“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.” ‘For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’” (Luke 18:1-8).
American inventor Thomas Edison spent more than a year working to produce a practical incandescent light bulb. He tested all manner of metals and organic materials to find a filament that would produce light without burning up. Around 1880, he successfully used carbonized Japanese bamboo fibers to produce a light that burned for 1,200 hours.
The new light bulb was the product of thousands of failed experiments. A reporter once asked Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Persistence paid off for Edison. Persistence also pays off when it comes to prayer: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16b KJV).
When it seems like your circumstances are never going to change, keep praying. When it seems like God isn’t listening, keep praying. When it seems like you’ve prayed the same prayer 999 times, keep praying—your answer might be one more prayer away.
First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NASB).
Praying without ceasing doesn’t mean we are to spend every waking hour in prayer. With jobs, housework and kids to attend to, that would be impossible. However, we should make prayer a daily priority and never give up.
Henry Ward Beecher, a 19th century clergyman and abolitionist, once said, “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”
Prayer sometimes requires a little stubbornness. The widow in Jesus’ parable kept pleading with the unjust judge until he addressed her needs. But her answer finally came, and so will yours.
“‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’” (Matthew 7:7 and 11).
>What is your greatest need and how often do you present it to the Father?
>How can you be more persistent when you pray?
>Can you think of a time when a longtime prayer was finally answered? How did you feel?