The power of persistent prayer

The power of persistent prayer

In our journey through the Gospel of Mark, we’ve become familiar with a certain adverb: immediately. The word is used about 40 times in the shortest gospel. There is a sense of urgency and action as we watch Jesus and his disciples move throughout the region. Immediately they went here, immediately they went there, immediately Jesus said this, immediately this person was healed.

Like Mark’s gospel, we have become a culture of immediacy. Immediately, my Amazon Prime order arrived. Immediately, My Little Pony queued up on Netflix for my girls. Immediately, my Instacart groceries were delivered with dinner. All this while writing the e-bulletin.  

But what do we do when things don’t come immediately? There is no Amazon Prime Prayer channel for one-hour answers to prayer. How do persist when it feels like we have been praying for weeks, months, years? Maybe we are praying long enough. Or loud enough. Or maybe we are so focused on the hoped-for answer that we don’t see what the Lord is doing during our time of wait. 

Joey and my journey to become parents was long. There were a lot of prayers echoing the Psalmist’s cry, “How long, oh Lord?” But we persisted in our faith that God answers prayers. And we persisted in our faith that he would use our time of wait to grow us, change us, teach us to be more like Jesus. Our wait became part of our discipleship journey. We found hope in God’s word and strength in our community as we waited. Now I’ve gone from saying “How long?” to “Please pump the breaks!” They are growing up way too fast. When Aurelia was baptized, we chose Romans 5:3-5 to pray over her: 

Not only that, but we‚ÄØrejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering‚ÄØproduces endurance,‚ÄØand endurance produces character, and character produces hope,‚ÄØand‚ÄØhope does not put us to shame, because God’s love‚ÄØhas been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 

I have found these verses to be very true and very sweet. God used my time of wait to increase my hope and increase my understanding of his love for me. 

The power of the persistent prayer is found in the work that the Holy Spirit does in our hearts as we wait. Our persistent prayers are part of our faith journey, they are part of our discipleship process of becoming more like Jesus. The power of the persistent prayer isn’t a power that rests in the one who does the praying. Instead, we find the power of persistent prayer in the One who answers our prayers at just the right time, in just the right way. We find the power of persistent prayer in our God who works all things, even our periods of waiting, for our good and his glory.  

Julie Hawkins
Director of Next Steps