|THE PRAYER OF PERSEVERANCE
HIS GLORY REIGNS
Feb 1 2008 08:00AM
The prayer of perseverance, which is also called the prayer of importunity, is prayer that does not quit. It's prayer that
keeps on praying and does not give up. The prayer of importunity is the importunity of faith and faith gets results.
Sometimes you pray a few words or a few sentences one time and then go on about your business; that is not a
prayer of importunity. At other times, though, a person or a situation keeps coming back to your heart and you just
know you are not finished praying about it. When the Holy Spirit impresses something on you, over and over again,
He is probably drawing you to continue to pray in a persistent, importunate way.
One way to persist may be simply to make your request known to God through a prayer of petition and then continue
thanking Him for the answer until you see it. You have it by the faith in your heart, you know it will manifest, and each
time you think of the situation, you simply say, "Thank You, Lord, that you heard my prayer and the answer is on the
way. I know that You will not be late, not one single day." Your prayer of persistence may take the form of persistent
thanksgiving. Another way to persist in prayer is to respond to the "prayer assignments" God gives us. There are
many people or situations we may pray for once, and that is all. There are many people or situations we may be
asked to pray for until what He wants to do in them or for them is accomplished and we would continue praying for that
person until we die or until God releases us or until what needs to happen comes to pass. We may get tired of
praying for this person, but it doesn't matter how we feel, we may still find ourselves praying because we know God
has given us this assignment. God uses our prayers to help shape other people's destiny. If God gives you an
assignment to pray for someone or something, you will not have to "try" to work up a desire to pray; you will find that
you cannot help yourself. You find yourself praying for them without even consciously planning to do so. You will find
that you cannot help yourself.
Regarding prayers of importunity, Andrew Murray wrote: "O what a deep heavenly mystery this is of persevering
prayer. The God who has promised, who longs, whose fixed purpose it is to give the blessing, holds it back. It is to
Him a matter of such deep importance that His friends on earth should know and fully trust their rich friend in heaven,
that He trains them, in the school of answer delayed, to find out how their perseverance really does prevail, and what
the mighty power is they wield in heaven, if they do but set themselves to it." Andrew Murray had real insight into this
subject of importunity in prayer. He said it is not good taste to ask the Lord for the same thing over and over again.
He said if the thing which you have prayed about hasn't materialized, don't ask again the same way you did in the
beginning. That would be a confession that you did not believe God the first time. Just remind God of your request.
Remind Him of what He promised. Remind Him you are expecting the answer, and let this importunity be an importunity
of faith. It will bring results. In our own lives, there have been things that we know are God's will because we find them
in His Word. When we pray about them and do not have a breakthrough, we can go right back to God and say, "I'm
here again. And God, I don't mean to sound disrespectful, but I'm not going to be quiet until I get a breakthrough. I'm
not going away. I'm asking You again, Lord, and I am going to keep on asking until I see victory in this area." At times,
we must be like the patriarch Jacob, who said to the Angel of the Lord, "I will not let You go until You bless me." God
did indeed bless Jacob and said He did so because Jacob was a man who knew how to prevail with men and with God.
In other words, Jacob was persistent and would not give up (Genesis 32:24-28). When we know God's will, we can
pray accordingly and refuse to give up. When the answer does come, I see that perseverance really does prevail and
I am encouraged by the mighty power I can wield in heaven through persistent prayer - and so can you.
One of the Bible's best examples of the prayer of importunity is in Luke 18:1-6: "And he spake a parable unto them to
this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God,
neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine
adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said,
Hear what the unjust judge saith." Jesus' point in this parable is that if an unjust, wicked judge can be worn down, how
much more will a just and loving God do for us if we refuse to give up? He will do exceedingly more than we can ever
dream of - if we just don't quit. Even when circumstances appear hopeless or problems seem insurmountable, we can
overcome if we press in and pray. Romans 8:28 tells us that "And we know that all things work together for good to
them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." This familiar scripture appears in the
context of prayer, and I believe the point of this verse is that all things may not work together for good unless we
continue to pray. If we will persevere in prayer, then no matter what happens in our lives, all things, no matter how bad
the things may be, can work together in God's wisdom and turn out for our good as we keep praying as the situation
Jesus said, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with
them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on
the earth?" Like 18:7,8. How many lives could be radically different if people had continued to pray when tragedy
struck instead of becoming bitter and giving up. Keep praying and watch God turn your mess into a miracle. God
wants us to be determined in our prayers. He does not want us to give up on anything. In fact, when He returns to
earth, He will be looking for faith that does not quit, prayer that keeps on praying, and people who refuse to give up.
Perseverance always brings blessing when we stand on the Word of God. One reason we are able to persevere in
prayer is that we know we will get an answer. We know that God is trustworthy, and that He will not leave us frustrated
or our prayers unanswered.
Importunate, Not Repetitious
Importune, persevering prayer is not the same as repetitive prayer, and you should be encouraged to pray persistent
prayers by the leading of the Holy Spirit - not repetitious prayers that do not come from your heart or that you only
pray because you memorized them in Sunday school. It is possible to use your mouth to speak words of prayer that
have no meaning behind them at all, such as quoting the entire Lord's Prayer while thinking about something else.
These type of prayers are nothing but dead works.
Lip service doesn't do anything for God or accomplish anything in our lives, so even when we pray about the same
thing - over and over again - we need to be careful not to fall into repetition. Instead, we need to allow the Holy Spirit
to lead us in a fresh way, even when we are addressing a subject about which we have prayed for a long time. As
indicated earlier, some people have assignments in prayer, and often the need to be persistent in prayer will
accompany that assignment. Sometimes God will assign you a person and the Holy Spirit will put that person on your
heart several times a day. That person will stay on your mind and you will have a supernatural energy or desire to
pray for him or her often and sometimes very intensely.
We cannot decide what our assignments are. God chooses our assignments, so we need to learn how to be sensitive
and obedient to God in this area and follow through. Anything that God energizes us to do is an assignment, even if
only for a short time. The prayer of importunity may have less to do with how long we pray than with the determination
with which we pray. We may have to pray a prayer of importunity for months or years, but then again, we might have to
apply the same kind of determination to a prayer that God answers in a few days. Something or someone may be on
our heart all day, for days at a time, or even for several hours one day.
In order to be effective in prayer, it is important for us to learn to discern when to press into more fervent prayer in a
situation and when to release it. The fact that we want something really, really bad is not a reason to keep
bombarding God with urgent prayers if He has already promised it and asked us to trust His timing. We should not
allow our thoughts or emotions to determine what we are persistent about; instead, we are to be led by the Holy Spirit.
We need to learn how to tell when there is an anointing (God's ability) on something and when there is not. Here's an
easy way to know the difference: If God's anointing is on something, there is an ease to it; there is a flow; there is a
grace to stay with it. You can sense the presence of the Holy Spirit as you pray about it. On the other hand, when we
have to labor and struggle and strive to pray about a certain matter, there is not an anointing to pray about it.
When you sense the anointing of God on something in prayer, stay with it and don't stop until you sense Him leading
you in another direction. Pray persistently every time He leads you to do so. God is infinitely kinder than that
stubborn, old judge in Luke 18, and when He sees that you know His will and refuse to settle for anything less, He
None of this means that prayer still cannot be simple. Just because we persist does not mean we have to get
complicated. As we pray, we are partnering with God by giving voice to His will in the earth. Prayer requires a
commitment; it can definitely be an effort, but does not have to be hard. Prayer is even considered by some to be
work, and indeed it is. It is a work in the Spirit that accomplishes tremendous things in the earth.
Let us remember that some prayers require persistence - a persevering attitude that refuses to quit praying until God
answers. Perseverance is not arrogant; it is a spiritual dynamic that requires spiritual strength. We must not be lazy in
prayer. Sometimes, all God is looking for is someone who will ask - ask boldly and persist until the breakthrough
Prevailing Prayer to Peace, by Kenneth E. Hagin, Copyright 1985, RHEMA Bible Church.
The Power of Simple Prayer, by Joyce Meyer, Copyright 2007, Hachette Book Group, USA.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES