is careful to vindicate the character of God and to reveal His true nature and attitude. God is neither a selfish neighbor nor a crooked judge dispensing reluctant justice to a wronged widow because his comfort was being disturbed by her persistence. The lesson is that lukewarm ness in prayer, as in everything else, is nauseating to God and comes away empty-handed. (See Revelation 3:15-16) On the other hand, shameless persistence, that will not be denied returns with the answer in its hands.
THE CANAANITE WOMAN
“Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Matthew 15:21-22 (NIV)
Another story of shameless persistence. Let’s continue to read this story about the woman of Syrophenicia. (See Matthew 15:23-28) We have an illustration of this Holy boldness in the woman of Syrophenicia. She came to Jesus Christ for the healing of her daughter. She cried, “have mercy on me, O’ Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.” But our Lord seemed to pay no attention to her: He answered her not a word.” His disciples urged Him to send her away. In spite of His apparent deafness to her appeal, she kept on crying. Then he turned to her with an apparently more positive rebuff: “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of
Israel,” and she was not of the House of Israel.” Then she persistent in worshipping Him calling to Him saying, “Lord, help me.” Then came what almost appears to be a cruel rebuff: “It is not right to take the childrens bread and cast it to dogs.”(the word He used for dogs was a peculiar word that meant little pet dog, and was not at all as harsh as it seems, although it was an apparent refusal to hear her prayer, But, as we shall see, our Lord was simply putting her faith to the test that she might get even a larger blessing.) Then she said, “Truth Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table.” She was in essence saying, since I am a dog and the dogs have a right to eat the crumbs from the masters table then my daughter has a right to be healed. And then came one of the most wonderful words of commendation from our Lord.
“Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:28 (NIV)
This type of faith pleases God. He would have us have that faith in His loving-kindness and in himself that, even when He seems not to hear, we will trust Him still to hear. God does not always give you the things you ask the first time you ask. God wants to train you in persistent faith. Why it is that God does not give us the things we ask, the first time we ask? The answer is plain: Jesus would do us the far greater good of training us in persistent faith. For our own good God compels us to be persistent in our efforts so don’t give up; keep on praying until you do get your prayers answered.
The walls of Jericho did not fall until the Israelites had circled them for a full thirteen times and then shout the shout of faith (Joshua 6:1-20)—We may circle our prayer 13 times and yet the answer has not come –why? Could it be God is waiting to hear a shout of faith?
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “Mygrace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor. 12:8-9 (NIV)
In Mark 8:22-26 – Jesus laid His hands on the blind man two times
If persistence is so important, why did Paul, a man of prayer, pray only three times for the removal of the “thorn in the flesh”? Should he not have continued to storm the gates of heaven until his request were granted and it was removed? The reason for Paul’s lack of persistence was that his prayer was answered. Once we receive a definite answer to prayer, we should quit praying. It is wrong to persist in a prayer just because we did not like the answer we received. God knows what’s best for us and we should accept His judgment. God will supply all of our need, not all of our want. Pray through until you get your prayer answered.
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