In a recent live video to the women in my Lust Free Living course, we discussed the importance of perseverant prayer. I don’t know about you, but I have struggled to pray consistently over the years. I’ll go through seasons of devoted prayer, then seasons where I struggle to pray at all. I’ve never liked this inconsistency; I know it keeps me from a deeper relationship with God. But the distractions of my day tempt me to rush through the conversation and get to the “good stuff,” the stuff I can handle on my own strength (or so I think!).
Prayer is not the recitation of a prewritten text. It’s not even a list of requests we narrate to God. Prayer is meant to be a conversation between our powerful, loving Creator and His creation. God wants to communicate with us. In no other religion around the world can you find a God who desires us to pray to Him, not because He is demanding, but because He is love. It’s sad that we forget this and treat prayer as a duty when it’s really such a privilege!
The Bible talks a lot about prayer, and one thing that recurs is God’s desire for us to keep asking. God delights in perseverant prayer. How many of us pray for something once and don’t get an answer (or the answer we want), so we stop praying? This is not the kind of prayer we see in Scripture. In the lives of the saints before us, prayer was about approaching God with a fervent and full heart. It’s about pouring out everything you’re dealing with and bringing it to the Lord as many times a day as necessary. God waits for us to keep asking and keep praying. How would that change how you pray?
Effective and Fervent Prayer
James 5:16 says, “Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous [woman] avails much.” What’s an “effective and fervent” prayer? An effective prayer isn’t one that produces the desired result; we can’t always understand God’s answers to our prayers. Sometimes the answer may be effective, but not what we initially wanted. So what does “effective” mean?
I think it means the prayer echoes God’s model for praying as exemplified in Jesus. In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gives us the Lord’s prayer. This prayer was not meant to be simply recited, but was a model for prayer today—starting with acknowledgment of God’s greatness and holiness, His will to be done, thanksgiving for His provision and gratitude for forgiveness, followed by requests.
In addition to being effective, this prayer is fervent. Fervent means “passionate intensity.” Wow! Do you pray this way? I find that when I am in desperate circumstances, or praying for someone who is, this is exactly how I pray. This is how God always wants us to pray: passionate for our love for Him.
Persevere in Prayer
Persevering in prayer means praying when you don’t feel like it. If you wait to “feel” like praying, it’s not going to happen. As someone once told me, “Pray until you feel like praying.” Your emotions will catch up as you take the action to seek God!
There are countless things to pray about, but you could start with the pressing issues in your own life. Add in the prayer requests of your friends and church family. It doesn’t have to be elaborate; a simple, “Lord, I don’t know what to pray for this person right now, but I know you know their needs. I lift them up to you.” Doesn’t take long at all, but cultivates your conversation with God. This is something I have to often remind myself.
God Rewards the Diligent
Hebrews 11:6 says, “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” God rewards your faith through prayer. He delights to see you seek Him, and you’re not alone in meeting Him—He shows up, too. Remember that when you come to pray, and don’t be afraid to ask boldly, consistently, fervently.