Jim Wolstenholm is a retired Navy Veteran. He pastors a church in Gilmer, Texas. His mission is to help people follow Jesus so they can live the abundant life and change their world. He is married with two grown sons and two terrific grandchildren. Visit his blog at www.jimthefollower.com.
I keep asking God and I am not receiving an answer. Is there something wrong with my faith? If I ask God once, shouldn’t that be enough? If God knows what I need why do I need to keep asking him?
There are mysteries to prayer that we may never understand. There are also certainties about prayer that we can apply to our lives and place our confidence in.
Jesus gives us solid teaching about prayer. Discovering what he taught will guide you as you pray and help you sustain a strong prayer life.
What did Jesus say about persevering in prayer?
Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 (HCSB)
We must never give up in prayer. It may seem that God does not answer but we must remember what Jesus said! Keep on praying. While we pray, something is happening.
We pray until the time is right for the answer we need. Joseph spent years suffering and praying for relief. Read his story in Genesis 37-50. For thirteen years he was enslaved and imprisoned through no fault of his own. How do you know if you must wait for years for your answer? You don’t. So you keep on praying.
We pray until the person we are praying for finally responds. I am praying for salvation for family and friends. I will keep on praying for them. It is God’s will that all be saved and none perish, so it is essential we pray for those we love to find Jesus. But the choice to follow him remains in their hands.
We pray until we have an answer and we understand that sometimes the answer is no. There have been many occasions where I began to pray for something. I believed it was the right thing and I persevered in prayer. After spending much time in prayer, I found that God had removed the desire for that thing from my life. His answer was no and I ceased to pray for it.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. … “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1, 8 (NIV)
Persevering in prayer answers the question: Do we have faith? Continuing to pray in the face of silence requires great faith. When we believe that we are praying effective prayers and still the answer does not come, we must exercise faith to continue. This is what Jesus was talking to his disciples about in Luke 18.
Persevering prayer is “all-in” prayer. It is prayer that you put your whole being into. It’s not casual, sporadic or indifferent. It is prayer that takes time and energy. I wonder how many prayers go unanswered because we haven’t invested enough into them. I am sure that I have repeatedly failed at this point. Have you?
A quiet place and a determined resolve make for persevering prayer. When we truly desire what we pray for it is appropriate to call out, cry out and plead! How often that happens in scripture. Read the psalms!
What do we need for persevering prayer?
1) Faith. I have already mentioned this and it is essential. Our faith is not in the process and it is not destroyed by our circumstances. Our faith is in God. When we focus our attention on him and who he is, our faith grows. Worship and meditation on the awesome character of God inspires our faith. We can truly believe in him. He will erase all shadow of doubt from our hearts.
2) Conviction. Conviction is similar to faith. It is a deep abiding belief in what we do. When we are convinced prayer makes a difference it becomes a core value in our lives and we go to that value over and over again. As I help people follow Jesus, I have mentioned prayer thousands of times! I know it works. It is one of my core values.
3) Determination. This state of mind will keep us praying. When we are determined to receive an answer, we don’t stop praying until we have that answer! I praise God when someone I am praying for accepts Christ or experiences healing. Determination means we never give up. That is our mindset about prayer.
4) Effort. My effort falls short too often. But when I labor in prayer I am renewed and I experience the presence and assurance of God. Strong effort in prayer also builds my faith, conviction and determination.
Finally, if you are to persevere in prayer, you should ask God to help you persevere! He loves to answer that prayer!
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