“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 (NLT)
Today, our world is going through a deadly virus outbreak known as the COVID-19 pandemic. We are watching first responders, police, firefighters and all frontline health care workers needing to be fully dressed in their personal protective equipment (PPE.) This equipment, such as masks, gloves, face shields and safety gowns, is essential for their safety and survival while helping and saving the very sick and dying souls.
In Ephesians chapter 6, verses 13 to 17, the Apostle Paul describes the believers’ PPE as the protective equipment which helps us for work in the ministry. He calls it “the whole armor of God.” Without persistent prayer, all the armor in the world would be of no use. Praying always, general prayers and specific petitions in the spirit, are to be made for all believers everywhere and in all occasions. Persistence and patience prayer (PPP) are essential, especially in the times in which we live.
There are other words that define persistence, such as continuance, consistency, steadfastness, patience, commitment, stamina and endurance. For the believer, persistence should reflect steadfast effort to follow God’s will and commit to doing his work through endurance.
In the book of James, chapter 2, he makes it clear that faith alone can save. However, it is equally clear that persistence in doing good work is the greatest indication that an individual’s faith is genuine. James 2:18 says, “Now someone may argue, some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (NLT)
Indeed, persistency springs from a faithful trust that God has been steadfast toward his people. Through persistence in doing God’s work, the believer proves his deep appreciation for God’s love and grace. The apostle Paul in the book of I Corinthians 15:58 says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”(NLT)
As a result of persistence prayer, the believer can expect not only to enhance the strength of the church, but also build up strength of character. Romans 5:3-5 says, a way to build character is through “tribulation which works patience, that gives hope and makes one not be ashamed of being a worker equipped to do the work of the Lord.”(NLT)
This being Mother’s day weekend, I’m reminded of one thing my grandmother taught me as a boy about being persistent. She would say to me to “Thank the Lord for life” and to “take every day one at a time.” In other words, she let me know that I should always live in the moment. She went to be with the Lord over 31 years ago after living for 96 years. So, that lets me know that persistence in living by those few words can and does pay off.
Finally, I believe that if we remain persistent in prayer we can become closer to God and realize that he wants to be intimately related to us. As believer’s, our faith and values should help us know that persistent prayer, in times of this pandemic, while praying for others, can help us make it through this virus crisis.
Happy Mother’s Day!