Praying With Perseverance For All the Saints

Paul’s discussion on the armor of God concludes with this admonition: “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people [saints]” (Ephesians 6:18). Spiritual warfare is fought on our knees. Praying on “all occasions” means we are to pray when we feel like it and when we don’t feel like it. If we declare our dependence on God, we will pray often and be ready all the time. The pre-eminence of prayer needs to be settled in our minds. Prayer doesn’t precede a greater work of God. Prayer is our greater work.

Prayer has preceded every great movement of God. Pentecost was preceded by prayer, as were the Great Awakenings in America. There has never been an outpouring of the divine Spirit from God without a previous outpouring of the human spirit toward God through prayer. Any prayer that the Holy Spirit prompts you to pray is a prayer that God the Father will always answer.

The Holy Spirit will prompt us to intercede for the needs of others. Such prompting may come in the middle of the night or at any time of the day. We may never know the trouble another believer is experiencing, but the Holy Spirit does. So when the Lord puts someone on your mind, stop whatever you’re doing and lift him or her up in prayer. Ask God to place a hedge of protection around that person. Be persistent in prayer until you sense the peace of God.

The Holy Spirit may also prompt us to pray for those who are in bondage. We have the spiritual authority in Christ to stand against Satan and his attacks. When the disciples were unsuccessful in driving out a demon in a boy, the Lord said, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:29). The disciples may have tried to drive out the demon by copying what they saw Jesus do, but they didn’t have the same degree of dependence on their heavenly Father that Jesus did, nor the same degree of faith.

Jesus told the parable of the unjust judge so that His disciples would learn to be persistent in prayer (see Luke 18:1-8). The widow only wanted justice against her adversary, and she wasn’t going to stop petitioning the judge until she got it. Her persistence finally won over the judge, who gave her justice. If a judge who doesn’t care for that which is right or wrong is compelled by persistence to deal justly with a helpless individual, certainly we can expect God to answer prayer. He will not put us off, and He will quickly answer our cry for justice concerning our adversaries.

Before the Lord returns, there will be a coming apostasy. During this time of spiritual decline and persecution, the Lord asks whether He will find faith on the earth (see Luke 18:8). Presumably, He means the kind of faith that perseveres in prayer and never wavers under fire. Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance but laying hold of God’s willingness. Asking is the rule of the kingdom, which demonstrates our dependence on God.

Dr. Neil

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