“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The Power of Persevering Prayer,
by Randall D. Kittle

“The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” — James 5:16

Why is the Church in America less powerful and effective than it should be? Why does darkness seem to be increasing at an alarming rate across our region? It is not because God lacks the power to change things dramatically. It’s because the Church lacks the persevering prayer that releases God’s desire to mercifully bless us … bringing supernatural change! … bringing supernatural change!

One of the most popular Bible verses on prayer is: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Jesus said this in conclusion to the parable of the friend at midnight. In that parable the Lord said if you have a friend who comes knocking on your door at midnight asking to borrow some bread because someone has stopped in for a surprise visit, you’re likely to respond, “Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything” (Luke 11:7). Nevertheless, if they continue to knock on your door “even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:8).

Jesus wasn’t inferring that our Heavenly Father is like Ebenezer Scrooge — one who reluctantly gives as little as possible and only to those who have forced Him into it. This parable actually wasn’t given to show us God’s heart at all. Jesus shared it so we would know what the heart of a prayer warrior looks like — the heart of a person who is desperate to help take care of his friend and won’t take no for an answer. God is looking for those who persevere in prayer, stand in the gap in intercession, and lift up the cry of the weak and downcast before His throne.

Persevering Prayer Breaks Through
As believers, this is how we’re called to pray, and when we do God can’t help but want to answer our prayers and bless us. The Bible says that God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Notice this verse doesn’t say He is a rewarder of those who seek Him — but those who diligently seek Him. God delights in those who persist in petitioning Him with their requests.

Unfortunately, when we seek something in prayer, it’s so easy to become discouraged if the answer doesn’t come right away. We might knock … and knock again, and then say, “Well, I’ve asked. Now it’s all up to God.” But the truth we need to apprehend is that it is up to us to diligently pray prayers of faith — to knock and keep on knocking. Jesus said, “men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). If we will pray without losing heart, our gracious God will reward us with the answers we so diligently seek!

That’s why it’s so important for every believer to be a person of persevering prayer.  We need to spend time in dialogue with God — praising Him and calling out to Him, and then listening for His response.  But we also need to share times of corporate intercession —  praying in agreement with others for the Lord to refresh our spirits, rekindle our passion for Him, and use us to touch and change this world.  I can only imagine what great things God will bring forth from these prayer times. After all, He has promised, “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Let us be those who will fervently call out for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on the earth. Let’s diligently ask for the mercy of God’s love to triumph over judgment. The Lord’s ear is ever turned to hear us; His heart is ever soft and caring. If we will stand in the gaps through intercession, we will see the hand of God move and the lives of those around us touched by the living God.

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