Persevering Prayer

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” Romans 12:12

In Luke 18:1-8 we encounter The Parable of the Persistent Widow. It’s a fascinating contest of wits between a disenfranchised widow and a disinterested judge. The gratifying conclusion is that the widow, because she refused to give up, wins through. She moves from a position of powerlessness to power due to her persistence. The parable is a lesson in prayer. A reminder that God won’t put us off if we faithfully persevere, crying out to Him day and night (cf. Luke 18:7).

Perseverance in prayer is obvious in the life of Martin Luther. In 1540, upon hearing of the imminent death of his friend and assistant Frederick Myconius, Luther wrote to him saying, “I command thee in the name of God to live because I still have need of thee in the work of reforming the church … the Lord will never let me hear that thou art dead, but will permit thee to survive me. For this I am praying, this is my will, and may my will be done, because I seek only to glorify the name of God.”

Luther’s words sound almost shocking because of the sensitive and cautious era in which we live. Yet they illustrate how his perseverance in prayer was rewarded. Myconius recovered completely, lived for six more years, and survived Luther by two months.

Both the widow in the parable and Luther, not to mention countless others, have persevered in prayer and seen God respond. So don’t adopt the tourist mind-set to prayer. Don’t accept the notion of instant prayers because you live in an instant society. Acquire enthusiasm for a patient acquisition of this virtue. Sign up for a long apprenticeship in the school of prayer. And don’t give up if you’ve been praying for a situation or a person for some time. For “prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power. All that God is, and all that God has, is at the disposal of prayer” R. A. Torrey.

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