Jesus said that we, Christians, should pray to the Father “In My Name” is so much that whatever we asked, will be granted unto us. He also said, we have not because we ask not. Prayer is the only means by which we can communicate with our great God in Heaven and the Savior. We are doubly blessed among all people in that our Savior – Jesus Christ – also intercedes for us. Now, wrap your mind around that for a second: the Creator of untold galaxies; the human body and everything that lives and breathes – prays for us! (Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them - Hebrews 7:25).
One of the most important qualities the Messiah imputed and embedded in us, is the ability to persist, press on, press forward and stay glued to Him, in prayer. Notice, He gave us the ability. For some reason, most do not access this part of the spiritual brain, choosing instead to let others pray for them when the chips are down. But we should – God has not given us a spirit of fear but the ability to defeat it and conquer through prayer. He does want us to persist in our prayer and worship life – DAILY.
Jesus gave us an example of persistence here in Luke 18:1-5: “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”
So how does this look, on the ground –where the rubber meets the road? How do we persist in prayer when we, as a people, hardly ever pray because of culture, wealth or whatever? From personal experience, Persistence in Prayer begins with Fasting. Jesus did not do away with Fasting in the New Testament and in fact, in His Great Sermon on the Mount, He explained Fasting as a given (i.e. “When you fast” …three times - click link here to read ). He also rebuked His own disciples who were unable to cast the demon out of a man’s son in Mark telling them that this type of divine victory can only be accomplished by fasting!
But what does fasting have to do with anything? In essence, it reminds me of discipleship on steroids. Jesus told us that unless we are willing to take up our Cross and follow Him (i.e. deny ourselves and our worldly desires) we cannot be His disciples. Fasting is a proactive step in denying our physical wants and needs for a day or two per month, or for as long as you wish. It is saying, in our spirits to the Lord, “Lord, I desire You more than that sirloin steak or chocolate ice cream after a cheese burger. Lord, I want to put aside the desires of the flesh today, so I can pursue a closer walk with You, in spirit and in truth….a closer walk which will set me on a path in the pursuit of a more powerful prayer life. Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief and help me to press on and press in and forge ahead, just like the woman and the unjust judge in Your Parable, in Jesus’ Name amen”.
The Lord will not despise such a prayer, such an action or such longing for holiness even if we are new at this process of Fasting. Some may say they are medically unable to go without food for more than 4 hours etc. This is fine. Consult a doctor and see if a vegetable diet once a week will harm you. I use vegetable broth which is found in small containers in the organic aisle of the local grocery store. Nothing fancy. The main idea is to give up something of earthly value, then to come to the Lord humbly with a repentant heart, and your bible, then to sit, pray, persist and worship and press on in His Presence.
Persistence in Prayer is very important if you and I are the only ones praying for a certain matter, concerning another person, issue or condition. We stick with it and travail along in prayer until the Holy Spirit sends Word from heaven that we can stop praying now for this or that person or issue, because the answer is at hand. We never let go until such time. However, this point is never attained to, unless we first understand the starting point – coming to the Throne of Grace completely in pursuit of His Presence and Power in our Prayer.
Therefore Father, in the Mighty Name of Jesus, I surrender myself at the Altar of Christ to be taught by You, just how I can lay a hold of what You have already pre-destined for me. I desire knowing all there is about You and the Lord Jesus Christ and I pray for release from my bondage of self, sin and smugness so I can humbly yet boldly see You through prayer and fasting and supplication. Lord, please strengthen my ability to first start on the path to persistent and travailing prayer and to stay that course, no matter what the distractions and disappointments in life. Lord, I pray You take the focus of my heart, mind body and soul away from the mundane things of life this very day, and reorient me into the foundation of Prayer, so that I may flow naturally into the stream of sweet fellowship with You, according to Thy Will and Thy Purpose, in Jesus’ Name amen.