Yesterday, I was reading about prayer and was reading in Luke 11 where Jesus was teaching the people how to pray. In this teaching, he told them a story regarding a man who was in need who went to his neighbor and asked for help. The neighbor was inconvenienced and didn’t want to get up. In verse 8, Jesus said a powerful statement; “But I tell you this though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. And so I tell you, keep on asking,, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
The phrase shameless persistence is what stuck out to me. I read the note out of my study bible and it reads “Persistence, or boldness, in prayer overcomes our insensitivity, not God’s. To practice persistence does more to change our heart and mind than his, and it helps understand and express the intensity of our need. Persistence in prayer helps us recognize God’s work.”
The question often asked is “If God honors our persistence, then why does it take so long for it to come to pass?” Daniel experienced this in Daniel 10 when he had been praying for the nation. In fact, he prayed and fasted for 21 days before an answer came. The angel of the Lord appeared to Daniel and said in verse 12 “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels came up to help me and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain…”
Just prior to that, the messenger told Daniel this in verse 11; “And the man said to me, ‘Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.’” You are so important to God and He values your prayers. In Chapter 9, Gabriel said to Daniel in verse 22, ‘Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. The moment you began praying, a command was given.” What a powerful statement! At the very moment that Daniel began praying….a command was given! It wasn’t what he did or who he was but the fact that he began praying and the command was given. That’s how much our God thinks of His kids. Just after, Gabriele said, “and now, I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God.” Again, God found that Daniel was precious to Him.
Daniel wasn’t just anyone special. As we read in Luke 18:1-8, Jesus told a story of a widow woman who came to the judge and asked for justice from her enemy. The judge refused to listen to her case and ignored her. However, the widow woman didn’t give up. She went again and again to the judge asking for this justice to be made on her behalf. What was his response? “I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see she gets justice because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!” Jesus didn’t stop here. He went further to show how God views this type of prayer. “Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to His chosen people who cry out to him day and night?”
There are many of us that are pursuing God and pressing into something that we feel in our spirit that God is going to do. The enemy will make you feel shame in asking and asking and asking and asking…do not stop pressing into what you know God wants to do in your life. Don’t give up. Keep praying. It’s effective and powerful.