Pray with Pertsistence

by | Apr 14, 2009 | Spirit-Led Living

Have you ever felt like giving up in prayer? As an intercessor, I admit I’ve had times when I felt overwhelmed and frustrated—when I’ve prayed and prayed, maybe for weeks, or even years, and seen no breakthrough. Questions have run through my mind: “What’s the use? What difference does it make if I pray?”

It is one of the devil’s goals to keep each of us from experiencing the blessings of God that come through intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is unique because it means, literally, “to stand in the gap for another.”

Unlike normal prayer, which is primarily focused on the relationship of God and the person praying, intercessory prayer focuses on the needs of others. If the devil can prevent us from interceding through apathy or despair, he wins the battle—with the lives of others hanging in the balance.

Our intercession is important. We know the Lord is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9, NKJV).

Can lives be changed if people are not fervently praying? Unlikely. We are told: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8).

Jesus taught that prayer was essential for the church to see a harvest of souls. “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray” (Luke 10:2).

The devil wants to keep believers defeated and bound. He concentrates his attack on anyone who has made a commitment to the prayer closet. James wrote, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man [or woman] avails much” (James 5:16). Under the Holy Spirit’s leadership, we become effective, fervent prayer warriors.

Some of our prayers are answered immediately, others in a short time, and still others over the years. Yet we can be confident that if our hearts are directed toward the Lord, we will not be disappointed: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). The Father is looking for those to whom He can trust the secrets of His heart. I want to know the secrets of the Lord. I want to be His servant in prayer.

Realizing the enemy is hard at work trying to keep me from intercession helps encourage me to increase my commitment level. The fact is, you and I are in a spiritual battle for the souls of men and women, boys and girls. But I encourage you to embrace your prayer assignment. You may be led by the Holy Spirit to pray for someone no one else is praying for. And don’t let the devil discourage you because you are very important to God and to the advancement of His kingdom!

For 14 years I prayed for a friend of mine to receive Christ. James (not his real name) had been on the front line of battle in the Vietnam War. I could see in his face the trauma of his experience. Death and governmental betrayal caused him to be aloof and distant. During my prayer times, I wept and travailed for James. His wife, Judy (not her real name), was an intercessor also, and together we prayed.

As the years passed, Judy would tell me: “I’m so discouraged. Is God ever going to save James? I don’t have any more faith.” Over and over I assured her that God was faithful, and the very fact that He continued to burden our hearts for James was evidence that He would one day touch him.

Of course, 14 years is a long time to pray! I too got impatient with the process at times and wondered why it was taking so long.

Yet the lengthy process was teaching us persistence—and that was important to the Lord. I’m happy to report that two years ago my husband, Eddie, and I led James to Christ. It took 14 years—but it was worth it!

When the pressure is on to give up, don’t! As believers, we are not to live according to our feelings but according to our spiritual position in Christ. Satan is no match for an intercessor living securely in the following positional truths:

  1. You are an overcomer. There is no defeat for those who have confidence in the Spirit of God to give them overcoming life. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
  2. You are complete in Christ. There is no lack for those of us who are in Christ (see Col. 2:8-10). But if we view ourselves as lacking, we have defined our experience. Look at yourself from God’s point of view, not man’s.
  3. You have been given authority. We have been given the keys of the kingdom. Is it any wonder then that Satan attempts to provoke us to apathy, discouragement and depression? He simply can’t afford to ignore a believer who is exercising her authority in Christ through prayer (see Matt. 16:19; Luke 10:19).
  4. You have spiritual weapons. Christ, the Mighty Warrior, has given us not only defensive armor but also offensive weapons (see Eph. 6:11-17; 2 Cor. 10:4). These weapons are spiritual, not earthly, and they have but one purpose: winning spiritual wars!

Yet even the most powerful gun is harmless until someone pulls the trigger. We must be willing to pray until the target is in sight. Then we must continue to pray until the target is destroyed!

We win the battle in the prayer closet, on our knees. Let us be women of prayer who will gladly “stand in the gap.” Let’s intercede for our families, our cities, our schools, our leaders, our nation and others.

After studying the history of revival, popular theologian Walter Wink once wrote, “History belongs to the intercessors.” You and I can help make history—if we don’t give up.

Alice Smith is cofounder and executive director of the U.S. Prayer Center in Houston, Texas. She is a well-known author and conference speaker.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

WATCH: Vlad Savchuck: Life, Health and the Bible

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZdzLoS3wCM During a recent visit to @HungryGeneration, Pastor Vlad Savchuk asked Bill Wiese to comment on his personal experience applying the Word of God to his own life and health. These same principals hold true for all who read and...

Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Miraculous Divine Intervention Birthed by Thanksgiving and Praise

Read Time: 4 Minutes 2 Seconds When I first became a believer in 1970, my mother was one of my first “converts," giving her heart to Jesus as soon as I shared with her the beauty, the power and the opportunity of making Jesus the Lord of her life. However, my father...

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

I’m Going Defcon G on the Enemy

Read Time: 1 Minute 32 Seconds The last six years have been the best of times and the worst of times. I’ve seen more death, destruction, disease and devastation than I care to remember. I’ve also seen the hand of God move in extraordinary ways. Indeed, sometimes I...

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Prophetic Vision: ‘Now is the Time of Your Healing’

Read Time: 3 Minutes 41 Seconds I was remembering a time when my husband and I were praying over friends who had been in a situation for many years that had caused deep trauma to their souls. As we were praying for them, I became aware of an angel standing over them...

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Victimized By Gaslighting? 5 Steps to Finding Freedom

Read Time: 2 minutes 26 seconds The term "gaslighting" has gone viral across social media this year and Merriam-Webster chose it as their word-of-the-year, saying searches for the word spiked 1,740% in 2022 alone. We're breaking down what the Bible has to say about...

Learn How to Be Grateful From Those Who Have So Little

Learn How to Be Grateful From Those Who Have So Little

Read Time: 3 Minutes 18 Seconds Looking around my hometown of Los Angeles, my heart soars with gratitude. My home is safe, my bills are paid and I was fortunate to be able to serve my family an ample Thanksgiving meal. And yet, I am fully aware that hundreds of...

RECENT ARTICLES

5 Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Spiritual Health

Read Time: 4 Minutes 50 Seconds Do you believe the Lord is concerned about your emotional and spiritual health? He is. He wants you to know how to improve your emotional and spiritual health to be...
I Never Thought I’ve Have to Say This: Jesus Was Not Trans

I Never Thought I’ve Have to Say This: Jesus Was Not Trans

Read Time: 3 Minutes 27 Seconds You may have heard about the controversy that erupted in Cambridge, England, this past Sunday at Trinity College. The preacher, Joshua Heath, a junior research fellow who has a Ph.D. in theology, offered a sermon in which he suggested...

Prophetic Word: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Prophetic Word: Goodness Is Following You, Turn and See

Read Time: 4 Minutes 48 Seconds At a recent gathering where a person was struggling, I heard and declared by the Spirit of the Lord, “Goodness is following you; turn and see. Embrace His goodness in this moment and watch the shift!” There was an immediate shift and...

Why Becoming Like God Requires Special Effort

Why Becoming Like God Requires Special Effort

Read Time: 2 Minutes 7 Seconds We can walk with God and come into unity with Him by clothing ourselves in His nature. This will require that we restrict and control the desires of the flesh by putting our focus on obtaining the very substance and characteristics of...

3 Reasons for Hope This Advent Season

3 Reasons for Hope This Advent Season

Read Time: 3 Minutes 6 Seconds I didn’t grow up celebrating Advent. When I was little, we put up a tree, got presents and had a Christmas Eve service. It seemed to me that most grown-ups were stressed over Christmas and thankful when it was all over. It wasn’t until...

How To Be Hilariously Happy in Your Giving

How To Be Hilariously Happy in Your Giving

Read Time: 4 Minutes 17 Seconds The day after Thanksgiving is culturally called Black Friday, in the U.S. It marks the beginning of retail sales that could ensure a successful and profitable Christmas-gift-buying season. Black Friday In decades past, book-keepers...

Pin It on Pinterest