Transform Your Life Through Persistent Prayer | Prayer Bible Study 9

The Power of Persistent Prayer – Prayer Bible Study 9

Pastor Duke Taber

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Introduction

Prayer is one of the most fundamental and transformative practices in the Christian life, a means by which we communicate with God, align our hearts with His will, and participate in His redemptive work in the world. While there are many different types and approaches to prayer, one of the most powerful and effective forms is persistent prayer – the practice of bringing our requests and petitions before God with tenacity, perseverance, and unwavering faith.

Persistent prayer is rooted in the biblical truth that God is a loving and generous Father, who delights to hear and answer the prayers of His children. Throughout the Scriptures, we see examples of men and women who persevered in prayer, crying out to God day and night until they saw breakthrough and victory in their circumstances.

In the Gospels, Jesus Himself teaches about the power of persistent prayer through parables and teachings that emphasize the importance of boldness, perseverance, and faith in our approach to God. He invites us to ask, seek, and knock, trusting that our heavenly Father will give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:7-11).

The practice of persistent prayer challenges our natural inclination towards passivity, complacency, and discouragement in the face of adversity or unanswered prayer. It calls us to a posture of active engagement with God, pressing in with determination and expectancy until we see His will come to pass in our lives and in the world around us.

Persistent prayer is not a means of manipulating or coercing God to do our bidding, but rather a way of aligning our hearts and desires with His perfect will and purposes. As we bring our requests before Him with humility, surrender, and trust, we open ourselves up to His transformative power and grace, allowing Him to work in and through us in ways that bring glory to His name.

In this study, we will explore the biblical foundations and key principles of persistent prayer, examining the ways in which God invites us to approach Him with bold faith and tenacious perseverance. We will consider the benefits and transformative power of incorporating this type of prayer into our spiritual lives, as well as practical ways to cultivate a lifestyle of persistent prayer.

As we embark on this journey of exploring the power of persistent prayer, may we approach it with open and expectant hearts, trusting that our God is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or imagine, according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20). May we be inspired and encouraged by the examples of those who have gone before us, persevering in prayer until they saw the fulfillment of God’s promises and purposes in their lives. And may we find ourselves transformed in the process, as we learn to pray with greater faith, surrender, and alignment with the heart of our good and faithful God.

The Power of Persistent Prayer - Prayer Bible Study 9

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Biblical Foundations of Persistent Prayer

The practice of persistent prayer is deeply rooted in the Scriptures, with numerous examples and teachings that highlight the importance and power of persevering in our requests and petitions before God. From the Old Testament to the New, we see a consistent thread of men and women who cried out to God with tenacity and faith, trusting in His ability to hear and answer their prayers.

One of the most well-known examples of persistent prayer in the Bible is the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. In this parable, Jesus tells of a widow who repeatedly comes before an unjust judge, pleading for justice against her adversary. Although the judge is initially unwilling to grant her request, he eventually relents because of her persistence, saying, “Because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming” (Luke 18:5, ESV).

Jesus uses this parable to teach about the importance of persistent prayer, saying, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8, ESV). This passage highlights the confidence we can have in approaching God with our requests, trusting that He is a just and loving Father who delights to answer the prayers of His children.

Another powerful example of persistent prayer in the New Testament is the story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28. This woman, who was not of Jewish descent, comes to Jesus pleading for mercy and healing for her demon-possessed daughter. Despite Jesus’ initial reluctance to grant her request, the woman persists, kneeling before Him and saying, “Lord, help me” (Matthew 15:25, ESV).

Jesus commends the woman for her faith, saying, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire” (Matthew 15:28, ESV). This story demonstrates the power of persistent prayer rooted in humble faith and recognition of Jesus as the source of all mercy and healing.

In addition to these specific examples, the Bible is filled with exhortations and teachings about the importance of perseverance in prayer. In Colossians 4:2, Paul writes, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” The word “continue” in this verse comes from the Greek word proskartereo, which means to be earnest towards, to persevere, or to be constantly diligent. This implies a posture of persistent and unwavering devotion to prayer.

Similarly, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul exhorts the church to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The phrase “pray without ceasing” doesn’t mean that we are to spend every waking moment in formal prayer, but rather that we are to cultivate a lifestyle of ongoing communion with God, bringing our requests and needs before Him with consistency and faithfulness.

The Old Testament also contains examples of persistent prayer, such as the prophet Daniel, who continued to pray three times a day, even when it was outlawed by the king (Daniel 6:10). Another example is the prophet Elijah, who persevered in prayer for rain during a time of drought, sending his servant seven times to look for a cloud before the rain finally came (1 Kings 18:41-45).

These biblical examples and teachings underscore the importance of approaching God with bold faith, humble dependence, and unwavering perseverance in prayer. They remind us that our God is a God who hears and answers prayer, and that we can have confidence in bringing our requests before Him, trusting in His perfect will and timing.

Reflective Questions:

  1. – What do the biblical examples of persistent prayer teach us about the character of God and His desire to hear and answer our prayers?
  2. – How do the exhortations in Scripture to “pray without ceasing” and “continue steadfastly in prayer” challenge our natural inclination towards passivity or discouragement in prayer?

The Benefits of Persistent Prayer

The practice of persistent prayer holds many benefits for the believer, both in terms of our relationship with God and our personal and spiritual growth. As we press in with diligence and expectancy in prayer, we open ourselves up to a deeper experience of God’s presence, power, and transformative work in our lives.

Deeper Intimacy with God

One of the primary benefits of persistent prayer is that it cultivates a deeper intimacy and relationship with God. When we commit to bringing our requests and needs before God with consistency and faithfulness, we are actively engaging in ongoing communion and dialogue with Him. We are opening up our hearts and lives to His presence and inviting Him to speak into our circumstances and guide us in His ways.

Persistent prayer requires us to carve out dedicated time and space to be with God, setting aside the distractions and demands of life in order to focus on Him. As we do so, we create room for a more intimate and personal connection with our heavenly Father, one that is marked by honesty, vulnerability, and trust.

In the process of persistently seeking God’s face and bringing our petitions before Him, we also come to know Him more deeply. We experience His character and nature in new ways as we see Him work in our lives and answer our prayers according to His wisdom and love. We learn to recognize His voice and leading more clearly as we attune our hearts to His Spirit through consistent prayer.

This deepening of intimacy and relationship with God is beautifully depicted in the life of Moses, who was known as a man who spoke with God “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11, ESV). Moses’ persistent intercession on behalf of the Israelites and his desire to know God’s ways and see His glory (Exodus 33:13, 18) demonstrate the transformative power of a prayer life marked by perseverance and intimacy.

As we persist in prayer, we too can experience a greater depth of relationship and communion with God, one that transforms us from the inside out and aligns our hearts more fully with His.

Greater Faith and Trust in God

Another significant benefit of persistent prayer is that it strengthens our faith and trust in God. When we bring our requests before God with consistency and perseverance, even in the face of delays or apparent setbacks, we are expressing our confidence in His goodness, wisdom, and power to answer prayer.

Persistent prayer requires a level of faith and expectancy that goes beyond our natural inclination towards doubt or discouragement. It calls us to trust in God’s timing and purposes, even when we cannot see the full picture or understand His ways. As we persist in prayer, we are declaring our belief that God is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), and that He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

This kind of faith is modeled in the life of Abraham, who “against all hope, in hope believed” (Romans 4:18, NIV) in God’s promise to make him the father of many nations, even when the circumstances seemed impossible. Abraham’s persistent faith, demonstrated through his ongoing dialogue with God and his obedience to God’s commands, was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:22).

As we persist in prayer, we too can experience a strengthening of our faith and trust in God. We learn to hold fast to His promises and character, even in the face of trials or unanswered prayers. We grow in our ability to surrender our desires and plans to His perfect will, trusting that He knows what is best for us and will answer our prayers in His way and timing.

This growth in faith and trust is not always easy or comfortable, as it often requires us to confront our own doubts, fears, and need for control. But as we persist in bringing our requests before God and choose to believe in His goodness and faithfulness, we find our faith deepening and our trust in Him growing stronger.

Alignment with God’s Will and Purposes

A third benefit of persistent prayer is that it helps to align our hearts and desires with God’s will and purposes. As we bring our requests before God with humility and openness, inviting Him to shape and refine our prayers according to His wisdom and love, we open ourselves up to His transformative work in our lives.

Persistent prayer is not a means of bending God’s will to our own, but rather a way of surrendering our will to His. It is a process of letting go of our own agendas and expectations, and learning to desire what God desires for us and for the world around us. As we pray with persistence and surrender, we are inviting God to conform our hearts and minds to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and to guide us in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).

This alignment with God’s will and purposes is beautifully depicted in the life of Jesus, who consistently withdrew to solitary places to pray (Luke 5:16) and who ultimately surrendered His own will to the Father’s in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39). Jesus’ persistent prayer life was marked by a deep desire to do the will of His Father and to fulfill His purposes, even when it meant suffering and death on the cross.

As we persist in prayer, we too can experience a greater alignment with God’s will and purposes for our lives. We learn to pray, as Jesus taught His disciples, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, ESV). We learn to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), trusting that He will guide us and provide for our needs as we do so.

This alignment with God’s will and purposes brings a sense of peace, purpose, and fulfillment, even in the midst of challenges or uncertainties. As we learn to pray in accordance with God’s heart and desires, we find our own hearts being transformed and our lives bearing fruit for His kingdom.

Reflective Questions:

  1. – How have you experienced a deepening of intimacy and relationship with God through the practice of persistent prayer?
  2. – In what ways has persistent prayer strengthened your faith and trust in God, particularly in the face of delays or unanswered prayers?
  3. – How might persistent prayer help to align your own desires and purposes with God’s will and kingdom? What areas of your life do you need to surrender to Him in prayer?

Practical Ways to Cultivate a Lifestyle of Persistent Prayer

Incorporating the practice of persistent prayer into our daily lives requires intentionality, discipline, and a willingness to prioritize communion with God amidst the demands and distractions of life. Here are some practical ways to cultivate a lifestyle of persistent prayer:

Establish a Regular Prayer Routine

One of the most effective ways to cultivate persistence in prayer is to establish a regular prayer routine. This involves setting aside dedicated time and space each day to meet with God and bring your requests and needs before Him. By creating a consistent rhythm of prayer, you are prioritizing your relationship with God and creating a foundation for ongoing communion and dialogue with Him.

Your prayer routine may involve setting aside a specific time each morning or evening for focused prayer, or it may involve shorter prayer breaks throughout the day. The key is to find a rhythm that works for you and that you can commit to consistently, even when you don’t feel like praying or when other demands vie for your attention.

As you establish your prayer routine, consider creating a prayer space or corner in your home or workplace that is conducive to focused prayer and reflection. This may include a comfortable chair, a prayer journal, a Bible, or other devotional materials that help you to enter into God’s presence and align your heart with His.

Remember that the goal of a prayer routine is not to check off a religious duty or to impress God with your devotion, but rather to create a sacred space for ongoing relationship and communion with Him. As you show up consistently in prayer, you are demonstrating your desire to know God more deeply and to align your life with His will and purposes.

Keep a Prayer Journal

Another practical way to cultivate persistence in prayer is to keep a prayer journal. A prayer journal is a place where you can record your prayers, petitions, and reflections, as well as any answers or insights you receive from God. By writing down your prayers, you are creating a tangible record of your ongoing dialogue with God and your journey of faith.

A prayer journal can take many forms, from a simple notebook to a more structured guide with prompts and reflections. The key is to find a format that works for you and that helps you to express your heart honestly and fully before God.

As you write in your prayer journal, consider including the following elements:

  • – Specific prayers and petitions for yourself, your loved ones, your community, and the world
  • – Scriptures or promises that you are claiming or praying through
  • – Reflections on what God is teaching you or revealing to you through prayer
  • – Answers to prayer or ways in which you see God working in your life and circumstances
  • – Thanksgiving and praise for who God is and what He has done

Keeping a prayer journal can help you to stay focused and intentional in your prayers, as well as to track God’s faithfulness and provision over time. It can also serve as a source of encouragement and motivation when you face seasons of discouragement or unanswered prayer, as you look back and see how God has answered your prayers and guided you in the past.

Pray Scripture

Another powerful way to cultivate persistence in prayer is to pray Scripture. The Bible is filled with promises, prayers, and declarations that can serve as a foundation and guide for our own prayer lives. By praying God’s Word back to Him, we are aligning our hearts and desires with His truth and character, and claiming His promises for our lives and circumstances.

One way to pray Scripture is to choose a specific passage or verse that resonates with your current needs or desires, and to meditate on it and pray it back to God. For example, if you are facing a situation that requires wisdom and guidance, you might pray through James 1:5-6: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting.” As you pray this verse, you are expressing your trust in God’s wisdom and generosity, and inviting Him to guide you in your decision-making.

Another way to pray Scripture is to use the prayers and declarations of biblical figures as a model and inspiration for your own prayers. For example, you might pray through the Psalms, many of which are heartfelt cries to God for deliverance, protection, and guidance. Or you might pray the prayers of Paul for the early church, such as his prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21 for the believers to be rooted and grounded in God’s love and to know the fullness of Christ.

As you pray Scripture, allow the words to sink deep into your heart and mind, and invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate the truths and promises contained within them. Trust that as you pray in alignment with God’s Word, He will work in and through you to accomplish His purposes and to transform you into the image of Christ.

Find Prayer Partners

A final practical way to cultivate persistence in prayer is to find prayer partners who can support and encourage you in your prayer journey. The Christian life was never meant to be lived in isolation, but rather in community with other believers who can spur us on towards love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25). This is particularly true when it comes to prayer, as we can benefit greatly from the support, accountability, and encouragement of others who are also seeking to grow in their relationship with God.

Finding prayer partners may involve joining or starting a prayer group at your church or in your community, or it may involve identifying a few trusted friends or mentors who you can pray with regularly. The key is to find people who share your desire to grow in prayer and who are committed to supporting and encouraging you in your journey.

As you pray with others, consider the following guidelines:

  • – Be honest and vulnerable about your own prayer needs and struggles, inviting others to pray for you and hold you accountable
  • – Listen attentively and empathetically to the prayer needs and requests of others, committing to pray for them faithfully
  • – Pray together in a spirit of unity and agreement, trusting that God is present and active when two or more gather in His name (Matthew 18:20)
  • – Encourage and celebrate answers to prayer and evidences of God’s work in one another’s lives
  • – Maintain confidentiality and trust, creating a safe space for sharing and vulnerability

Praying with others can provide a powerful sense of solidarity and encouragement, particularly when we face seasons of discouragement or unanswered prayer. It can also help to broaden our perspective and deepen our compassion, as we intercede for the needs and struggles of others and see God work in their lives.

As you cultivate prayer partnerships and commit to praying with others, trust that God will use these relationships to strengthen your faith, sharpen your prayers, and accomplish His purposes in and through your life.

Reflective Questions:

  1. – What practical steps can you take to establish a regular prayer routine in your daily life? What obstacles or distractions do you need to overcome in order to prioritize prayer?
  2. – How might keeping a prayer journal help you to stay focused and persistent in your prayers? What format or structure would be most helpful for you?
  3. – In what ways could praying Scripture deepen and enrich your prayer life? What specific passages or prayers could you commit to praying through regularly?
  4. – Who are some trusted friends, mentors, or community members that you could partner with in prayer? How might praying with others encourage and strengthen you in your own prayer journey?

Conclusion

The practice of persistent prayer is a powerful and transformative discipline in the life of a believer, one that enables us to cultivate a deeper intimacy with God, a greater faith and trust in His goodness and sovereignty, and a fuller alignment with His will and purposes for our lives and for the world. As we have seen, persistent prayer is rooted in the biblical truth that God is a loving and generous Father who delights to hear and answer the prayers of His children, and who invites us to approach Him with bold faith and tenacious perseverance.

Throughout the Scriptures, we see examples of men and women who persevered in prayer, crying out to God day and night until they saw breakthrough and victory in their circumstances. From the persistent widow who sought justice from the unjust judge, to the Canaanite woman who pleaded with Jesus for her daughter’s deliverance, these stories inspire and challenge us to approach God with unwavering faith and determination.

As we incorporate the practice of persistent prayer into our own lives, we open ourselves up to a deeper experience of God’s presence, power, and transformative work. We learn to pray with greater surrender, humility, and alignment with God’s heart and purposes, trusting that He is able to do far more abundantly than all we can ask or imagine.

Cultivating a lifestyle of persistent prayer requires intentionality, discipline, and a willingness to prioritize communion with God amidst the demands and distractions of daily life. By establishing a regular prayer routine, keeping a prayer journal, praying Scripture, and finding prayer partners, we can create the conditions for ongoing and transformative dialogue with God.

As we embark on this journey of persistent prayer, may we approach it with expectant and faith-filled hearts, trusting that our God is faithful and true to His promises. May we be inspired and encouraged by the examples of those who have gone before us, persevering in prayer until they saw the fulfillment of God’s purposes in their lives and in the world. And may we find ourselves transformed in the process, as we learn to pray with greater surrender, boldness, and alignment with the heart of our good and loving Father.

Let us pray with the psalmist, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1, ESV). May we wait patiently and persistently for God to move in response to our prayers, trusting that He hears us and is working all things together for our good and His glory. And may we never grow weary or lose heart in our pursuit of God’s presence and power through prayer, knowing that in due season, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

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