Col 4:12-13 says, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, salutes you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.” Wouldn’t we all want an Epaphras? What comfort and strength it would bring us, to know there is someone who has a great zeal for us, and always labors passionately for us in prayer. Someone who perseveres in prayer for us; who never quits; who presses in, no matter the circumstances. I would suggest we all be an Epaphras, if we want an Epaphras. It is to emulate Christ, Who is the chief intercessor for us.
We are exhorted often in God’s Word to persevere in prayer (1Thess 5:17, Col 4:2, Rom 12:12, Lk 18:1, 21:36, Eph 6:18). We are to continue, stay persistent, press in, overcome, not quit. Since there are so many exhortations to persevere in prayer, we can safely assume there is a temptation to not persevere; to quit; to give up. It’s one thing to know you should persevere - it’s another to know how to persevere. Today we will learn some tips in persevering in prayer.
1. Don’t be anxious, but rest in God. Philp 4:6-8 tells us that we overcome anxiety through prayer. When we give all of our worries, concerns, and cares to God through prayer, God’s peace that passes all understanding keeps our hearts and minds. Anxiety will cause you to fail in prayer - rest, peace, and confidence will cause you to persevere.
2. Know God’s grace is sufficient. In 2Cor 12:7-10, We are told that Satan gave Paul a thorn in the flesh (persistent persecution - Num 33:55, Jos 23:13, Judg 2:3). When he prayed for it to be removed, God told Paul His grace is sufficient. God’s grace will sustain you. We will not always get instant answers to prayer. Although sometimes it is a fight, God’s grace will sustain you through the trial until your answer should appear. This truth will help us persevere.
3. Be angry at Satan - not God or people. 1Ti 2:8 tells us we are not to pray in anger, but Eph 4:26-27 tells us to not let the sun set on our anger. In fact, we are commanded to be angry. Is this a contradiction? No. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12). We are not be full of wrath toward people, and certainly not God. However, we are to hate evil, hate Satan, hate sin. We are to have a holy hatred, and the sun should not set on our wrath and hatred for Satan and every evil way. Some Christians need to get some fight in them. Take your authority. Resist the Devil is what we are commanded - not run from him.
4. Know there will be satanic hindrances. In Daniel 9:20-23 & 10:12-13, we see Gabriel was hindered for 21 days by demonic forces before he arrived with Daniel’s answer; while the time before he was there instantly. Even Paul the Apostle was hindered at times by Satan (1Thess 2:18). Don’t let these hindrances cause you to give up. Persevere! What if Daniel would have quit praying on day 20? We must not quit. We must continue in prayer, knowing our answer is on the way!
5. Put on the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-17). If a soldier is to persevere in battle, he must be properly armored. So, the Christian must be suited in the full armor of God to remain steadfast in the battle. You put on the full armor by meditating on each piece until it becomes reality to you. The truth of God’s Word, the belt which holds everything together. The breastplate of righteousness, covering the heart that is covered in God’s righteousness. The shoes, planted firmly on the foundation of the Gospel of peace. The helmet of salvation, protecting the mind, giving assurance of eternal life. The shield of faith, stopping the flaming spears of lies and evil thoughts Satan’s forces fire at us daily. The Sword of the Spirit, God’s Holy Word spoken from our mouths, which is sharper than any two edged sword, that drives away the enemy.
Though not an exhaustive list, these are some very important principles to implement in your Christian life to help you remain steadfast in prayer. If you have been failing to persevere, I assure you, if you will apply these principles, your prayer life will change radically. Set yourself to praying. Become a prayer warrior. See the power of God manifest in your life! Set aside time everyday to pray, and expect to see the impossible come to pass in Jesus Name! Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!