Stand Firm: Persistent Prayer
Written by Janet Findley
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18
On a recent trip to Montana, we passed three wildfires, all of which had been started by lightning strikes. Three lightning bolts. Three fires. Homes, lives, and families all in the path of destruction. As we arrived at our destination, we found out one fire was burning in the bluffs above town where my friend’s sister and family live. Kathy was at home watching the progress of the fire and it stampeded toward their home. We began to pray very specifically for this family, for God’s protection over them and that no harm would come to them or their home. We prayed continuously throughout the late afternoon and evening. Reports continued to pour in as the fire was came closer Kathy’s house.
In life and in leadership, storms rage, lightning strikes and fires are sparked. Maybe there is disunity in the church or on the staff regarding decisions that are being made and a storm is brewing. Maybe isolation and loneliness have struck like a lightning bolt straight to the heart. Maybe hurtful words or gossip are spreading as swiftly as an out of control wildfire. These storms and fires are part of the spiritual battle that we engage in as believers and leaders.
I haven’t always understood the power and responsibility I have as God’s daughter to pray all the time, for everything. I haven’t always grasped the power of praying persistently for everyone. After all, God knows everything I am thinking, everything going on inside me, so I don’t need to specifically go to him in prayer about each situation. As I really started diving into God’s word, I learned how wrong I was in those kinds of thoughts. The more I learned, the more I put prayer into action. The more I went to God in prayer for everything, the more I saw and understood the importance staying alert and persistent in my prayers was. As my eyes were opened, I saw God moving and doing things only he can do in my life and lives of others.
When we have storms and fires raging in our lives and leadership, our best weapon is persistent prayer. Prayer for unity among our church family. Prayer for our fragile hearts and that God would bring people into our lives we can lean on and trust. Prayer that truth will prevail, gossip will burn out, and hurtful words will cease. Prayer at all times and on every occasion.
That evening as we drove through Montana’s wildfires, we received a phone call from Kathy telling us that she and their home were safe. She said, “I was sitting in our garage watching the progress of the fire toward our house. When it got about 500 yards away, it was like watching the fire hit a wall. It literally turned and went back the way it came as a small wind came up. I have never seen anything like it! No sparks, no embers or anything crossed that line. The fire changed direction, and it continued burning away from our house in the total opposite direction!” Thank you God! Our prayers were answered.
Only God can halt a raging fire. Only God can transform disunity into unity. Only God can change loneliness into community. Only God can turn the tearing down of others into building up instead. Only God.
So let’s pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. No prayer is too insignificant for God. He hears the cries of our hearts. Any time and all the time is a good time to pray. He may not answer prayers as immediately or dramatically as He did for Kathy and her family, but He does hear and does answer.
What will you start doing in your life today to stand firm and persistent in your prayers?