To live victoriously and enjoy a fulfilled Christian life, the believer must persevere in prayers.
TEXT: Luke 18:1-8; 1Kings 18:41-46.
Prayer is very vital in indispensable in the life of every believer. It is essentially a means of communicating with God, and without prayer, the believer cannot live the successful and fulfilled Christian Life.
It must be emphasized that we cannot run the Christian race successfully without being men and women of prayer. Hence, we must persevere in prayer.
To persevere therefore in prayer, we must constantly be in direct communication with God at all times, in all places, in all circumstances, and in all situations. No wonder the Apostle Paul enjoins believers to pray without ceasing.
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was a man of prayers and during his ministry here on Earth, he persevered in prayer. we should follow his example.
The objectives of this study are:
- understand what perseverance in prayer means.
- To discuss some characters in Scriptures that persevered in prayers.
- To discuss what our attitude should be while waiting for God’s answer.
- To discuss the blessings that will result when we perseverance in prayer.
Q1a. WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND BY PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER?
Perseverance in prayer simply means to continuously and earnestly pray to God over certain seemingly difficult situations a Believer May encounter in life and refused to give up or be discouraged even when the answers such prayers seemed not to be forthcoming. He must, therefore learn to hold on to God in prayers until we get the answer. The devil may try to bring discouragement and doubt but we must realize that God answers prayers and at his own time, we will receive the answer. He must also know that delay is not denial. God is always right there on time; he’s neither too early nor too late. That is why it is generally said that God’s time is the best. It is only by persevering in prayer
that we can effectively live our Christian lives in this world victoriously and overcome every difficult situation we encounter along life’s journey here on Earth.
Q1b. MENTION SOME SITUATIONS IN LIFE WHEN ANSWERS TO THE CHRISTIANS’ PRAYERS SEEN DELAYED
Although our God is a prayer answering God, there are times that the answers to our prayers may appear as if they are delayed. Some of such situations can manifest in any form so just consistent failure in the examination: There are instances when some Believers may be failing the same examination repeatedly despite the fact that they have been applying themselves to their studies. Another situation can be joblessness. The fellow might have obtained a good grade I’m very qualified to get the job but his application never received the attention of the employers. This may persist over a long period of time. There may be ladies were right for marriage and ready but they are still waiting because no man has come to ask their hands in marriage, while there are men when they approach any lady, they will not agree to marry them. There may be those who are gainfully employed or engaged and in good and profitable businesses but cannot make ends meet as a result of strain on their finances through one unpleasant situation or the other even when they are faithful in paying their tithes and giving their offerings. There may also be those who have been married for many years without the fruit of the womb. A person may also be plagued with one type of sickness or the other, which may persist for a very long period of time. The list is not exhaustive but we should rest assured that our God is working out things in our favor and is not slack concerning his promises (2 Peter 3:9). We have also been told in Jer.29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, God’s peace and not of evil to give you an expected end.” you must, therefore, continue to wait on God because he will never fail or disappoint us. At the end of it all, we will also testify like the Psalmist in Psalms 40:1 “I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined unto me and heard my cry.”
Q2. DISCUSS PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER USING THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLES:
The Word of God contains various examples of those who persevered in prayer when faced with very difficult and seemingly unyielding situations. We shall consider the following in this study:
- The parable of the widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8). This parable teaches us that we should not be discouraged even when the answers to our prayers seem not to be forthcoming; we must continually hold on to God and continue patiently in our prayer until God meets us at the point of our needs. We should have the faith that our God is able to do that which we are praying about and put all our trust on Him because He will surely answer us. Therefore, we must never give up but rather persevere in our prayers until our change comes.
- Prophet Elijah’s prayers for rain (1Kings 18:41-46). The victory in the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel and the people acknowledging that the Lord he is God, the prophet Elijah declared or Ahab that there was a sound of abundance of rain. After this, he went up to the top of the mountain to pray. As he was there praying, Elijah sent his servants to go and look towards to see if there was any sign of the possibility of rain. But his servant said he saw nothing. He asked him to go again seven times, and check, and it was only at the seventh time that the servant finally brought good news that he saw a little Cloud out of the sea like a man’s hand. This teaches us that even when there is no visible answer to our prayers, yet we must continue and persist our prayers. It does not matter how long it takes, God will step into the situation to bring about a turnaround for our own good, and to His glory.
- Hannah’s prayer for a son (1Sammuel 1:3-20). Hannah approached the Throne of Mercy pouring her sorrow and bitterness of heart to God and not to man. She poured out her grief to God and was serious about it that she made a vow to God. She was also specific about her request for a male child. She was so engrossed in our prayer that the then high priest [Eli] thought she was drunk. However, after interacting with Hannah, he told her to go in peace and that the God of Israel would grant her the petition she had asked of Him. Similarly, when we approach the Throne of Mercy With all sincerity and pour our sorrows and troubles out to God in Prayers, Jesus Christ our High Priest is always there to give us assurance that our prayers will receive answers and such answers will surely come at God’s appointed time. Another thing we learned from Hannah was that after her prayer and encounter with Eli, her countenance changed and she was no longer sad. When we have brought our supplications to God we must drop them at his feet and not be burdened with the load or care any longer.
Q3a. DOES THE ANSWER “WAIT” OR “NO” SHOW THAT GOD DOES NOT ANSWER OUR PRAYERS?
The answers “wait” or “no” do not show that God does not answer our prayers. You must understand that God knows us more than we know ourselves and he also knows what is better for us at any given point in time. Therefore, when the answer is “wait,” it means although God knows what we requested is needful for us; however, the best time to Grant such a request is not yet due. There are some requests that we make at some point in our lives that are beneficial but if are given to us before God has planned us for them, they may be to our hurt or they may even take us away from the Kingdom. On the other hand, when we get the answer “no” from God, it means that what we have asked from God is not good for us and therefore God does not approve of it and will not Grant such requests.
Q3b. WHAT SHOULD ENCOURAGE THE CHRISTIAN TO CONTINUE IN SUCH SITUATIONS? (JER. 29:11; PSALMS 37:37; HABBAKUK 2:3)
When we find ourselves in situations like those mentioned above, we must realize that God is very much interested in us and anything that He does will surely be for our own good. Therefore, we must not give up in our prayers. He had given many assurances in His Word to make us know that He is very much interested in us and in our well-being. In Jer. 29:11, God says to us “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” He has also assured us that even if the answer to our prayers are delayed, we should continue to wait because the vision is for an appointed time, but at the end, it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, we should wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry [Hab. 2:3]. God is interested in giving peace to us and He has promised that the end of the upright is peace. We should encourage ourselves with these words even when our prayers seem delayed. When God’s answer is “No,” the believer should accept and maintain his trust in the Lord, who will perfect his plan and purpose for that life.
Q4. WHAT SHOULD BE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE WHEN ANSWERS TO OUR PRAYERS SEEM DELAYED?
When answers to our prayers seem delayed, the right attitude we should put up is never to quit. It is common saying that “winners never quit and quitters never win.” While holding on and waiting on God for the answer to our prayers, these are some of the things we should occupy ourselves with:
- Study of God’s Word: we must endeavor to study God’s word on a daily basis. In John 15:7, Jesus says “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” We must deliberately and consciously study God’s Word and learn to apply it to our situations. By so doing, we will be able to know God’s mind and will concerning our situation. We will thereby draw strength and encouragement as we read about those who found themselves in similar situations and how God answered their prayers. This will enable us to persevere in prayer.
- Faith and absolute trust in God: Heb. 11:6 says “Btu without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he that is a cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” We must, therefore, seek God in faith and put our absolute trust in Him because without faith, we cannot receive anything from God. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed; For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (James 1:6-7). For us to receive from God, we must absolutely believe and trust in His ability and willingness to answer our prayers.
- Attending fellowship regularly: We are instructed in the Word of God not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. This is very important because “Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Pro. 27:17). As we attend fellowship regularly, we are bound to be encouraged as we learn from other brethren’s experience, their attitude during their difficult situations and how they overcame. In addition to this, as we hear testimonies from others of how God answered their prayers, we are greatly encouraged to persevere in prayers, knowing that the same God that did their own at their time will also do our own because He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever.
- Waiting patiently on God: As we bring our request to God, believing and trusting in His ability/willingness to answer us and bring to pass our request, we must learn to patiently wait and hope in Him. Like was earlier mentioned in this study, Psalm 40:1 says “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.” When we patiently wait on God, our hope is made alive and this enables us to persevere in prayers, knowing and trusting that our prayers will ultimately be answered. “But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience for it” (Rom. 8:25).
Q5. DISCUSS THE BLESSINGS THAT RESULT FROM PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER (ACTS. 12:2-12)
Our God answers our prayers when we persevere. He is very much interested in our well-being. In fact, God is a loving Father Who is so caring that many a time, He answers us even beyond our expectation. The way he handles some seemingly impossible situations sometimes is surprising to the point of almost not recognizing it. It is almost like a dream, yet it is very real. Little wonder the Psalmist exclaimed in Psalms 126:1 “When the LORD turned away the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.” Herod arrested Peter and kept him in prison, intending to kill him after Easter, but the Church prayed earnestly and persistently for Peter’s release and deliverance. God sent an angel into the prison, loosed him, and brought him out of prison and led him into the city.
Many blessings result from perseverance in prayer. God sends speedy deliverance to His people. Prayers are answered either individually or collectively. People’s needs are met and people are freed from encumbrance that may hinder them from serving God effectively.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATIONS
God demands that we should pray at all times, in all places, and in every situation that comes across our paths in life. He is our Creator and He knows everything that pertains to us. We must learn to daily commit our lives and all situations that we come across to Him in prayers. It is only through perseverance in prayer we can live a victorious life in this world and finish strong in Christ such that we make Heaven. Therefore, we must not allow any situation, no matter how difficult to deter us from praying and persevering in prayer. We must ensure that we pray without ceasing.
1 Thess. 5: 17 “Pray without ceasing.”