Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about Steve’s grandparents and the legacy they left our family. Missionaries with SIM they went to Nigeria in 1925 to a tribe still practicing cannibalism.
One day when Steve’s grandfather was on a hunting trip, natives surrounded the house where Grandma lived. Their intention was to attack. They told Grandma that the tin roof on Grandpa and Grandma’s house had offended their god and as a result no rain had fallen. Grandma was frightened but she was a mighty prayer warrior. She asked for time, shut the door and hit her knees pleading with God almighty to send rain. A torrential downpour fell from the sky that day and hundreds came to Christ as a result. The story reminds me of Elijah.
Elijah told King Ahab that rain would soon fall (I Kings 18:41). Then Elijah hit his knees and started interceding. Seven times he rose from his knees and asked his servant if he saw any clouds. Six times his servant saw nothing, yet Elijah persisted and on the seventh time the servant saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand (I Kings 18:44). That’s not a very big cloud and certainly not indicative of rain but Elijah believed it meant the rains were coming. By faith, He told Ahab to go home before the rain stopped him. Meanwhile, the sky grew dark and heavy rain began to drench the earth. What if Elijah had given up after he sent his servant three times?
The Bible reminds us that, The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:17). The problem is it’s easy to become discouraged and quit praying before God answers. If you’re discouraged because it feels like God is not answering your prayers, here are 3 reasons to persist and not quit:
- God’s timetable is often different than ours. While you are waiting, He might be setting the stage in preparation for His answer to you. Don’t quit. Keep praying and trusting that God will answer in His time.
- God honors persistence. He often uses delay to develop maturity in our lives. His ultimate goal in your life is not necessarily your happiness but instead your Christlikeness.
- God values His relationship with you. He loves having you spend time with Him. Rather than thinking of prayer as only time to put in requests of God, shift your focus. Place the emphasis on enjoying time with God and thinking of prayer as conversation with God. Cultivate friendship with God and let your prayer life flow out of the deep bond you have with Him.
What benefit have you found through persisting in prayer? How has God honored your persistence?
Becky, wow, I am encouraged to be persistent in prayer for my prodigal sons. 3 of my 4 sons have in their twenties shown no desire to walk with God after living for Him up til then. Last night as I gazed up at a huge yellow moon I was reminded of God’s sheer Bigness. He has created the heavens and the earth by His great power and outstretched arm, is anything too difficult for Him. (Can’t remember the reference of this verse) Do you remember that my Uncle Jerry and Aunt Dorothy Swank served with I’m in Jos, Nigeria and Steve said he knew them. This story of powerful prayer and God’s answer of rain hits so close to home. I know God is good and capable and I appreciate that He allows me to boldly approach Him in prayer. Thanking Jesus!
Sometimes its very difficult not to give up. Especially, when it seems like God has been waiting too long to answer. Thank you for an encouraging article. I am always encouraged to read real stories of answered prayer. As you wrote in the article, I find it important to have the right focus when praying- putting God first (and our spiritual growth) and not the thing that we are praying for.
Becky, I so appreciate testimonies of answered prayer. While I keep a prayer list for petitions, I try to maintain His answers to these requests, as well. We all need encouragement to persist in prayer and praise to God for the relationship made possible through Christ our Lord. Thanks for your encouragement today!