By Charles Stanley
One of the greatest hindrances to our prayer life is a lack of perseverance. Oftentimes people quit praying too soon. We feel that since we have asked, our answer should immediately be forthcoming or our need should quickly be met. God is not a bellhop, waiting to give us just what we want the moment we ask. We often have to exercise patience and continue praying.
All Christians are given the Holy Spirit to seal their relationship to God, and it is He who counsels believers how to pray. (Romans 8:26) We have the idea that we need to come to God only when we have a need. However, prayer is about intimacy. If God gave us whatever we wanted as soon as we asked, we would not be able to understand the dynamic of our relationship--we might never learn important skills like patience or dependence.
Think of Paul, who tells us that he implored three times for his "thorn in the flesh" to be removed before God gave a firm answer of no. (2 Corinthians 12:8) This probably refers to three protracted periods of time that Paul begged for relief. When we have been praying for a long time about something and don't feel as if our words are going anywhere, that is not the time to quit. We have to pray through those situations. God is listening attentively to our cries, and His Spirit is our constant companion--even when we cannot "feel" His presence or involvement. Instead of ceasing to pray, will you call on the Holy Spirit to aid you in persevering?