It is one thing to begin a race…quite another to finish it. It is one thing to begin to pray about a matter…it is quite another to pray until the matter is resolved.
When Elijah was on the summit of Mt. Carmel, on his knees, though he was a prophet of God, he had to persevere in prayer. Seven times he prayed. Seven times he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said There is nothing.” Then…“it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand.” The matter was resolved…the answer came. (I Kings 18:42-46)
When the widow sought justice from the wicked judge, who had no respect for God or man, she would not stop petitioning. She had begun a race and she would finish it. She would see resolution to her prayer. She was undeterred by the attitude of the judge. Her motivation was greater than his resistance, and she would not be stopped…and she was not. The matter was resolved…the answer came.(Luke 18:1-8)
When Joshua the high priest stood before God, Satan was standing at his right hand condemning and accusing him to God because of his sin. It is evident that Satan did not want Joshua to be the intermediary between the people of Israel, and God. He did not want Joshua to intercede, hence, he resisted him, and this by accusation and condemnation. We do not know what was going on in the heart of Joshua, but we know that God cleansed him and restored him and brought him to the place where he could pray…and would pray. The result was that in answer to prayer the temple was built. The matter was resolved…the answer came. (Zechariah 3)
In Luke 18:1 it is written: “..men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Prayer is not only the breathing of the soul, it is also the lifeline to heaven. We read in Revelation 12:11: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” It is certainly not only by the intellectual knowledge of these matters that one overcomes…it is by faith, and that which is essential to faith is persevering prayer.
So, let us not be deceived into thinking that this life to which we are called will be an easy one. For though we may say with the psalmist in Psalm 16:6: “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage,” and though the Lord “maketh me to lie down in green pastures,” (Psalm 23:2) there is still the battle of faith to be won, and the intervention of God to see for His glory. It has been said that Mary Queen of Scotts, also called “Bloody Mary” because of her murderous record, feared very few things. But one thing she did fear, and it was the prayers of John Knox, the Scottish reformer. Why? Because he persevered in prayer, and saw the intervention of God.
Dear Lord, give us grace to ask, and ask again…to keep on asking until we see the little cloud of Your intervention in the distance. Give us grace not to let go of the plow, but to persevere in such a manner that will truly please and honor Thee. For Thou hast surely said: “…For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:8)